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WIZARDS - 4 Slimes
Rated PG
Copyright 1977 Bakshi Productions
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 13 December 2008 (updated)

The Characters:  

  • Avatar - The good old wizard. He is wise, powerful, and...not very tall. He looks like a pair of hairy feet wearing a magician's cap.
  • Elinore - A fairy princess. I cannot imagine that she can actually fly, because she is shaped like Jayne Mansfield (with wings). Probably a lot of fun on a waterbed, but not exactly aerodynamic.
  • Weehawk - You do not want this crazy elven warrior mad at you. He turns into a pair of tonsils swinging a sword. He turns into a very loud pair of tonsils, swinging a very sharp sword in a very lively manner.
  • Necron 99 - Robot assassin, and a minion of evil until Avatar zaps him. Then he becomes a loopy flower child named "Peace" (though "Piece" might have been just as appropriate).
  • Sean - He is the king of the mountain faeries. He wears a button on his belly. He has big ears and blonde hair. He looks (and sounds) just like Mark Hamill.
  • Blackwolf - The evil wizard. He is so thin that his bones show. Maybe if he had taken the time to eat something now and then, he wouldn't be so wicked. What that boy needs is some good Southern cooking. Fix him up with a basket of fried chicken and a gallon of sweet tea. I never seen nobody stay mad after that, especially not if they have a little peach cobbler afterwards. I say, somebody feed that boy and stop the war!
  • Larry - This is why you should never give steroids to a co-dependent iguana.
  • Fritz - Dead! For some reason, Fritz's death is what I always think about when I think of "Wizards." Poor Fritz. The whole affair of Max screaming that the elves had killed his friend, going berserk, and then accidentally shooting Fritz (who was only unconscious) is hilariously funny to me.
  • Blackwolf's Army - Reptilian mutants, Nazi ghosts, and brooding demons. What did you expect the damned legions of the black wizard would look like?

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The story begins when mankind finally commits to nuclear war. There is nothing new about that; quite a few movies begin with the end of the world. What is different about this film is that after the dust settles and the remaining mutant humans slink off into the radioactive swamps, the original sons and daughters of the Earth emerge from their seclusion. The elves, fairies, and dwarves all peek out and ask, "Are they finally gone?"

Yes, we are all gone. You can have your party now (and they do).

Avatar and Blackwolf are powerful wizards born to the queen of Montagar (Montagar is the center of all things elven, vice Silvanesti as some might have thought). The fraternal twins are polar opposites. As much as Avatar is a loveable old scamp, Blackwolf is a ruthless and plotting despot. That is why Avatar makes his home in Montagar, enjoying his scotch and ogling all the buxom fairy princesses. Blackwolf is consigned to a tormented existence amongst the mutants that inhabit the blasted lands; his throne sits in the corruption-filled fortress city of Scortch 1.

Living with sub-humans that are constantly suffering from cancer or diarrhea (or both) is hardly where Blackwolf wants to spend his golden years. However, every time Blackwolf's army tries to annex an area that receives less than 100 millirems/hour of radiation, they run into a bunch of sword-wielding elves. The pointy-eared sylvan folk do not take too well to being invaded. When the mutants boil out of Scortch 1, they get their pus-dribbling behinds kicked. Even excavating ancient military sites, building tanks and bombers, and summoning demons from Hell does not turn the tide. The mutants are simply no match for the elves.

What worries Avatar about the situation is that Blackwolf might finally discover an artifact that tips the balance of power. His concern is well-founded, because Blackwolf rediscovers Adolf Hitler. What the mutants lack is a passion for war. An ancient 35mm projector and a library of Nazi propaganda films quickly solves that problem; Blackwolf magically projects Nazi images on the clouds over the battlefields. Seeing the Germans chanting, marching, and saluting rallies the mutants, while it terrifies the elves. Blackwolf's legions become an unstoppable force with a funky soundtrack. If the elves print newspapers, then the headlines probably read "Disco demons torch town!"

