This sensitive adaptation of Tolkien's epic fantasy classic skilfully maintains the spirit of the book while adding the energy, pace and atmosphere of cinema.
Filming a book is always tricky - but filming Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" is nearly impossible. It's not just that recreating the magical realm of Middle Earth requires huge budgets and would terrify even an elite special effects team; more than that, it's a fan's book - regarded with near-sacred awe by devotees - and however hard you try, you risk offending the very people the film's aimed at. It's no wonder that despite buying the rights in the late 50s, it took Disney nearly 30 years to make the film - the surprise is how good the final version is.
The story of Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee's quest to keep the titular Ring from the clutches of the evil Sauron, "Lord of the Rings" ranges across the mythical continent of Middle Earth. Moving from comic and warm, to epic and monstrous, the film sweeps the viewer through countless changes of scene and character. Fortunately director Ralph Bakshi's adaptation escaped the usual saccharine Disneyfication, and by using a mix of straight animation and live-action tracings Bakshi stays as close as possible to the original text and echoes Tolkien's own drawings.
The final section of the film was never completed due to financial problems - but despite lacking a conclusion, the film easily stands alone as an atmospheric fairytale romp across the landscapes of Tolkien's imagination.