Monday, August 12, 2013

Cool Tolkien Art

Here's the link.  It's based on Ralph Bakshi's ill fated attempt to bring LoTR to the big screen in the 1978.  Criticized then for the strange leaning on rotoscope technology, as well as the abrupt end with no sequel, it fell under a new round of jeers when Peter Jackson released his three part epic based at times loosely on that book by Tolkien.  Many of his problems it turns out, were the result of corporate interference rather than artistic decisions on Bakshi's part.

By now, most know that Jackson had more or less lied about his knowledge of Bakshi leading up to the release of Fellowship.  Initially he stated he hadn't ever watched the animated version.  Later he admitted he had, and then finally admitted what anyone who had seen both versions knew, that Jackson more or less lifted the framework of Fellowship straight from Bakshi.  A shame that this wasn't made known at the height of the frenzy, for it could have been a boon to Bakshi who has received less credit than he deserves, IMHO.  Maybe that's why lying is not a good thing, and that's the sort we should focus on, rather than splitting hairs on when to lie or not to save babies.

Anyway, I've always liked Bakshi's version, because it was the first version I saw that made sense; Rankin and Bass's made for TV follow-up being at times spot on, and at times excruciating.  Bakshi misses a lot (as do all versions), but somehow seems to catch a gist of Tolkien that in three multi-zillion dollar epics, Jackson never quite grasps.  And to this day, when I read LoTR, it's Bakshi's Indian-like Aragorn I imagine, not Mortenson's; Bakshi's Frodo, not Woods'.  And if it weren't for the Viking helmet, I might go so far as to say Bakshi's Boromir leans closer to the text than the otherwise great Sean Bean's sometimes too insecure and wavering portrayal.

Anyway, the link is to art for a Calendar done by Paul Rivoche, and inspired by the artwork for the animated film.  In some ways, it surpasses the artwork it is based on.  An especially interesting take on Orcs and the Balrog.

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