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Neither the Lord of the Rings nor Disney nor any of the actors mentioned in this fic belongs to me. This idea, however, does, and thank goodness, for if Disney ever gets the terrible idea to make The Lord of the Rings into its next full-length animated feature, I might have the right to sue.

Walt Disney Pictures presents:

The Lord of the Rings

As the title and credits flash over the screen, we see a black-and-white portrait of the Shire. As the opening scene rolls on, color is added to the landscape, and the camera zooms in on it, in an effect similar to the opening scene in "Pocahontas". All the while, a chorus is singing in cute, unnaturally-squeaky voices, a la Alvin and the Chipmunks or the Munchkins from "The Wizard of Oz":

HOBBITS: We are the hobbits of the Shire,
Our happiness and joy will never tire.
We live so far from pain and strife,
Oh, a hobbit's life is a wonderful life!

We're having a party this special day,
To celebrate our old friend Bilbo's birthday.
Come join the fun, you and your wife;
Oh, a hobbit's life is a wonderful life!

And now we get our first glimpse of the hobbits, throwing Bilbo's birthday party. Since it wouldn't be kid-appropriate to show the characters drinking alcohol or stuffing themselves with food-we don't want to encourage gluttony and obesity in young children-the hobbits are throwing a Winnie-the-Pooh-style party, complete with party hats, balloons, cake, and a few games of Pooh-sticks. In the best Disney tradition, the minor characters and extras are all poorly drawn, with unusually large facial features and sparse lines on their faces. In contrast, Frodo, who is voiced by Matthew Broderick, is at least six inches taller than the other hobbits, with blonde hair, aqua-blue eyes, and muscular arms. Well, really, you didn't expect the main hero of the story to be small and ugly, did you?

Bilbo, on the other hand, is short, even for a hobbit, and fat as Maurice from "Beauty and the Beast", with the fringes of white hair and the mustache so common to Disney fathers. He is a blundering, eccentric, supremely silly old geezer, as is shown clearly when, after he disappears from the party in a flash of colored light, he bumps into his own front door, knocks the Ring off his finger so that he appears again, and grumbles, "Oh, bother!" However, he's pretty sensible in at least one respect: he leaves the Ring behind immediately at Gandalf's insistence. Showing him beginning to succumb to the madness of the Ring would be far too upsetting for the children.

Speaking of Gandalf, our favorite wizard is actually not too badly drawn (because after all, it isn't too hard to draw an old man with a gray beard in a robe and pointed hat). Tolkien fans may be a little put off that he's being voiced by Douglas Seale, who also did the Sultan in "Aladdin", but just remember it could have been worse: Disney almost decided to have Robin Williams do it.

The scene changes to Frodo, who is now at his front door and meeting his pet rabbit, Ithil, who hops out of the doorway and looks at him with large, sickeningly-cute eyes (Why is this rabbit named "Moon", you ask? It was the only word of Elvish that the Disney screenwriters could think of)

FRODO: Hello, Ithil! Gee, I didn't know Uncle Bilbo had magical powers and could disappear into thin air, did you?

Ithil nods, flapping his long ears from side to side and thumping his right foot on the doorstep, a little bit of extremely subtle, free advertising for the movie "Bambi".

We now witness the sappy, incredibly heartwarming good-bye between Frodo and Bilbo, because having the character's uncle leave all alone without even saying good-bye to his own nephew promotes bad family values, and Disney can't have that. The two hobbits hug each other, Gandalf smiles kindly on this bit of warm fuzziness, and the dialogue goes something like this:

FRODO: Good-bye, Uncle Bilbo, I'll miss you so much!
BILBO: Good-bye, Frodo. I'll miss you too.
FRODO (sniffling): Will I ever see you again?
BILBO: I hope so. Just remember: always follow your heart, and it will lead you down the right path, for you to find your dream. Be strong, Frodo, be strong.

Bilbo leaves, and Gandalf and Frodo settle down in front of the fire for some tea and a long chat (The teapot, by the way, looks suspiciously like Mrs. Potts from "Beauty and the Beast"). Gandalf begins to tell Frodo the shortened, watered-down story of the Ring of Power.

GANDALF: This Ring that Bilbo left you is evil. Can't you feel its presence?
FRODO: Um...no.
GANDALF: Bah...there is more than feeling with your hands and your mind. You must feel with your heart, and then you'll understand.

Ominous music builds up, as Frodo feels with his heart (really, how is that anatomically possible?). After about three seconds, Frodo's eyes widen until they surpass Elijah Wood's in size, and...

FRODO (gasp): I can feel it!
GANDALF: Yes, child, yes; this Ring belongs to the Dark Lord Sauron, who used it thousands of years ago to conquer and enslave all of Middle Earth. The Ring was cut from his hand, and so he lost all his power, but the Ring should have been destroyed, and it was not. Sauron must not have this Ring, or he will be able to rise to power again, greater and more terrible than before.
FRODO: But how was the Ring cut off his hand? And how did Bilbo get it?
GANDALF (looking at the camera): Find out in The Lord of the Rings One-and-a-Half: The Adventures of Isildur and Bilbo Baggins, coming directly to video and DVD in anywhere from one to fifty years.
FRODO: O-kay...but...but what should we do?! Where should we go?!
GANDALF: The Ring must be cast into the fires of Mount Doom, in the evil land of Mordor, to be destroyed completely. Unfortunately, I shall not be able to help you; for it is time for you to learn to be a hero.

