The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 2 of 11)

Suddenly, we cut to a plain red-and-black drawing of a quaint village. My guess is it’s the Shire, the hobbits’ homeland, or a cut-price version of same. Gollum’s highly unconvincing yells of “we hates it forever!” continue to sound in the background, indicating he’ll be back later (the Tap Washer is like his crack pipe, after all).

Then the drawing slowly segues into a properly animated form of itself, which I concede is a rather neat effect. The OPN says, “It was Bilbo Baggins who took the Ring back to the Shire!” Did I call it, or did I call it? “His home,” OPN adds. Yes, I think we got that, mister. Anything else you’d care to tell us?

Enter Gandalf, a fully rotoscoped wizard riding his horse-drawn cart into the Shire. So I guess the story proper has finally arrived to bore us. Gandalf the Grey is a powerful (but kindly) wizard who likes the hobbits, and he’s come to town for Bilbo’s 111th birthday party. Unfortunately, the filmmakers were so stupid and inattentive that they didn’t take the name “Gandalf the Grey” as a cue to actually make the wizard’s robe grey. Instead, it’s bright blue. “Hey,” they must have said to themselves, “just because he’s called the Grey doesn’t mean he is grey. I mean, we’re only recreating this story as faithfully as we can. So there’s no need to obsess over little details. Oh, and pass that joint, will ya?”

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Multi-Part Article: The Lord of the Rings (1978)

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