Rewatched Aug 17, 2012
Silent J’s review:
After rewatching the Peter Jackson trilogy, I thought I should also rewatch the Ralph Bakshi animated film. I used to love this as a kid and I think it holds up well today. I think it's honestly just as good as Jackson's trilogy and in some cases better.
There was a lot that Jackson did better in his films, but there's also a lot that Bakshi does better here. The best thing I liked that Bakshi did was the characters. He gave the kind of character that I thought was lacking in the Jackson films, namely in Frodo. In Jackson's films, he always came off as too much of vulnerable and reluctant damsel. Here, he can actually take care of himself. He actually fights back and instead of getting, he's willing to pull out his dagger whenever needed. Not only that but there were moments that feel much more powerful than Jackson's film and this one, as a story, feels more authentic in that it can actually happen. It obviously can't actually happen but if this happened in real life, I think it would look like this. Jackson's films felt more Hollywood than real. This feels grittier, more complex, and even realistic in it's depiction of characters and story arcs if you know what I mean. It's really impressive when you look at how Bakshi was pretty much alone during production. The Jackson films were impressive too, but Jackson was supported by the studio in terms of money and creating his own vision. Bakshi was working against a studio that gave no support, financial or otherwise. He was working with virtually no money and no support from a studio that didn't even support his vision. It's amazing he even finished the film let alone having to squeeze three books into one film since one film was all that the studio would give him.
Granted there's plenty of flaws and even though I kinda like the animation, it definitely looks dated, but there are still strokes of genius touches throughout. There are some over the top moments that don't work, but there are also some nice powerful and subtle moments that really work. Compared to the Jackson films, the Jackson films are clearly superior but it's kind of a close call. Both are great in their own unique ways.