Toronto Sun
September 25, 2001

Cartoon Rings a Travesty
Bruce Kirkland

Don't confuse the newly released DVD version of The Lord Of The Rings with the movie trilogy set to launch in December. The DVD, out Sept. 11 from Warner Home Video, is the 1978 animated version by Ralph Bakshi -- and it's an unwatchable travesty.

Bakshi, fighting a budget crisis, used cell animation, rotoscope techniques and deliberately distressed images of live action battle footage to make an attempt to tell some of the first tale in the Rings cycle. But it looks awful -- although the widescreen DVD version is as good as it's ever going to get -- because the technology was so crude in the 1970s.

The movie is also muddled in its storytelling and there are too few extras on the disc to make any sense of it all. Bakshi did one great thing, however. He inspired Peter Jackson.

"It was actually seeing that that made me read the book for the first time," says Jackson, who directed the upcoming Lord Of The Rings trilogy for the big screen. "I went to that movie not knowing anything. I thought the movie worked okay for half the film and then got kind of confusing. And then, obviously, they finished halfway through. They never got to complete the story."