LOTR 1978 version

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:56 am

Well yeah, as I said in my last post, I'm sure there are individual scenes in the Bakshi film that are handled better. My concerns with the film are more to do with the overall product. Nonetheless, I shall try to give it time to rewatch, though I'm going out of town tomorrow so it won't be for at least a week. I'm going to have a lot of downtime next week after I have my wisdom teeth removed though. Razz

Also, when you say they are handled better, do you mean that the scenes are closer to Tolkien's original conception or that you like them better as cinema? Smile
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by halfwise on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:05 am

I seem to agree with the rest of the Americans on this, I wonder if it's just coincidence? I primarily can't forgive the terrible acting in Bakshi's film: what's the purpose of even using Tolkien's language if favorite lines are delivered so badly you try your best to forget you ever heard them?

Despite all faults, PJ's version feels more like LoTR to me...though not near close enough to make me happy!

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:07 am

In the case of the scene I menioned I think it is both good cinema and a much more deft handling of the source material.

Judge for yourself, its a very short scene, couple of minutes, and starts at 0.54.40 and let me know what you think.

Oddly enough Halfwise I feel the opposite, neither is anything like good enough but Bakshi's version feels more familar from the books to me than PJ's does which (I think) is because of the language changes it seems more like a remaking than an adaptation to me. So it feels unfamilar.

Plus we Europeans obviously are used to culture over here, strange artistic representations and the like are common place, whereas Americans.... Wink

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:18 am

The main reason why PJ's films feel closer to Middle-earth is the visuals, but while I'm watching the films my mind is able to iron out the wrinkles of inconsistencies and changes from the book and accept the movies for what they are: PJ's (very) filtered version of Middle-earth. I do wish they were closer to the books and when I'm thinking about them afterwards it's much easier to be critical, but the for the most part the films succeed in engaging me and drawing me into the story and the world. There are a handful of moments that I hate and which pull me out of the story every single time, particularly the Army of the Dead and their crumbly skull castle in ROTK.

Bakshi's film, on the other hand, I've never been engaged by. A large part of this is due to the visuals, voice acting, and music, but some of it also changes from the book (like Orthanc and Saruman's light comet thing at Helm's Deep). It all feels very artificial and I can't even say that it works on its own terms (for me). Even if, like PJ did, they sometimes insert moments of Tolkienian dialgoue there, if the overall sense of engagement is not present, it's all for naught. That's the probably biggest difference between the two versions for me.

I'll have a look at that scene in a few minutes, Petty. Smile
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:22 am

I overestimeated its length I think- should have known no scene in Bakshi's versions last a few minutes!

And while you are recovering from your wild youthful holiday whilst some of us languish at home Mad and spending a few days with a sore mouth (and not just from what you got up to on holiday Wink ) it might be a good opportunity to give my edits a go, perhaps? Suspect
I feel I have awaited your thoughts on them (which I would dearly like to hear, good and bad) rather a long time!

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by halfwise on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:47 am

Given that our most enduring culinary art form may be the twinky, I can't begin to defend American's cultural tastes. But I think anyone can admit the PJ films at least had moments that were moving, while in Bakshi you may as well be watching Gilligan's island. How did that acting ever pass muster?

And what's with the ringwraith moving like Igor in the Frankenstein movies? Surely that ain't right.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:01 am

I quite like the Ringwraith- it conveys something about them that is true to the book in an interpretive way- wraith derives from a word means 'a twisted thing'.
There is a creepyness to the Black Rider which somehwat captures that side to them in the book better than Jacksons which I never found distubing at all.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Orwell on Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:34 am

I actually came away thinking Bakshi was more "Tolkien" and more satisfying than PJ, even though I noticed the faults; I find Bakshi's faults more easy to forgive for pretty much the reasons Petty has already outlined.

I also find Bakshi's sheer creativity in the way he tells Tolkien's story far more interesting and refreshing. Bakshi never (that I can think of) tries to outdo Tolkien, a major ego-fault of PJ which seriously undermines the better stuff he brings to the table. Americans (Luddites?) may have a different reaction, of course! Very Happy

I found the acting fine, Halfy. The characterization may not have been fully to my taste, but PJ 'changed' characters and their personal stories. I feel Bakshi hones in in a too limited way on certain character traits of the characters, but those traits are still more recognizably Tolkien than PJ's.

