REVIEWED
4/23/07

STORY



LOOK



Wizards
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Year: 1977
TRT: 1:20


Delving into the film, you're immediately provided the exposition of the two primary characters, who just happen to be twins: Avatar as the kind and good wizard, Blackwolf as the mutant wizard and pretty much overall bastard. Millions of years in the future, and thousands more to set the story, it pretty much throws subtlety out the fuckin' window. Toning down depravity and embracing his always-present love of visual comedy, Bakshi provides a very black and white struggle between good and evil under the guise of technology versus magic.

While the animations of the characters come off a bit simplistic, some very lush and intricate backgrounds are presented here that make this very worthwhile. Pan & Scan of still illustrations of evil that can be considered inspirations of many-a-metal bands' album cover, and tribute as well to the paintings of the mighty Frank Frazetta (whose name is even uttered as part of a spell here, and who Bakshi would go on to work with on the fantastically visualized Fire and Ice.) Relying greatly on the terror-inducing symbols and Propaganda of the Turd Reich, when noticed in a certain light rings painfully true particularly today (perhaps because even though the dictator and methods may have changed, the blatantly "hippy" kind of post-Vietnam message reverberates a bit more true these days, dated groovy music notwithstanding). All I have to say is interesting choice of battle-charging music; you think Barry White's gonna bust out a way-smooth line any minute.

Here we have slightly more mainstream Bakshi (as opposed to the likes of, say, Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, or the oft-overlooked Coonskin). You see here the development of his filtered live-action/animation technique used to help cut budget/animation time, and a precursor to his next film, an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings, brilliant and disappointing in it's own right. Oh well, he'd nail it better with American Pop as an acid-induced animated documentary of the history of popular American music. This film still has and always will have its place as that oddball combination of psychedelia taking on the war machine, and a reluctant wizard with a Brooklyn accent.

Great Scene: Ink-drawn barracuda ships slowly glide in for war! Pretty much all the ink-drawn backgrounds are killer.

DVD Notes: Fox finally released this in 2004 on DVD, and did a great job with it. Commentary by Bakshi is included, of course, as well as a doc on the Man himself. Two of its trailers plus a TV Spot, pretty extensive Still Galleries, english and spanish audio, same for subtitles plus french.