Be it coincidence or homage or the outright hope that they don’t get caught aping someone else’s movie, filmmakers have been replicating the work of those who have gone before them for some time now. Every now and then we like to stop and point out one of those instances.*
Peter Jackson’s ambitious three-film adaptation of J R R Tolkien’s landmark fantasy work The Lord Of The Rings was not the first time that story reached the big screen. Over three decades earlier, animation director Ralph Bakshi attempted to bring the sprawling epic of hobbits, elves, dwarves, wizards and an evil ring to theaters, but with only limited success. His film only stopped about halfway through the story and despite good reviews and a box office that returned seven-and-a-half times what was spent to make the film, a hoped for second film to finish things off never happened.
But the film made an impact on one person that would reverberate through Hollywood years later. A young Peter Jackson saw the film and was moved to check out Tolkien’s books. And well, the rest is cinematic history. And as an acknowledgement, Jackson tipped his hat back to Bakshi in one of the early moments in his Fellowship Of The Ring in 2001, as you can see below.
Jackson explains on the Extended Edition director’s commentary –
My first introduction to The Lord Of The Rings was when I saw the Ralph Bakshi cartoon film in 1978. And even though our movie is stylistically very different and the design is different, there is one shot which I regard as my homage to the cartoon – because it did inspire me to want to read the book – and that’s the shout of Proudfoot shouting “Proudfeet,” where I deliberately copied the angle that Ralph Bakshi used which I thought was brilliant.
*And in the spirit of the swipe, we readily acknowledge that we were “inspired” by a similar feature over at Rich Johnson’s comic book news and gossip site, Bleeding Cool.