It looked terrible then and it still does: cartoon characters move differently from live actors, and the attempt to duplicate natural movement ends in stylistic incoherence.
Quite simply, those who do not know the characters of Middle Earth going in will not know them coming out.
Bakshi's version, using animation and live-action tracings, is uniformly excellent, sticking closely to the original text and visually echoing many of Tolkien's own drawings.
The film is visually compelling even when murk overtakes the narrative.
| Original Score: 3/5
Falls far short of the charm and sweep of the original story.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
A showcase for inspired imagery and sheer strangeness, a near-miss magnum opus from another era, before the cult of Tolkien went Hollywood.