The Lord of the Rings

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The evil sorcerer Sauron has ruled the Middle Earth for a long while, with his vicious armies and ruthless demeanor. But no one rises up to defend the lands, as the peoples are distant and do not work together, which means Sauron would quickly dispatch them. This could all change soon however, as a chain of events is set into motion that could unite some forces, perhaps even enough to mount a challenge to Sauron. A young hobbit named Frodo finds himself in possession a mysterious, powerful ring and with this item, he and many others around him are suddenly sucked into a grand adventure. He is joined by Gandalf the wizard, countless other hobbits, dwarves, and all sorts of folks, all of whom want to reclaim their lands. The road to this destination will be paved with fear, danger, horrific creatures, and doubts, but with Frodo in the lead and the ring in his hands, perhaps this band of crusaders can accomplish their ultimate goal.

As I love the books in this series, I wanted to love this animated edition of The Lord of the Rings, but alas, that wasn’t the case. Although it is better than the Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit, this is still a poor excuse for the book and while I understand some concessions must be made, I feel the wrong ones were made in this case. At the reins is Ralph Bakshi (Wizards, Felix the Cat), who has done some excellent work in his career, but manages to drop the ball at almost every turn here. Yes, this adaptation has some good moments, but not as many as there should be and as the film progresses, the wheels start to come off. Perhaps Bakshi and his crew took on too much by working on a book and a half, but even so, you would think with all that source material, they could make it interesting, but that’s not the case. The animation is a step up from The Hobbit, but still leaves a lot to be desired, especially when you consider how gifted Bakshi is. I am not a fan of the live action trace work either, so that only serves to enhance my disliking of this picture. I recommend you read the book to hold you over until a competent adaptation arrives, but if you must watch this feature, a rental should suffice in most cases.

Video: How does it look?

The Lord of the Rings is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is as good as I’ve ever seen the film look, but some flaws still surface, mostly due to the condition of the source materials. The print looks rather worn at times, with grain and other defects present, but not to the extent where the visuals are lessened. I knew Warner wouldn’t put any effort into cleaning this up, so the worn look is no shocker, but I think most studios would have done a little work with this one, even if just a quick digital wash. The colors look good however, while contrast is spot on and never falters much. Yes, I do think this could have looked better, but fans should be pleased with this new anamorphic transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included 2.0 surround option is by no means thunderous, but I was pleased with the overall results. The surrounds are used at times to enhance the atmosphere, but not often enough if you ask me, given the material involved. Even so, it has some action when it needs it and that keeps it alive, although I do wish it sparked more at times. The music sounds good, sound effects come through well enough, and dialogue is rich and clean at all times. All in all, a more than solid effort, but don’t expect too much. This disc also includes a French language option, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Thai, Korean, and Japanese.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes some talent files, as well as facts & trivia on J.R.R. Tolkien.

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