I agree the Black Riders capture Tolkien's creepiness far better. I was very engaged in what was happening with them. (Their movements were over-exagerated and I could do without the red eyes, but remove those aspects, and I think the Black Riders were quite excellent). The Galadriel scene is a good example of capturing Tolkien too. And the Boromir stuff, of course. (The Viking helmet made me smile, but it did not wreck it for me. The charcters and story themselves are really what's important in Tolkien. Perpectives on 'wardrobe' don't seem quite as important when the 'heart' of things are considered).

Why they made Gollum so gay, I will never know. Shocked That's a bit unforgivable. And Treebeard! That just made me smile. Very Happy Bakshi does some things in all his Tolkien movies which are so inane and quirky, that I can forgive them, however wrong they are! Laughing (Not the 'gay' Gollum - that just did not gel at all, at all! Rolling Eyes )

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:47 am

Some unexpected family drama came up tonight but I finally got the chance to sit down and watch the clip you mentioned, Petty. I started watching about a minute before the time you indicated and was immediately struck by the voiceover narration. I generally dislike voiceovers, especially when used as often as they are by Bakshi, and this one was especially grating to me. The generic narrator voice was part of it, but so are the awful turns of phrase. "We shall trust to friendship rather than to great wisdom" sounds like something out a children's storybook.

I'm doing my best to pay attention solely to the script, but the shaky animation and ugly-as-sin visuals are pretty grating. Also annoying is the blaring, monotonous music and dramatic hand gestures that accompany so many lines, especially Gandalf's. One more thing: Sam looks like a troll who is also a sexual predator and it has always disturbed me to no end.


"I'm gonna go up in that Hobbit's hole, if you know what I mean."

"God dammit, the Sheriff spotted me. Better luck next time."

Now that I've got that off my chest, though, I'll comment just on the script.

I recognized a few lines of Tolkienian dialogue right away ("The Dark Lord's arm has grown long..." and all that). However, the film didn't reproduce the entire conversation from the books, just a few snippets of it. It made sense to me because my brain was filling in the missing lines that I remember from the book, but I imagine it would seem awfully choppy if I hadn't read the book. All in all it's not bad dialogue, though I found Gimli's and Legolas' lines to be kinda exposition-y.

If the scriptwriter had the time to let the story develop naturally and without the need for a narrator, and had competent voice actors to perform the script, I could see myself liking the film a great deal more than I do. However, those are a couple of big "if"s, and I don't like giving credit for what a film could have been when it is decidedly not. That said, I'm still interested in re-watching the whole thing sometime in the not-too-distant future. I'm just probably going to watch the Trilogy not long after to cleanse my eyes and ears. Very Happy
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:52 am

Alternatively, Sam might not actually be a troll predator, but Steven Van Zandt doing his gangster shtick from Lilyhammer.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Orwell on Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:30 am

I wasn't keen on Sam visually - he did not quite match my idea of Sam, though he wasn't that far away either, except the height thing - but sexual predator! Shocked Rubbish! Mad (Have you never heard of 'stereotyping'? Bad Logic! Very bad! affraid )

Also the voices did not bother me at all. Yes, the music did not seem to fit that well. But for all that, the movie is quite good, all things considered. I fear you've been brainwashed by PJ and his Coven, Eldo. You've lost all perspective. Suspect

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:20 am

Those characters are so pig ugly that I cannot watch it. Sam is the worst, Sam is not an evil looking potato head that has grown sneaky eyes. and Boromir is not a pantomime Viking in a mini skirt, and Legolas is not a Dutch gay porn actor, its HORRIBLE. Mad
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Orwell on Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:28 am

Surely you protest too strongly, Mrs Figg! Shocked

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:07 pm

nope. Suspect
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by halfwise on Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:26 pm

I'm relieved to find at least one non-american who finds the Bakshi version to be repulsive. Getting a little worried there when both Petty and Orwell were unperturbed by the grating lack of talent in the voice actors.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:42 pm

I cant get past the visual uglies, no matter how good the dialogue or plotting is, dont care, its just plain aesthetically repulsive. I cant watch Sam and Frodo gurning like village idiots, its painful.
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:08 pm

i dont think the Bakshi Legolas is particularly more gay porn star than camp PJ Legolas. One of the things I thought PJ got wrong was to copy the Bakshi Legolas asthetic too much.
As for Sam, well as I have an uncle who looks remarkable like that I take great offence at your comments on his behalf, poor fellow.