Huh, a society living under almost unbearable conditions that believes it deserves better, is capable of better, and is willing to do anything to achieve better, but which needs a leader - a catalyst - to realize that dream. All it needs is that leader, and the world will change. Give them a great statesman, and a nation might be born. Give them a murderous dictator, and there will only be darkness and war.

There is a parable, and a parallel, here; I just know it...

Assassinations compound the menace faced by the good peoples of Earth; Blackwolf's deadly operatives cut the heart out of the elf and fairy society. Weehawk does his best to warn the president of Montagar, but Necron 99 gets there first. Avatar blasts the robot assassin with a bolt of magic, but not until after Necron 99 has turned the president into the world's first autocratic sieve. Elinore then tries to scratch the inert assassin to death.

What is it with women and scratching? You gals see a man spray your father with submachine gun slugs, and the best you can come up with is to use your fingernails on him? It is a horribly inefficient way to kill somebody.

Saving the world from Blackwolf's disco troops falls on the shoulders of Avatar, Elinore, and Weehawk. Peace is along for the ride as well, but the reformed assassin is so harebrained that putting his shoes on the right feet is probably a lot of effort. Why does Avatar insist on taking the dazed robot along? Well, Peace knows the way to Scortch 1. Without Peace, finding Blackwolf's castle might take years of searching, riding back and forth across the land on those funny-looking horse things. Wow, those are some bizarre animals. Imagine an ostrich crossed with a purple cow (as if there won't be purple cows after a nuclear war), and you have an idea of what they look like.

Anyhow...

The quest to stop Blackwolf and save the world leads the party through the domain of the mountain faeries, which turns into a debacle when some assassins attack and Elinore animates a hedgehog statue that runs amok. After surviving that, Avatar and his friends are captured by Abdul. The bearded old warrior is going to attack Scortch 1 with the last of the free elves. It goes without saying that the elven general scoffs at Avatar's plan to stop Blackwolf. The ridicule does not stop the old wizard, but Elinore suddenly switching sides, killing Peace, and fleeing in a Nazi tank does. Bereft of his fairy princess's plentiful er...charms, Avatar loses focus. He seems to become senile and befuddled.

Weehawk leads Avatar to Blackwolf's castle as the elven army clashes with the evil wizard's legions. The fate of the world is not going to be decided by the blood of a hundred thousand heroes, but by two men - Avatar and Blackwolf. One of them wants to be another Hitler, while the other just wants peace, a bottle of good scotch, and a comfortable chair in a warm house (to relax in as he drinks the scotch and enjoys the peace).

The quality of the artwork in "Wizards" varies from great to not-so-great (even after ten shots of whiskey). The animators had a problem with some of the characters when they were not facing directly at the screen. It is quite noticeable with Elinore. When she is posed like a pinup, she looks splendid. When the action shows her from the side she looks like an imitation Colorforms character. Avatar never seems to suffer from rendition degradation, but how hard is it to draw a magician's cap with a beard and feet? The movie also makes use of grayscale still images, and all of those are excellent. Something else that worked in the movie's favor, and this is a Bakshi trademark, is rotoscoping. Masses of Blackwolf's troops are often represented by images traced over regular film. Combined with the unreal backgrounds of Scortch 1, the rotoscoped demons (Zulu warriors with red eyes, German troops with horns added) are quite a visual.

The final climactic combat between the elves and mutants is first-rate. Heads are smashed into pulps of pale brain mush, bullets turn elves into hole-filled corpses, and bloodstained knives are brandished by one-eyed demons. It is an orgy of blood, and fairly gory. It is also my favorite (animated) fantasy battle sequence.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Literacy can be fatal.
  • Music also soothes the scary purple rat monster.
  • Women who wear Viking outfits tend to be plump.
  • Unfortunately, the one thing that is likely to survive a nuclear apocalypse is Hitler's home movies collection.
  • The worst thing about religion, besides the spanking and Coca-Cola, is how long it takes.
  • Ticks come in three sizes: tiny, very small, and "Wooly Mammoth."
  • Bigfoot is actually a three-foot-tall cigar-smoking midget.
  • Bruce Lee was half elf.
  • Exposed brain matter is virtually indistinguishable from an undercooked omelet.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - Well, so much for the post-apocalyptic version of "Bambi" having a happy ending.
  • 6 mins - Pixie hookers!
  • 17 mins - He noticed.
  • 33 mins - By the looks of it, you have already had enough scotch.
  • 41 mins - Time for those two faeries to make the switch to low fat pollen.
  • 45 mins - Weehawk is trapped in a cave with the ghost of the 1960s. That is scary.
  • 52 mins - Good idea. Her nipples already stick out enough; if she gets any colder, they might cut a hole in the fabric of reality.
  • 67 mins - Whatever happened to all of the sneaky elves?
  • 72 mins - The true horror of war: super psychedelic Nazi dive bombers.

