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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Where there's a Pic, There's a Day
The Other "Return of the King"
Posted by Ross


Rabbi Aragorn's in a hurry. Must be late for a bris or something... Posted by Hello

There was a time, boys and girls, when Return of the King wasn't 2004's Oscar-winner for best picture. This was a time when Return of the King existed on celluloid only as an exceedingly crappy 1980 animated film, directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., the same duo that brought us 1977's The Hobbit, a much more fitting template for their animation style (and to their credit, Bass and Rankin also directed the brilliant 1982 feature The Last Unicorn).
Bass and Rankin's version of King is nothing short of baffling. It picks up, I don't know, 150 or 200 pages past where Ralph Bakshi's 1978 The Lord of the Rings left off. (Bakshi made it a good portion into The Two Towers before he ran out of steam and never finished it.)
A lot of characters are missing from the OK (that's slang for Original King; cool, huh?), like Legolas and Gimli and Eomer; and Aragorn, for some reason, looks like a Rabbi. And hey, I like Casey Kasem as much as the next guy, but it's pretty disconcerting hearing Shaggy's voice on Merry Brandybuck.
Thankfully, the OK makes up for all of its short-comings with toe-tapping musical numbers like "Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom", and the absolute show-stopper, "Where There's a Whip There's a Way."
It's like, there's Frodo and Sam, in Mordor, on their quest to destroy the Ring, and you're like, this is pretty cool and all, but what I really need is a musical number. Fear not, for this is the precise moment when a battalion of Orcs marches through, singing in beautiful falsetto and tenor, some extraordinarily moving lyrics, written by Bass, which go something like this:

Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
We don't wanna go to war today,
But the lord of the lash says nay, nay, nay!
We're gonna march all day, all day, all day,
Cause where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.

Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Left, right, left, right, left
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Left, right
A crack on the back says we're gonna fight.

We're gonna march all day and night
And more, for we are the slaves of the Dark Lord's war.
Left, right, left, right, left,

Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
We don't wanna go to war today,
But the lord of the lash says nay, nay, nay!
We're gonna march all day, all day, all day,
Cause where there's a whip, there's a way.
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right

Peter Jackson had an homage to Bakshi's LOTR in Fellowship of the Rings. Such a shame he couldn't do the same for the OK by filming "Where There's a Whip There's a Way".

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