No excuse for the Boromir viking outfit though- dont know how people can say the voice acting is poor- I think the Gandalf voice is excellent (Christopher Guard) and retains much more of the 'quick to anger' Gandalf of the book than PJ's twinkly eyed no edge version. (the short few lines at 0:59:54 is a good example of this). I also like the fact he hobbles like an old man, he is supposed to be bent of back, wearied by his burdens, which PJ's version is not. (And think visually what a good transition from the Grey to the White that would have been, from stooped and aged to tall and proud-got to be better visually than giving his beard a trim).
Boromir is the same voice actor as does the role in the BBC radio version,Michael Graham Cox, as is Gollum (Peter woodthorpe). And as the film was shortly after the BBC version they all play the roles witht confidence of people who know them well and are familar withthe dialogue and rythmns). Aragorn is voiced by John Hurt, one of Britians greatest ever actors (and still is).
Anthony Daniels (C-3PO to Star Wars fans) is Legolas, Annette Crosby as Galadriel (she is a famous and much respected UK tv and theatre actress-probbaly most familar to UK tv viewers as Victor Meldrew wife).
So sorry I think some of this is just boo sucks for the sake of it and not fair or legitmate unless you think none of these people can act.

Also Gimli has dignity and of course pride, watch the scene in Moria where Legolas asks him why dwarves wanted to come back, the actors tone in reply is spot on, full of Dwarvish pride and stubborness. (1:01:30)
And Bormoirs death scene where he is dying in Aragorns arms and Gimli and Legolas arrive and Aragorn looks up at them, that look, I still find that an astonihing piece of animation, the angst and pain etched in his face and how well it is conveyed is remarkable for an animation of that time. (1:24:30)
And I will take Annette Crosbies Galadriel speech over PJ's shaky arm, shouty filtered to buggery version any day of the week. (1:12:19) Its a much better performance than poor Cate who had to do hers shouting and shaking her arms about.
And watch for example from 1:16:07 to the end of the bit where Boromir tries to take the Ring and please tell me what is wrong with the voice acting? Its superb.
And worth remebering you are trying to draw a comparison between modern cgi and effects available more than 30 years ago. Not sure thats fair myself.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:01 pm

I'm aware of the pedigrees that many of the actors in the film have, but in this film, I still think they gave poor performances. Some were better than others obviously; John Hurt's Aragorn was probably the best vocal performance in the film, but he sounded nothing like I imagined Aragorn sounding. The rest were for the most part too stiff and/or melodramatic. The delivery of many of the lines felt stilted and unnatural, and appealing to the actor's resumes won't change that. Razz

Also, I've watched a fair bit of animation and I realize that for its time the animation was not all that bad, but I still dislike the character models. Why does Sam look the way he did (apologies to your Uncle, Petty)? Why is Aragorn a Native American and Boromir a Viking? Not to mention the horrible execution of rotoscoping: the characters shake and tremble even when they are supposed to be standing still (a common side-effect of rotoscoping) and they make the most absurd, melodramatic arm gestures. Case in point: when Gandalf says that Sauron's arm has grown long indeed, he hunches his shoulders and extends his own arm out, waggling his fingers. Rolling Eyes

Also, Petty, it feels that you are trying to counter criticisms of the film as a film by defending its faithfulness to the book. However, while it stuck closer to the book than PJ (and I don't think anyone is really disputing that right now), that doesn't automatically make it a better film. If you honestly like Bakshi's film then I have to respect your opinion, but sometimes it feels like you'll just take any opportunity to put down PJ by comparison. I don't think anyone will disagree with you if you pick a low-point of the trilogy like radioactive Galadriel, but in general? I'll take PJ any day, because I think it's well-made regardless of changes and I actually enjoy watching it.


Last edited by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by halfwise on Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:04 pm

hmm, wild difference of taste. I felt the PJ gandalf came close to nailing it, the Bakshi Gandalf is nowhere close. I couldn't bear to watch much more of it so can't comment, but I did see the whole movie in theaters decades ago and had a hard time with it then.

At least we can all agree on the Boromir horns. How was that even possible?

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:19 pm

Not at all Eldo I just think Bakshi did get some things better than Pj did.- And I honestly dont see the problem with many of the performances- Im personally no that keen on Frodo's voice, or the slight American twang to Merry. But there are good perfomrances in there- I always liked John Hurts voice for Aragorn. It has the gravity and the sense of age I expect from it. That is of course taste but even discounting taste I dont think it can be complained about his acting, not liking someones voice does not mean they cannot act and its unfair to imply so.
And I thought Boromir was superb in the BBC version and its almost an identikit (albeit trimmed) version he does here. And just as good.

