A very half-assed defense of Bakshi's Lord Of The Rings: No, it's not very good. But it's ambitious in ways animated films of the era seldom were, and there are intermittent flashes of inspiration. And it was not, as Hodgman implies, a flop; it landed in the Top Twenty grossers for 1978, and did probably as well as a non-Disney animated film possibly could in that very different time. I think the reason it never got a follow-up is due less to lack of studio support and more to the bridges Bakshi burned during its production. By the time it was released, he was already in production on another project. Probably even Bakshi realized LOTR wasn't really his sort of thing.

And hey, if nothing else, at least people remember LOTR as a failed one-off. When they cancelled production on the final entry in the Divergent series, did anyone even notice?

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I watched Dune in IMAX last night. While I was not handed a glossary of terms at the entrance, I happened to have brought my own in the form of my all-things-Dune loving friend. Our ride home was spent by me asking questions, mostly confirming that I did understand what I just saw. This is all to say, even though this new Dune strips out tons of story and lore and streamlines the narrative, it is still very much a Dune fan's movie. And that's fine. The state of current cinema rewards existing intellectual property that comes with a baked-in audience.

That leads me to something I would love to hear Scott and John's feeling on. I found the PG-13-ness of this Dune to be a bit distracting. There was certainly some artful dodging of carnage. The the more it happened, the more I found myself asking, "Why the hell was this not made to be a hard R movie?" Most of the core audience is adult males who grew up reading the book or watching the Lynch film. I don't get the sense that Denis V. was ever trying to make a crowd pleaser for the whole family. Why not introduce more visceral violence alongside these fantastical images?

So, what do you think--would this be a better film if it was rated R?

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