Tag Archives: The Hobbit

Orcs singing in the Rankin/Bass Return of the King cartoon.

Review of Rankin/Bass “The Return of the King” (1980)

Orcs singing in the Rankin/Bass Return of the King cartoon.This cartoon…  This is the one that broke me…  I feel drained after watching this.  Before there was Peter Jackson, there were three cartoons almost unrelated to one another, and I made the mistake of deciding to review all of them.  The first was a children’s animated TV special by Rankin/Bass that removed almost every element that made The Hobbit great.  The second, based on the first half of The Lord of the Rings, was at least for adults, even if it was a poorly-rotoscoped cartoon that payed little attention to the subtleties of the book.  The third, which I’ll be reviewing today, is called Frodo: The Hobbit II, but it’s more commonly known as The Return of the King: A Story of the Hobbits.
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The 1977 Hobbit cartoon is an abomination.

Review of Rankin/Bass’ The Hobbit (1977)

In the first article I ever wrote for this site, I reviewed a 1966 cartoon loosely derived from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.The 1977 Hobbit cartoon is an abomination.  Now, this cartoon was actually calculated to be as faithless an adaptation as possible for use as a tool of blackmail, and this eventually led to the existence of a second attempt to adapt The Hobbit to the screen eleven years later, this time by Rankin/Bass, a studio famous for its holiday specials.  Many of their other works are really good, but they’re really out of their league here.  This, along with two later cartoons, are often considered to make up a sort of half-formed trilogy, and I’ll eventually get around to reviewing the other two.
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King Bilbo imagery in the Rankin/Bass Hobbit cartoon

Progress on The Hobbit 1977 Review

Happy October to everyone who isn’t reviewing a bloody awful ’70s cartoon!  If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might have heard that I didn’t get much sleep last night.  This is because the review I’m working on has been the most intense and time-consuming review I’ve written.  To make things worse, a street-lamp turned on outside my window just as I was ready to go to sleep.  I’ve been working almost non-stop on getting the review done as soon as possible so you can read my thoughts on that cartoon.  Luckily, I’ve gotten some better blinds for my window, and I expect I’ll have the article ready sometime in the next week.

In the meantime, please enjoy the highlights of my live-tweeting event…
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Bilbo resists the temptation to kill Gollum

On the Heroism of Hobbits

Happy Hobbit Day! In case you weren’t aware, the twenty-second of September is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and among Tolkien fans it is a time to celebrate Tolkien’s greatness. Although Tolkien’s works are well-known, few are aware of just how great an impact they have had not just on literature but also on western civilization in general.
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King Thorin Oakenshield of Erebor dies.

The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition

My birthday, being on the fifth of January, falls upon this day.  By coincidence, Tolkien’s birthday is on the third of the same month, and therefore several days ago I celebrated the birthday of my favourite author by watching the “special extended edition” of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies for the first time, which I had been saving for just that occasion.  In all honesty, the “extended edition” is a bit of a misnomer, for it really isn’t that it is extended, but that the theatrical is somewhat abridged for the theatres.  Unfortunately, few theatres would be willing to show a film as long as these are in their entirety, and so it becomes necessary to cut down the finished film for this purpose.  The full movie is, in fact, the extended edition, which should more appropriately be dubbed the “unabridged edition.” Continue reading The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition

Response to Criticism of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

What I suspect is a very vocal minority has, on the internet, made very clear their dislike of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Now, I could explain in great detail why most (if not all) of the changes and additions to the story are either innocuous and trivial and/or necessary due to the differences between art forms, but the fact is that people just like to complain.
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Gene Deitch makes Dale look like Canterlot

Review of 1966 The Hobbit Adaptation

We all know that the Rankin/Bass cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit, while not quite as bad as their attempt at The Return of the King, was still a childish mess that fails utterly to communicate the dark and timeless themes of Tolkien’s original work, but it wasn’t the first such attempt. And, believe me, it was certainly not the worst.

All but unknown until just recently, the 1966 adaptation of The Hobbit resurfaced to the horror of Tolkienists everywhere. From what I can gather, it is the gruesome result of a horrifyingly successful attempt to blackmail Tolkien by threatening to unleash this and other planned abominations upon the world—successful because he payed up. It was made on a fiendishly small budget and took less than a month to finish, and this is farcically obvious in the finished product, which is under twelve minutes in length. Continue reading Review of 1966 The Hobbit Adaptation

A Games Workshop Moria goblin miniature.

Agrax Earthshade: Technique in a Bottle

This post was migrated from my earlier blog:
Painting The Lord of the Rings Miniatures.


Citadel's Agrax Earthshade shade paint.

For two years now I have not painted a single miniature without employing Agrax Earthshade to some end. It is widely accepted as an essential paint for any collection, and is often referred to as “Liquid Talent” or sometimes “Skill in a Bottle” because of its effects on a miniature.  Being a shade, Agrax Earthshade flows into the recesses of the model and, when applied correctly, will bring a model together while bringing its best features to attention.

I have found that it is best applied to the entire miniature in several thin coats.  Make sure that it does collect in the recesses or it won’t have quite as realistic an effect.
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