Hobbitses? on MY internet?!

‘Twere 1977 when Rankin/Bass Productions released an animated version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit. For those of you living in an Orwellian dystopia/materialist hellhole of existence, The Hobbit is the first book in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle-Earth fantasy chronicles. ‘Twas the magical tale when Bilbo discovered the one true ring, encountered Smaug the Dragon, got lots of babes and danced with the devil on a moonlit night. A normal day in Middle Earth for anyone, really.

This cartoon was pulled off exceptionally well. Listen up people, this is inspired film-making. They adapt a bunch of the dwarves’ songs from the book and write pretty damn good catchy folk tunes for them (“that’s what Bilbo Baggins hates” is simply heaven!). Not to mention the line drawing is exceptional– with the exception of some of the noses. A number of things were edited out of the book for film length issues and to keep it friendly for kids. For example, Beorn is not in this book, the role of the Wood-elves is minimized and they’re given German accents, the film-makers only insinuate that the Great Goblin is killed by Glamdring (it’s never explicitly mentioned later) and the politics of the War of Five Armies is summarized extraordinarily quickly. But this isn’t blasphemy upon the franchise given the context (a TV movie cartoon for kids and adults), and it’s only insecure nerds who label it as such. The film is beyond criticism.

Check out the first 10 minutes of the film here on youtube. The intro to this movie just does it to me every time. The way they draw the smoke and the coordination of the music and narration, such as when the harpsichord comes in as the dwarves introduce themselves. That’s right, a harpsichord.

I rented this film from the video store as a kid many times, and no one ever references it, except briefly as an aside from when that South Park episode about Lemmywinks and Mr. Slave aired. In that episode, the hamster, Lemmywinks, represents Bilbo, who instead of journeying through Middle Earth, must journey through Mr. Slave’s internal organs and body. The connection is the theme song played for Lemmywinks is a spin/satire/parody of Bilbo’s theme in The Hobbit. If you got the reference, that episode was insanely hilarious, but the music in The Hobbit is actually rather charming and entertaining. It’s hard to tell whether the South Park guys make fun of these things because they hate them or like them. But this animated film certainly beats the crap out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy Peter Jackson decided to regurgitate upon the film industry.

I guess what is uncool is that no one ever made a really excellent high budget Lord of the Rings animation. All you need are people who really want to make it, or shit…just hire someone at Studio Ghibli.

Which reminds me! Last year Hayao Miyazaki‘s son, Goro Miyazaki made a film based on the third book of the Earthsea universe by Ursula K. LeGuin. Another Ghibli animated feature about wizards? Cannot…award…enough…….bonus points!

There are some other interesting things about that Earthsea film, so I’ll follow up on that in a hot minute.

Get it @ Amazon


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~ by chaosrexmachinae on October 23, 2007.

2 Responses to “Hobbitses? on MY internet?!”

  1. Ralph Bakshi was the head animator. You should see his “adult” animation. It’s suprememly X-rated.

  2. Hopefully it wouldn’t horrify me in the way the “Lost Ren & Stimpy” episodes did.

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