Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings vs Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings (open spoilers)

Ah! So they re-purposed scenes from the TV movie to represent scenes they had not originally represented? I see now (I think :slight_smile: ).

Yeah that’s clear as mud

Snow White & Fantasia against Rankin-flippin’-Bass!?!? What madness is this? If they could have stayed faithful, it could have been magnificent. Hell, they might have even pulled off Tom Bombadil successfully.

The problem would be the whole staying faithful bit, and it’s rare that Disney can resist the urge to…well, Disneyfy the source material. They might have pulled it off, or it could have been another The Black Cauldron. I’m good with the Rankin/Bass version.

I’ve read the criticism in places other than here that Aragorn looks like a spit Native American. Is there any reason Aragorn can’t have Native American features? Were Numenoreans ever described as Ayrian? Maybe they were, I don’t know. I like Bakshi’s Aragorn more than the self-doubting wimp Jackson made him out to be.

I’m a fan of the PJ versions although I agree with most of the criticisms.
My first exposure to the story was an illustrated book based on the Bakshi version so it shaped my vision of Tolkien’s worlds.

Even though on film the Bakshi Orcs sucked, I somehow liked how they seemed more menacing and man-like than PJ’s in still shots. I also think PJ’s Gollum while masterfully performed was a little too “cute” in look. Bakshi’s Gollum was uglier and more real somehow. To me even masterful CG still looks somehow slightly goofy.

The scariest part of the book is Moria. PJ really misses the mark there I think…
I like how Bakshi had Pippin awaken the drums in the deep just by dropping pebbles in the well, as opposed to the comical dropping of the entire dwarf skeleton and chains in the PJ movie. I guess the cave troll was cool even if not all that accurate. Wasn’t it an Orc chieftain or something that spears Frodo in the book?

The first and third posts here quote (accurately, as I recall) from Tolkien’s letters, expressing his loathing for Disney. Apparently Snow White and the Seven Dwarves irritated him bigtime: anti-Disney? | 🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

When Frodo meets Aragorn in the Prancing Pony he’s just described as a “strange, weather-beaten man” with “a shaggy head of dark hair flecked with grey, and in a pale stern face a pair of keen grey eyes”. Ayrians are blond and blue eyed, right? So I’d say no to the “Numenorian = Ayrian”. I think there’s descriptions of the rangers throughout the books but they’re mostly “grim and secretive” and things along those lines, not physical descriptions. I don’t know where my copy of the Silmarilion is so I can’t check for physical descriptions of the original Numenorians. I would opine that they made Aragorn Native American looking to kind of set him apart from the other men, and to show that he’s descended from the old race. On the other hand, that would imply an attention to physical detail that’s missing from the rest of the film, so it could just be a coincidence.

I don’t think Jackson or Bakshi depicted Moria very well. As for the cave troll, Gandalf peeks out the door and lights his staff, and comments on the orcs, then says

The cave-troll is not mentioned again. Frodo is speared by “a huge orc-chieftain, almost man-high”. There are several similar references to orcs that are unusually large (“great” orcs) as being nearly man-size throughout the books. Which makes me wonder exactly how big the average orc is.
The party runs ahead while Gandalf deals with the door, trying to put a “shutting-spell” on it. This is where the Balrog is first made known. So I wonder if it wasn’t a cave-troll at all, but “something else”, i.e. the Balrog.

I always took it as a given that the reference to “maybe” a cave troll was actually foreshadowing the Balrog.

All we really know about the appearance of the Race of Numenor is that they are:
Tall
Dark Haired
Grey Eyed

There’s not really much more to go on. Lighter hair is definitely characteristic of the other races of Men.

All that said, I take far greater offense at Aragorn’s lack of pants than I do to his features.

It’s freakin’ scarey in the BBC Radio Drama. x.x Try listening to that sequence in the dark.

Average orcs are probably somewhere around dwarf sized or not too much taller (probably capping out around 5 feet or so?) because Gimli is entirely comfortable hewing orc necks with his axe, but finds the men of Dunland to be too tall for his tastes in opponents.

