Wizards
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Wizards 1977

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, a wizard and his faire folk comrades fight an evil wizard who's using technology in his bid for conquest...

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Imdb rating: 6.5

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cool, bizarre little animated film. some of the animation may seem dated now, but for the time when it was made it was cutting edge. ralph bakshi used some awesome techniques that gave really cool effects. like painting over film of actual people, so they look animated. and his integration of real footage into backgrounds and things is great. the most chilling thing is his use of nazi propoganda in the story. it's coming out on dvd in the next month or so, i'd highly recommend it for fans of animation. it's very trippy.
I saw this movie about four years ago on Sci-Fi channel. I had read about it in a huge animation book I received on my ninth birthday. I was amazed to see it, I was always impressed by Ralph Bakshi. I could barely remember this film though, so I was thrilled to know it was on DVD. (I had the luck to see Fritz the Cat on Bravo network last summer. Bakshi was a bad ass)
I loved Ralph Bakshifor making other animated films that were more adult and real (Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic for one). But I hate that goddamn rotoscopping, Jesus Christ, I dunno what he sees in it. But i can look aside all that, but live action does not mix well at all with the film. The film has the Bakshi look, soft characters against rough backgrounds. Dunno why, but I like his animation style, and the looks of the wizard Avatar, short, big feet, bulb nose, and cartoon gloves. Love that. But all in all, the film would get a C+ on a report card. It's a landmark in animation.
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This is a good fantasy story. Mixing elements of Tolkien and mythology to tell a good tale of good versus evil. I liked the animation. It bounced between actual animated cartoon scenes and scenes sampled from live action movies and animated over. This is a standard form of annimation for Ralph Bakshi. It makes for an interesting effect during the battle scenes. Some people dislike it and complain about Bakshi's animation style, I'm not one of them.

The voice work is done nicely. Avatar and Blackwolf are particularly well done. The soundtrack is really good. I enjoyed it and remembered the tunes for years after I'd seen it as a kid. The ending is classic
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Whether you like it or not, the family film crowd is the dominating genre of animation. After witnessing Ralph Bakshi's adult animation such as Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic, one would never think that he would conform his ways and make an animated family feature. However, Bakshi prooves that you don't have to compromise in style or storytelling to appeal to a younger audience.

Wizards is the story of a post-apocalyptic world where magic has once again returned to Earth. Fairies, elves and wizards now populate the Earth as well as hideous mutants deformed from atomic war. Two brothers named Avatar and Blackwolf now rule different parts of the Earth. Avatar rules the magical and peacful land of Montagar. Blackwolf rules over the cold and dirty province of Scortch. While Avatar spends his days getting old and drunk, Blackwolf is digging up old technology to strengthen his army. Inspired by Nazi and war propaganda, his armies begins to march forward against Montagar. So, Avatar sets out with Elinore, a future queen and fairy in training, Weehawk, a couragous elf warrior, and Peace, an enemy android converted by Avatar, on an adventure to destroy the land of Scortch.

Much like Lord of the Rings, Bakshi employs rotoscoping once again, but this time he uses it soley for the large battle sequences. There is also some live-action footage of the Nazis that Blackwolf plays in the sky during battle. Surprisingly, the contrasting styles of the rotoscoping actually works in the battle sequences as they intersect perfectly with the traditional animation. The world of Wizards is far from being you're average fantasy. Montagar looks like a typical peacful village while Scortch looks like something out of MC Escher. The music is also very whimsical with a beautiful synthesized score by Andrew Belling. Aside from the world being populated with elves, fairies, wizards, goblins and ogres, there are also android assassins, religious old coots and bumbling pig-like soldiers. The soldiers in particular were hilarious to watch (one of which being voiced by Bakshi himself). The most memorable scene being when one of them makes a speech of revenge over the death of his comrade, Fritz. Fritz gets up and states he is okay and his buddy is angry that he won't be able to become an avenging hero, only to accidentally shoot Fritz and go off on his speech again.

Even in a family film, Bakshi is still able to interpret how he views certain issues. The story itself is a battle between magic and technology. There is also a lot of interpretation of World War 2 with the rotoscoped stock footage and various visual elements. For instance, there is a scene in Blackwolf's chamber where an evil pet eats a hanging pig with a Jewish star on the pig's backside. Not to mention that Blackwolf tries to imitate the acts of Hitler. All the characters in the film work. Avatar is definitely a likable character. His appearence suggests he is a wise old man, but he is really a drunk old man who slurs his speech, has little motivation and is a pretty laid back kind of guy. Elinore and Weehawk both seem like token characters of a fantasy film, but they work well in their own respects. The one character we really don't get into is Peace. He is a pretty cool looking character, but we really don't get to see him do or say much of anything. I guess he is the eye-candy of the film since he is on the cover.

Given it's PG rating, Wizards is a very truthful film. There is some violence, some blood and even Elinore's nipples poke through her attire. It's really up to the parents to decide if this is a suitable film suitable for their children, but I like the fact that Wizards is not a film that sugarcoats it's story for a PG audiance. The film also has a lot to say about getting older, falling in love, the dangers of technology and the results of war. For what it's worth, Wizards is an entertaining and whimsical fantasy.

WIZARDS
(RALPH BAKSHI, 1977)
PG
1 HOUR 21 MINUTES

My Grade: PERFECT A+




(8 out of 10)
I'm a big fan of Ralph Bakshi, the man who stood forth and snatched animation from the clutches of kiddom. You may know him best for creating the first X-rated cartoon film "Fritz the Cat", or maybe even the animated "Lord of the Rings", but most likey "Cool World."

One of Bakshi's gems is a sci-fi fantasy called "Wizards," a story about two wizard brothers, who battle each other in the far distant future.

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, the world now consists mostly of elves, fairies, and mutants. The evil wizard Blackwolf seeks to control the world with his army of mutants by digging up Nazi propoganda and simulating the works of Adolf Hitler. He sends out a band of Bounty Hunters, lead by the assassin robot Necron 99, to wipe all the wizards or users of technology of any kind, people that could stand in his way of world domination.

Meanwhile, the good wizard Avatar is a down-to-earth, Peter Falk-like guy who is madly in love with the young fairy princess, Elinore. After Necron 99 tries to assassinate Avatar (obviously failing), Avatar knows that he most confront his evil brother as he did many years ago, this time to the death. Avatar, along with Elinore, a noble elf named Weehawk, and a reprogrammed Necron 99 travel to put an end to this war his brother created.

"Wizards" is a very avant-garde film. It's smart, strange, funny, violent and quite remarkable. Definitely worth a look..it's unlike any fantasy you've ever witnessed...unless of course you're familair with Bakshi's avante-garde works. Look for Mark Hamill's voice, he portrays a fairy named Sean (very brief, he gets shot right away).