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|Ralph Bakshis Bekenntnis|
|Ein Interview mit Fox News|
|Im Juli 2000 hat Ralph Bakshi ein Interview zum ersten "Herr der Ringe" Film gegeben. Dieses drucken wir hier ohne Kommentar ab...|
|'70s Version of Lord of the Rings 'Devastated' Director Bakshi |
|Ralph Bakshi knows it's not easy to translate Lord of the Rings to the big screen. He tried. Now, 22 years after the release of his ill-received animated version, the director recalls the movie-making experience as filled with "terror." |
|"The pressure doing the Rings for me was enormous. It nearly killed me," Bakshi told FOXNews.com. "At the time I did it, I thought I failed." |
|Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick and John Boorman reportedly all had visions of bringing the long and winding trilogy to the screen. But it was Bakshi, best known for 1972's X-rated Fritz the Cat, who took the plunge.
Like director Peter Jackson, who is currently filming a live action version of the entire trilogy in New Zealand, Bakshi wanted to tell the story because he was a huge fan of author J.R.R. Tolkien.
|Bakshi met with Tolkien's daughter to discuss how the film would be made. He said she showed him the room where her father, who died in 1973, did his writing and drawing. "I had no idea that he had drawn," Bakshi said. "For me it was a big emotional experience. |
|"My promise to Tolkien's daughter was to be pure to the book," Bakshi said. "I wasn't going to say, 'Hey, throw out Gollum and change these two characters.' My job was to say, 'This is what the genius said.'" At Bakshi's disposal was traditional matte painting - not the sophisticated computer-generated imaging being used in the new production. And he had less than $10 million with which to do it - more than 10 times less than Jackson's budget. |
|Bakshi attempted something different for the sake of realism: He shot the movie with live actors and then animated over them. "It was a realistic movie," he said. "It was to be taken seriously." Except for a couple of scenes in Snow White, he said, the technique, called rotoscoping, had "never been tried in animation before (and was) probably impossible on the year-and-a-half budget I had. |
|"As far as I was concerned it was revolutionary and cutting edge," he said, admitting that it clearly isn't any longer. "I just sit here crying. What can be done today. ... I'm staggered." But he knows Jackson, despite his digital tools, has his work cut out for him: "Nothing is ever easy making this film," he said.
Incidentally, one of the 800 animators hired to do the tedious work on Bakshi's movie would go on to greater heights: "Tim Burton was a cell painter (on the film)," Bakshi said. "A kid out of college. Little did I know - I should've asked him for five bucks."
|Bakshi Release Met Pointed Criticism|
|When Bakshi's film came out for the holiday season in 1978, the reviews were less than positive. "The technical accomplishment is impressive; Bakshi is clearly a gifted, if wildly electric, animator," wrote critic David Ansen in Newsweek. "His powers as a storyteller, however, are considerably less assured. "Overlong, erratically paced, and overpopulated with all manner of Hobbits, elves, dwarfs, humans, Orcs and wizards, the movie is a cornucopia of confusion that only the most devout Tolkien addicts will be able to decipher." |
|The biggest problem, however, may have been the ending: It stopped about halfway through the beloved trilogy -without explanation. Bakshi said the movie was intended to be the first of two parts and blamed the distributor, United Artists, for not labeling it as such. "United Artists at that time was terrified to say 'Part One.' I remember sitting in meetings screaming my head off saying, 'You can't do this.'" "Had it said 'Part One,' I think everyone would have respected it. But because it didn't say 'Part One,' everyone came in expecting to see the entire three books, and that's where the confusion comes in." And that's where Bakshi said he dropped out of the sequel. "Devastated" from the experience, he said he wasn't interested in finishing the tale, at least "not with antiquated techniques and a company that never read the book." A United Artists spokeswoman did not return a call for comment. |
|Bakshi: It's Time to Make Part Two |
|But having recovered from the experience, Bakshi now looks back on it with a sense of pride. "I had a good time," he said. "I'm not complaining about anything." "For the most part, the authenticity I created through Tolkien's world has held up," he said. "How big is a Hobbit's foot? What does Gollum look like? All those things had to be decisions on my part. It was an overwhelming job, and lucky I was a young man." The hard-core fans who visit his Web site, www.RalphBakshi.com, applaud his effort, he said. "What I get on the Internet is overwhelming praise from Tolkien fans. ... The response to this day, the response to what I visualized - I never let anyone down in that area ... and I'm very proud of that. I wish I had finished the picture." He's eager to see how the new films turn out. "It's going to be interesting," he said. "I don't know how they could leave me out." |
|He urges director Jackson to do what Jackson's distributor, New Line, said he definitely is doing: Stay true to the books. "I don't want a director's Lord of the Rings, I want Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. You don't change Tolkien's sequences, you don't combine, you don't collapse, you don't throw away. ... You change nothing if you're doing Tolkien. Why change brilliance? I mean, who the hell are we to change Tolkien? It's the height of Narcissus." He said that respect for the author is why he doesn't plan to release the live action footage he filmed as the basis for his animation. However, he said, "It's a very interesting movie, very existential. (Hobbits will be running around), then an airplane will come through the scene because I didn't have to turn to the cameras off. You put a jazz track to it, you're home." |
|Nonetheless, he said he would like to finish off his own animated version. "Now I'd love to do part two," he said. "Maybe Saul and I will." Saul Zaentz, who owns the rights to the books, produced Bakshi's film and is an executive producer on the Jackson production. "Mine's a better movie," Bakshi said. "But we'll see what happens. I'm anxious to see the (new) film - I think." |
|Friday, July 7, 2000|
|Fox News (Patrick Riley)|
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