[quote
The party runs ahead while Gandalf deals with the door, trying to put a “shutting-spell” on it. This is where the Balrog is first made known. So I wonder if it wasn’t a cave-troll at all, but “something else”, i.e. the Balrog.[/QUOTE]

The cave trolls actually DO appear again, if I remember correctly - they carry out slabs of stone bridge the firey chasms near the Bridge of Khazad Dum.

I’ve always thought the orcs had to be more dwarf sized, but both movies depicted them as man sized or slightly larger. I guess they figured it’s harder to be intimidated by pint-sized orcs.

You are correct, the cave trolls (or at least “great trolls”) do appear carrying out the slabs. The party doesn’t fight them though (so TTOBIS was correct), and they’re not really described in any way. Some of the other trolls (the ones in the Hobbit IIRC) are described a little better, but it’s hard to tell if all trolls shared similar characteristics or what the differences between them were.

Here’s a description of the trolls in ROTK - from the final battle in front of the Black Gate.

And when Pippin stabs one, its “black blood” pours out.

And I don’t have FOTR in front of me, but didn’t the troll stick his “scaly, toeless” foot in the door in the Moria chapter? And Frodo stabbed it with Sting “for the Shire!” ?

Canonically he has grey eyes and a pale face. Not very First Nations…

De Gustibus and all that, but still, there’s such a thing as going to far…

and Viggo wore pants!

Nitpick: It’s “Aryan”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race

Speaking of which - take that, Nazis!: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/03/i-have-no-ancestors-of-that-gifted.html

Yep. I think the no-toes thing is great - very folkloric - Jimmy Squarefoot or the like .

Belated response, but actually, the Jackson films depicted Orcs as coming in a variety of sizes - with the “Moria Goblins” being of significantly less stature than the Uruk Hai we see in Two Towers - which is correct and doubtless deliberate. The Orcs in the battle of Pelenor Fields are somewhere in between, which is probably a result of it being easier to cast a bunch of extras who are “man sized” :wink:

Every time I see a Tolkien fan arguing that Bakshi’s LOTR is a superior adaptation, I’m reminded of an old episode of QI episode in which Bill Bailey tries to convince Alan Davis that the domestic cat is a longer animal than the blue whale. Nothing Bill Bailey says is wrong, technically, but his argument lacks a good clear view of the obvious.

Bakshi’s LOTR isn’t just a failure of an adaptation, or animation, it’s a failure of filmmaking. To start with, there is NO excuse for ending a story halfway through because you ran out of money. I’m very willing to excuse shoe string budget effects, but not shoe string budget storytelling. And thats where I’m judging this movie the harshest. It’s just bad storytelling all around. Moments that should be dramatic reveals are done so incompetently that a narrator sometimes has to come on over the action to make sure the audience got it (I’m thinking specifically of the reveal that Aragon is the King of Gondor at Elrond’s council).

The animation is atrocious. Not just the character design - and I’ll forgive the big hair, and Boromir’s Viking helmet. Even Aragon doesn’t bother me much. No, it’s that the animators can’t make their characters act. Everyone moves too much and with weird, inappropriate expressions on their faces. The whole thing is ugly, and that’s NOT a budget issue, that’s a creator issue. Middle Earth was described as beautiful in the book. Here it’s all muddy browns. The whole film is muddy brown.

Now compare to Jackson’s LORT. Yes, he had the money, but that’s not what makes his film superior. What he had was vision. His attention to detail brought Middle Earth to life. And his adaptive script, while occasionally flawed, had a strong, clear narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. His characters had arcs, or at least a strong set of traits which made them easily distinguishable from one another. Could anyone watching the Bakshi version even tell which Hobbit was Merry and which was Pippin?

I think a good, 70’s era animated LOTR could have been done, in the hands of a competent animator. Imagine what Don Bluth, at his best, could have done with it. It might have been a classic. Bakshi just wasn’t good enough. I’m not saying his version has no right to exist - I own it, and kinda like it, as an odd little relic. It’s just not in the same league as Jackson’s films.

Well said. Though I note with amusement that most of your points also appear in some form in the link I posted early on. S’a quality analysis, that is.

Sorry to restate, didn’t follow the link.

ETA: Going back to look at it now, though, I have read that before. I must have been remembering some of those points when I made my post. And, yes, it’s a good analysis of an interesting failure of a movie.

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