Wizards – 3 out of 5
A couple years back I was told about creator Ralph Bakshi and I was directed towards his very unique animated features Coonskin and Fritz the Cat (he also directed the animated adaptation of Lord of the Rings). Until this point, I was aware of his existence but never really paid close attention to his projects. Checking out some of his other works, I found out his did a fantasy film in 1977 that went on to achieve cult status called Wizards. Recently, I decided to check it out.
|Looks like Bender in a red raincoat.|
Millions of years after a nuclear attack left the world devastated, the entire planet and its population has changed. Very few humans survive and most of them have been mutated, and mythological creatures like elves, fairies and dwarves have risen up and taken over. The queen of the fairies ends up giving birth to twin wizards; Avatar (Bob Holt), who is good and Blackwolf (Steve Gravers), who is evil. Years pass and Blackwolf is no longer happy with ruling the dark place called Scortch and discovers ancient weapons and old war propaganda films from the days before the end times. Using these items, he rallies his armies and seeks to rule all. Now, Avatar must rally his own forces and, alongside his fairy love Elinore (Jesse Welles), the elf spy Weehawk (Richard Romanus) and former agent of evil turned good, Peace (David Proval), strike back against Blackwolf and save the world.
|Take a guess which twin is the evil one.|
Wizards is a bit of a difficult review for me because I like the imagery and construction of it but the story wasn’t something I found myself being able to get into. Bakshi’s unique eye made for some truly unique and amazingly one-of-a-kind animated films back in the 70s. The character and environment design, the trippy use of color and the way he often integrated live-action elements made for an experience that wasn’t like anything else and commanded attention. However, as far as the actual entertainment factor is concerned, I found this feature to be very, very limited and I had a hell of a time getting invested in the story.
|That bridge does not seem structurally sound.|
This is an odd complaint but the thing that kept me from getting into Wizards is that it is too fantasy. I’m a giant geek and I love sci-fi, fantasy, and the likes but sometimes when these genres hit their worlds too hard they lose relatability. Properties like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and the Marvel and DC universes are all over-the-top with their heroes, villains, creatures and worlds but there’s always a grounded feel to them. They feel like they could exist despite all the eccentricities. Sometimes these genres hit too many eccentricities and too many clichés elements that there’s nothing for me as a viewer to latch onto and feel like I’m a part of. Wizards exhibited this as there was just too many fantasy elements and all the grounded parts were elements of war and Nazi imagery—and I’m sure as shit not going to relate to that. The very fantasy element of the movie was done to such a degree that it kept me from fully investing into this fantasy film.
|Also the hero Avatar gave me traumatic flashbacks to when I wasted my time|
seeing the James Cameron movie of the same name.
|Only a man would think all women in the realm of|
fantasy would want to dress this way.
Wizards is a really cool movie to look at and admire the animation and creative forces behind it but it just wasn’t a story that I could get engaged with. The characters never felt to interesting and were pretty flat and bland, there’s the inherent sexism as all the female character are scantily clad and always have erect nipples for some reason (it’s definitely a product of its time but that doesn’t change that it’s kinda gross to see this treatment of female characters when you watch it in 2018), and Avatar’s journey to stop his brother never had that sense of urgency it needed. Visually it’s cool but, beyond that, I just didn’t care for it. Besides, I don’t think I’m the intended audience. This movie looks like it’s for pothead fantasy fans, guys who watch Heavy Metal and dudes who have dragons airbrushed on the side of their vans. That’s not me judging them, just saying I think this movie is a good fit for them.