Quotes: 

  • Max: "Fritz! Get up, for God's sake! Get up! They've killed Fritz! They've killed Fritz! Those lousy, stinking, yellow fairies! Those horrible, atrocity-filled vermin! Those despicable animal warmongers! They've killed Fritz! (shooting) Take that, and that, and that! You green slime! You black, hairy, short bowlegged..."
  • Avatar: "You think Avatar's too old to get married?"
    Elinore: "Weehawk, how many years do wizards live, ten thousand or more?"
    Avatar: "And I've got at least a thousand left. You know what I mean?"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note wizards1.wav Narrator: "For five thousand years Blackwolf studied black arts, increasing his wisdom ten thousand fold. He built a small following of froglike creatures, but needed more troops for his evil plans. He then formed an army whose generals were called up from the black shadows of Hell."
Green Music Note wizards2.wav Weehawk: "Wait a minute, Avatar. Peace is taking us toward the mountain faeries domain. We should go around."
Elinore: "Avatar, why is Peace stopping?"
Peace: "Faeries bad, not good, go around."
Avatar: "Hey, coming from Mr. Nice Guy here, those fairies must be something else. Go on, nut; we'd lose time."
Peace: "Bad faeries."
Green Music Note wizards3.wav Abdul: "It was Avatar who fought alongside my father against the first mutant attack. So now we have our messiah back again. He's going to destroy his brother for us. With what? A woman child, one elf, and a moron robot."
Green Music Note wizards4.wav Blackwolf: "The trouble with you my brother is that you've always been too good."
Avatar: "Well, that may be, but I still think I look more like Ma than you do. You know, lots of character. I'm aging better."
Blackwolf: "Brother, there is no need for me to destroy you. Surrender! Surrender your world!"
Avatar: (Clapping) "You always did need an audience, you sap."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipwizards1.mpg - 7.3m
The elves killed Fritz! They've killed Fritz! Hahahaha!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
Wizards
Reply #1. Posted on July 08, 1999, 09:32:22 PM by kx9x@uiuc.edu
I cannot believe the review of this movie. This guy totally misses the point of the whole film, not to mention the fact that he performed the absolutely UNCONSCIONABLE act of giving away the ending in his review. SHAME ON YOU!

"Wizards" is a product of the 70's. It's groovy, it's anti-war, and it is a work of genius. Comapred to today's computer animation, it will fall flat. However, it is still VERY visually appealling, the story is not all that far-fetched as the reviewer makes it out to be (Hey, we've got archaeologists now, don't we?), and it's simply a hell of a lot of fun. There's a lot going on in this movie; some slapstick, some social commentary, and even sex and violence, all packaged nicely in a science fiction/fantasy wrapper. The movie is absurd because WAR is absurd. It also reminds us that history will repeat itself if we don't remember it; some crazy SOB will come along and dredge up crud from the past. I'm truly sorry this movie went over the reviewer's head. Check it out..it is worth your time.
Wizards
Reply #2. Posted on July 23, 1999, 11:19:09 PM by Nattalie Query????
   Well I'm a young teen-ager from the 1990's but I loved this movie.  And as for mister anonymous, did you just read the box or did you actually watch the movie? The movie I believe is far from gay!!!!!  But there were still a few problems that I found with it.

