EXCLUSIVE! Gandalf Responds to the Ralph Bakshi Interview
Gandalf the White here. Master Blackwolf has granted me the opportunity to guest-blog in his Diary of Magecraft, so that I might respond on behalf of all my colleagues in Middle-earth regarding the all too obviously mean and bitter remarks of Ralph Bakshi concerning Lord of the Rings.
In his interview with Emru Townsend of Frames per Second Magazine, Baskhi is asked about Peter Jackson's Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogy. We read the following excerpts:
TOWNSEND: We love Lord of the Rings, the books; we liked your Lord of the Rings, we liked the Peter Jackson one.
BAKSHI: The picture was just done, I don't wanna do a picture that's just done. He's finished it! It's no fun doing a picture that's been done. .... My version had more character, more soul, less sneaker selling.
TOWNSEND: We thought it was pretty obvious at several points in the Peter Jackson version that they did take a couple of riffs from you.
BAKSHI: Uh huh. They took everything from me! ...... Every fucking thing you're looking at in Rings --- the design, Gimli, Aragorn, the Dwarves, the Elves, all that stuff --- I came up with, because basically there was nothing to look at. .... I could give you a little billion things, and I wish I had a movie to look at. Now, that's fine for Peter, but for you to say "somewhat," shit, that's ridiculous!
TOWNSEND: Did Peter Jackson ever actually contact you at any point?
BAKSHI: He can kiss my fucking ass. No he hasn't. He had my movie, why would he wanna contact me? He robbed me to begin with!
Oh, did he now? Well, let me tell you something, my dear Ralph. The person to whom you should direct your real anger is the fellow who produced your Lord of the Rings movie, burly, somewhat lovable, ever cantakerous Saul Zaentz. I would suggest, sir, that you get down on your knees and thank Mr. Zaentz for even financing your little film. Alas, sir, you fail to accept, much less take into consideration, the fact that the era of two-dimensional hand-drawn animation is over. Only you and Don Bluth have websites for animation buffs to go to; whereas Richard Williams is a recluse, mostly because those imbeciles at the long-since defunct Completion Bond Company took away Williams' beloved Thief and Cobbler project, which he'd worked on since 1968, and left it to those delicious Weinsteins, who, in their anti-infinite wisdom, sliced it up even more into a folly called Arabian Knight, the idea being to jump on the bandwagon then instigated by Disney's Aladdin!
In the end, my dear friends at Rankin/Bass had to step in and finish up your dirty work, and the result of their efforts ended up being titled The Return of the King: A Story of the Hobbits --- a film in which, I might add, I have had the most incredible pride in! And whatever do you mean by that remark about "less sneaker selling"? If Peter Jackson wanted to engage in 'product placement,' as the Hollywood Mortals call such things, he would have had an L. A. office right about now! Instead, because he doesn't trust the Hollywood status quo, he works entirely in Wellington, New Zealand, where he can be free to pursue his film projects his way. And, er ... did I mention, by the way, that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King made more history on Oscar Night oh, those many short years ago than did your precious Fritz the Cat?
Really, Mr. Bakshi --- methinks ye doth protest far too much, sir! To make a long point short, as Master Blackwolf pointed out, you had your chance to make a definitive Lord of the Rings movie --- AND YOU BLEW IT! And more to the point, sir, you, Don Bluth and Richard Williams are damaged goods in the animation community --- AND YOU KNOW IT! DreamWorks Animation's Shrek is the 800-pound gorilla of present-day Toontown, sir -- and the sooner you lot get used to that, the better off we'll all be! All of which is to say: Nyahh, nyahh, nyahh-nyahh, nyahh!
Having said all that, Mr. Bakshi, I humbly advise you to cut your losses, take things like a man, and GET LOST!