Earlier this mainly it was announced the Peter Jackson’s top Lord of the Rings trilogy would make its 4k IMax debut this month. Now, I’m not going to danger my safety or mine family’s to watch my favourite trilogy on a really big screen, but the announcement did get Middle earth on my mind as I walked the barren February see in my neighborhood. And also I finished up with a very specific song stuck in mine head.

You are watching: Where there's a whip there's a way

Long prior to Elijah Wood and Sean Astin dealt with Shelob and scaled the side of mountain Doom, there was one more version of JRR Tolkien’s The Return of the King, one that sometimes popped increase on cable in the 90s and still haunts me to this day many thanks to a distinctive style and, many weirdly, one really catchy tune about forced marches and going off to war to die. Yes, friends, I’m talking around “Where There’s A Whip, There’s a Way,” the supremely weird orc marching tune from the Rankin/Bass Return of the King.


I love everything around this insane few minutes that animation: the funky synths, the method the whip works with the rhythm, the counterpoint of “we don’t wanna walk to battle today!” v the trudging mainline, the obvious repetition the frames and also entire segments of the track with identical computer animation for no factor … it’s every so strange, and also it really typifies the in its entirety weirdness of the animated The Return the the King


Now, you might be asking yourself: “Return of the King? Didn’t they execute the whole trilogy and also The Hobbit?” no … really. In 1977 Rankin/Bass, the studio best known because that claymation Christmas specials released an animated variation of The Hobbit as a tv movie, animated with Topcraft, a Japanese firm that was actually a precursor to Studio Ghibli.

Now, the 1977 man Hobbit is fun and also it functions because, well, The Hobbit is for kids. Yet at the exact same time the Rankin/Bass was working on that, Ralph Bakshi was making The mr of the Rings. Ns personally always get Ralph Bakshi and also Rankin/Bass confused because of the R.B. Initials and also this entirety mess. Bakshi’s move had a very different style, to say the the very least … and also he only had the legal rights to the very first two books in the mr of the rings trilogy. He an extremely also very clearly relied on animating end live action references … how have the right to do ns know? well … look at this thing.


Yes, that’s a male in a monster suit together the Balrog. It is an extremely bad. It’s not a shocker the after this come out in 1978, Bakshi didn’t obtain to finish the story with Return the the King, Rankin/Bass and also Topcraft did. They open up the movie v a bard telling the story that “Frodo of ripe fingers” (another tune the echoes with my youth) i m sorry recaps both the Hobbit and the two books that couldn’t be adapted.


“Where There’s A Whip There’s A Way” occurs quite at an early stage in the book, because Frodo and also Sam are currently in Moria once the remind story starts. It’s together a weird selection to put into a really earnest and also straight-faced version of this story. The song has the weird effect, in addition to the general, shall ns say, fluffiness, that the orcs that making castle sympathetic servants to Sauron, no evil monsters. Ns guess that’s an interesting an option given just how Jackson and Tolkein usually depict them. Still, the sudden musical interlude through orcs is … therefore strange.


But there are some pretty decent components in this strange tiny movie. I constantly loved Eowyn matches the Nazgul, though you’ll see exactly how true they to be to the book and how, well, clunky that can be.


It’s always fun looking earlier on these and also other fairly forgotten man features. As a kid, ns remember see this movie, along with The Hobbitt, on television and being so an extremely confused since it felt choose I always missed hug parts of the story, i m sorry in reality I had. The movies were every released on video clip together at one point, but when castle aired on cable, they were still piecemeal.

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It took twenty more years after this attempted to carry The lord of the Rings to the screen, but fans will never forget these early attempts. That knows exactly how weird or kinky singing “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way” as children made us, however I’m glad this curiosities happened because, well, if nothing else, they’re fun.

(image: Rankin/Bass Productions)

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