With that, Gandalf gets up and leaves. Tolkien fans, already distraught by Matthew Broderick's horrific acting, the absence of background information on the Ring, and Gandalf's talking like a masculine Grandmother Willow (Grandfather Willow?), are further scarred for life as Frodo begins his first song, My Heart Will Lead Me on This Quest.

FRODO: All my life, I've lived here in my little hobbit hole,
Never dreaming what I might find in the world.
And now that I must take the Ring, into darkness and cold-
Gandalf says I'm a hero, and my flag is unfurled.

I've always longed for magic and mystery,
To prove to the world that I'm bold and brave.
I thought my name would go down in history,
Yet how can I all Middle-Earth save?

But my heart will lead me on this quest,
There's a voice inside telling me what is best.
And I know if I trust in my heart to guide me,
I will leave all my fear and pain behind me.

The camera moves out of the hobbit hole, and the sky abruptly turns to daylight, showing Frodo walking along the road with Sam, Merry, Pippin, and, of course, Ithil. Sam is even shorter and fatter than Bilbo, with chunky cheeks, and he recalls horrible memories of the satyr sidekick in "Hercules". Merry and Pippin are apparently identical twins, according to Disney. They will frequently speak in unison throughout the film.

FRODO: Gee, Sam, Merry, and Pippin! Thanks for coming along; I'm so glad that I won't have to go on this journey alone.
SAM: Oh, that's all right, Frodo. After all, what are friends for?
MERRY AND PIPPIN: We'll always be there for you, Frodo!
FRODO: Well, that's wonderful. With the four of us...

The camera cuts to Ithil, who squeaks indignantly and thumps his foot on the path.

FRODO (smiling): Sorry, Ithil, the five of us...

Ithil smiles and hops contentedly after his master.

FRODO (continuing): The Dark Lord won't stand a chance! The power of friendship is always stronger than the power of evil!

With the four of us working together like this,
We can easily kick the Dark Lord's butt,
As long as we believe in ourselves,
The door of Mordor will be shut!

'Cause our hearts will lead us on this quest,
There's a voice inside telling us what is best.
And we know if we trust in our hearts to guide us,
We will leave all our fear and pain behind us!

To the audience's immense relief, this nonsensical, badly-rhymed song ends here. The camera moves up into the sky, before moving down again on the land of Mordor, which has a dark red sky streaked with yellow lightning, a dark, creepy castle with pointed spires, and a volcano similar to the Cave of Wonders in "Aladdin", which growls, rumbles, and spits out bright orange fire.

As if the spectacle is not enough, the scene cuts to Sauron's private throne room in his castle. Sauron is a dark, horned demon wreathed in fire, recalling nothing so much as the giant bat in "Fantasia", and instead of having one fiery eye as his symbol, he has glowing red eyes like laser beams. His chest and arms are enormous: you can see that he has an eight-pack-maybe a ten-pack-and he constantly picks up defenseless bugs and rats in his giant hands and crushes them. His orcs, who look less like mutilated beings and more like cartoonish aliens, cringe and bow before him, serving him platters of food and kissing his fingers. Sauron, being engaged in a heated, one-sided conversation with his pet snake, Lugburz (again, the only word in the particular language that the Disney screenwriters knew), pays no attention.

SAURON (voiced by Jeremy Irons): And once I have the Ring on my finger, all of Middle-Earth will be mine! Mwahahahahaha!
LUGBURZ: Hissssssssssssss.
SAURON: Why, thank you, Lugburz; you are too kind.

Gollum enters Sauron's throne room. Unlike in the books, Gollum is completely evil, not simply corrupted by the Ring, and has worked for Sauron all his life. Disney has to make every character either good or evil, because its childish audience simply will not be able to grasp the concept of a tortured yet corrupted soul. So Gollum is evil, and his repulsive appearance shows it; yes, he had the Ring for a long time, but he was really going to take it to Sauron when Bilbo found it-for more information, watch The Lord of the Rings One-and-a-Half: The Adventures of Isildur and Bilbo Baggins, coming directly to video and DVD. As for Sauron, he views Gollum as his second-favorite pet (next to Lugburz, of course), and smiles brightly, showing yellowed teeth.

SAURON: Ah, Gollum, my most trusted ally! What news of the Ring?
GOLLUM: Well, precioussss...Ssssshire...Bagginssssss...
SAURON: Curses! How could one of those pathetic hobbits get hold of the Ring which belongs to all-powerful ME?! On the other hand, it will be easy to take the Ring away from them. Lord of the Nazgul!
LORD OF THE NAZGUL (who simply looks like a black ghost): Yes, master?
SAURON: Send out all eight of your forces! Take them, dead or alive!
LORD OF THE NAZGUL: Yes sir, master!

The scene, accompanied by Sauron's deep, evil chuckle, fades back to the road on which the hobbits are walking. And this is where I shall end this chapter, for I think my readers need a break from the sheer horror.
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