There are loads of bizarre choices in it visually, not just costumes or charcaters but backgrounds too often that I dont like at all. And because they did not get the actors in to do the rotoscoping but whoever was about that day the performances in terms of gesticulation ect are what they are- amatuer and overacted- and no I dont like that either.
But PJ was making live action, with the actual actors and his own effects company, and he still manages to make a mess of many of the scenes Bakshi handles well.
I did not say sticking closer to the book automatically made it a better film- I have always said its a deeply flawed film- but I dont think its as fundementally flawed as PJs is because Bakshi at least tries to stay largly within Tolkiens rules, PJ chucks them out the window. So despite its glaring faults bakshis version still feels closer to the book to me than PJ's does. I can recognise it, PJ's is like another world altogether with different rules.

Halfwise the animation is over the top for Gandalf but I like the voice and the edge and irritation and short temper it displays- all traits of Gandalf in the book and which PJ underplays all the time. But for the record the best Gandalf voice for me will always be Sir Michael Horden's from the radio play- a perfect balance in fact between PJ's version and Bakshis in terms of tone.

Listen from 3.30 for some good Gandalf. Very Happy



ps I love the actor who does Theoden in this too- the book describes his voice as 'thick' and I think thats captured brillaintly- good Wormtongue too.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:37 pm

Dude, I already said John Hurt gave the best performance in the film so I'm not sure why you're harping on that point. Furthermore, you seem to be under the impression that if I don't like a single performance by an actor, that means I think they can't act. Frankly, that baffles me.

Anyway, I need to leave soon to finish packing and then I'll be out of town and unable to respond for a few days in all likelihood, but I think you raise an interesting point about PJ's film feeling like a different world with different rules. In a lot of ways I agree, but I still feel that PJ's world has a definite relation to Tolkien's. Bakshi's film feels more like a failed experiment than anything else. I'm not sure how it can stand on its own with everything that was cut out, so much like the later Harry Potter films, it feels like a curiosity for fans of the book rather than a retelling of the story. For all its differences, PJ at least succeeds in telling a story at all. The superior visuals and more fitting music works in PJ's favor as well.

I have long said that I think PJ's films are flawed, but don't think that detracts from the many great things about the trilogy except in a few scenes (like the aforementioned skull castle and radioactive Galadriel). For me, the flaws in Bakshi's film are much greater and unbalance the whole thing. It doesn't feel like the book OR its own film, it feels like a bad trip that a bunch of people had back in the '70s (probably because that's what it actually is Laughing).

{{{Just kidding on that last part.}}}
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:21 pm

Sorry if I got you wrong Eldo but you did say that 'but in this film, I still think they gave poor performances' and you also said Hurt was 'probably the best', which you have to admit sounds pretty grudging. It sounded like you were implying they were all poor but out of that he was the least poor.
And presumably you still think all the rest were poor in this film. I honestly dont think thats a fair apraisal of many of the voice perfomances, such as Boromir, Gimli, Gandalf or Galadriel.
There is much to complain about in Bakshi's version, I just dont think that particular complaint is justified on the evidence.

PJ does succeed better in telling a story- no argument there- just a shame its a different story!

And tripping animators? Quite likely. Very Happy

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:33 pm

got to agree with Eldo and Halfwise on this one. I think PJs version was a hundred times better for the acting alone. I think PJs casting was perfection, and Legolas/Orlando made a fine elf, its not his fault he was made to surf.
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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by halfwise on Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:37 pm

Yep, ditto on everything Eldo said for the parts of the film I've seen enough to comment on. And I still can't stand the Bakshi version of gandalf - the vocal part, not just the animation. Sir Ian did it so much better. I still think Alec Guinness would have been best, but he wasn't quite as available.

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Re: LOTR 1978 version

Post by Norc on Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:38 pm

I have to whatch it again too really make a statement, but it's not that bad. The shire looks really cosy and the animation is very good, though I dislike how they had "real" people acting in it too. And the black rider scene by the river took ages. The balrog was horrible, hell, just draw the dude! and then,.. well, I agree with Eldo on Sam being a pedoish troll. Frodo looked to young. Legolas like a girl. Boromir was just silly. The gayness of it all was unbearable..(the mithril shirt! JEEZ!) and I remember some dialoug from the book was in it, but I got the impression it was in the wron places, just thrown in or given to the wrong persons. But all in all.. it's not too bad.. but yeah.. the voice acting.,

Sorry, I should watch again just to be more fair, but that's what I remember.

and one more thing (or two) they didn't finish it and Galadriel was creepy.
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