With a little help from my friends.

* * *

It is no surprise that the original Lord of the Rings film lies somewhere in the shadow of Peter Jackson’s visionary works of The Lord of the Rings.

The original from 1978 has obvious differences to Jackson’s threesome and most noticeably it was animated, but is quite comparable in its approach to some scenes, voices (Gollum’s), and other characteristics.

The animation was set down using rotoscoping and the traditional drawing method but using two different methods in the same film does not distract. One criticism is that the two levels of animation made for a disjointed look, but I think it enhances the look.

The story may have let it down, rather than the animation. Screenwriters Chris Conklin, and Peter S. Beagle adapted the first two episodes in the J.R.R. Tolkien stories The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers but seemed to have run out of steam midway through and the story tends to drag. A definitive break or marker between the episodes might have made a better transition. The film ends without writing in the third episode, The Return of the King, but we get to know how it all ends as the conclusion is told rather than shown. Then the journey of Hobbits and others to deliver a powerfully evil ring to its end in Mt Doom comes to an abrupt close.

Lots of colorful action on display, though. The Lord of the Rings should be taken as a fantasy story and this version is a pleasant piece of escapism that’s wholesome viewing. The odd, occasional shot of blood, which is animated, though.

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