Bakshi's brilliant-but-flawed 1978 interpretation of the Tolkien LOTR trilogy still raises the hackles of adoring fans. Trippy and unconstrained, it utilized an interesting fusion of classic hand-drawn animation with rotoscoped sequences, creating a memorable dreamscape of wizards, orcs and hobbits. Rotoscoping involves filming live-action scenes separately and then hand-tracing those frames onto traditional animation cels, allowing for a more fluid, distinctive impression.
Even though the animated feature brought in more than $30 million off a $4 million budget, mediocre reviews doomed Bakshi to drop plans for the sequel.
"The film is a clash of a lot of styles like in all my films," the now-retired animator once said of his project. "I like moody backgrounds. I like drama. I like a lot of saturated color. Of course, a big problem was controlling the artists so they drew alike. How do you have 600 people draw one character alike? The tendency is to want to let the artist have some freedom but then someone would leave off a hat or horn on a hat on a character. I think we've achieved real illustration as opposed to cartoons. Artistically, we can do anything we want."
Check out this sweet gallery from Bakshi's Lord of the Rings movie posted on his Facebook page.