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I don't feel this program is the travesty many believe it to be. This could of course be because this was my first exposure to Middle-Earth and I was only ten or so at the time. Even now at 31 I still have a soft spot for this program, even after hearing the BBC's version. Of course this soft spot could also be due to the fact that despite its flaws this program still remains most faithful to the books and features a reasonably well-performed version of one of my favorite parts, that being the scenes with Tom Bombadil, which the 1981 BBC radiodrama, released three years or so after this version, omits entirely as does the 2001 film, much to the displeasure of many fans.
But if you enjoyed the American performance of The Hobbit, you may enjoy the rest of the series just as much since old favorite actors such as Ray Reinhardt (Bilbo), Tom Loose (Thorin and now Aragorn), and Bernard Mayes (Gandalf), return in this program alon with newcomer James Arrington as Frodo and, strangely enough, Saruman as well. I wasn't entirely thrilled with the guy who portrayed Elrond, since he always sounded to me as though he constantly had a frog in his throat. I will however acknowledge the fact that he sounds somewhat less like that in the LOTR trilogy than he did in The Hobbit itself. The only cast member I really didn't like was Lu Bliss, the lady who plays Sam. I don't know if it was the New York/Jersey accent or what, but I could never get into her performance. One other thing I found rather unnerving about this version to say the least, was the almost overwhelming presence of Sci-Fi-like laser effects whenever Gandalf used his magic. Granted this is more in reference to Two Towers and Return of the King than in Fellowship, but it does become distracting in those later programs. Aside from that though, the sound effects are actually quite good, the horses' hooves not least of all. In the BBC version they sounded much more like tapdancers in my opinion than actual horses.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I wish I had paid attention to the reviews on itunes, or the the sample I listened to, and had not wasted my credits on all 4 Tolkien dramatizations without listening to one first. What on middle earth were the makers thinking? This is the most dreadful dramatization of any book I have ever heard. Those involved obviously had no understanding of Tolkien's world or vision whatsoever. The music sounds like the worst kind of 70s TV show, the high elves are munchkins, and I am not even out of the shire! But here's the really sad part, as a die hard lover of Tolkien I couldn't resist buying it, and I will probably continue to listen to it, despite cringing at every other word. If you can get it, the BBC dramatization is far and away superior to this, although even that has its issues. I wish someone would produce an unabridged narrated version, read by a weighty voice - Ian McKellan or Ian Holm perhaps - or maybe even Viggo Mortesen (just the thought! I don't think I would use my ipod for anything else ever again!)
55 of 65 people found this review helpful