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Ralph Bakshi directed this rotoscope-animated version of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy tales about the mythical creatures who dwell in Middle Earth.
It looked terrible then and it still does: cartoon characters move differently from live actors, and the attempt to duplicate natural movement ends in stylistic incoherence.
The film is visually compelling even when murk overtakes the narrative.
Tolkien fans, who are familiar with novels, will find it enjoyble, while others may be confused by the action.
Quite simply, those who do not know the characters of Middle Earth going in will not know them coming out.
Falls far short of the charm and sweep of the original story.
Innovative and beautiful, cheesy and disjointed.
Bakshi's version, using animation and live-action tracings, is uniformly excellent, sticking closely to the original text and visually echoing many of Tolkien's own drawings.
A showcase for inspired imagery and sheer strangeness, a near-miss magnum opus from another era, before the cult of Tolkien went Hollywood.
What most people remember is the mix of the live-action tracing within the traditional animation and just how effectively creepy it managed to be, but for the time this did a pretty good job of adapting the dense novels.
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