   If I were to put the end of the movie into food terms, I would call the end not filling.  And I really have a problem with the fact that when Peace dies no one seems to acnowledge his death.  In fact they don't seem to acnowledge him at all after that point. The lack of acnowledgement of death by any of the other characters gives the misguided impressiion that he'll come back later in the movie.  And I really think he should have had someone to mourn over his death since he was really good at heart. Also I would like to know more about the other three lights the "pet" was talking about in the begining?

   But besides any of that I am in complete agreement with the first two people who loved this movie. I seems to be totally over this web pages critics head. This movie is greatly worthwile, and the critic completly misses the point, plot, and doesn't say squat about the story line
Wizards
Reply #3. Posted on July 24, 1999, 12:09:36 AM by Andrew
Okay, I've officially gotten tired of half-wits saying the movie went over my head.  First off - anything which throws multiple scenes of inept Nazi-powered demons slaying settlements of good and kind elves is obviously making some war statements.  Let's get down to nitty gritty with that, it's directly addressing the evils of Nazi Germany in World War II - which was quite honestly a country lashing back at the injustices they endured after losing World War I.  (Which they started in the first place, but I'm not commenting on Hitler here.  I'm commenting on the generic working class German, they felt unfairly burdened by the reparations and other limits imposed by France and Britain.)  Now, do you really want to debate World War II with me?  What did strike me about this film was the "feel" of it, the dark and brooding, sometimes helpless theme - and yet there is comedy.  Not entirely black humor either, just cartoon slapstick.  Four slimes means I liked the movie... ...and, "They killed Fritz!" still leaves me chuckling.
Wizards
Reply #4. Posted on September 01, 1999, 05:27:21 AM by J.C.
This movies GREAT!!! I'm a fan of bakshi and this is one of his best in my opinion. Peace and avatar
are my favorites in this movie and the "THEY KILLED FRITZ!!!" part is priceless. To the anonymous person who had asked if there was a part 2, no there isn't but this movie was a "practice" movie that bakshi made before he did a animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkiens "The Lord Of The Rings" which came out a year after Wizards and is wery similar to wizards. Perhaps your brother saw "lord of the rings" and thought it was wizards 2? The company that made lord of the rings doesnt make the tape anymore but alot of blockbusters(at least where i live) have copys for rent in the "animation" section if your interested in checking it out.
Wizards
Reply #5. Posted on September 01, 1999, 01:51:48 PM by Warren H.
This movie was good, and had some very powerful moments in it.  Such as when a fairy women trained as an opera singer is forced to perform as a stripper instead.  The look of shame and humiliation on her face as she prepares to disrobe disturbed me to no end.  The movie does a very good job of making you think about how the common people suffer most in a war.  I'd like to congratulate Ralph Bakshi for making this.
Wizards
Reply #6. Posted on January 25, 2000, 10:43:30 PM by The Jackal
Unfortunatly this movie is not what everyone says it is , the roto - scoping animation is just an excuse for laziness on behalf of R. Bashki. He has made several animated films that all have one underlying theme...BORING!!!! I love all sorts of animated films from disney to Transformers, but his films are lame at best and downright badly animated. Maybe this is why you have never heard of anything made by this man past the seventies ...all the weed wore off and everyone realized his stuff was s**t. Other than that a fine example of a bad movie.
Wizards
Reply #7. Posted on June 16, 2000, 01:06:33 AM by Sam Skjei
I loved this movie, I could'nt figure out the plot (it jumps around alot and seems to skip parts) but all together I liked it.  Except for the 5 minute sections where the armies appeared and bogged down the movie.  I also got the feeling that avatar was a old drunk and his brother (from his one speach) was only trying to help the mutants?  Oh well it still was a great flick.

"They killed Fritz"
Wizards
Reply #8. Posted on September 12, 2000, 01:43:59 PM by WDK_Dave
I think Wizards is probably one of my all-time fav movies.
My only problem with Bakshi, Is how he rips-off other artists for his artwork. Fritz the Cat was in-total taken from Robert Crumb's work and Wizards was taken from Vaughn Bode' (Check out Cheech Wizard & Cobalt 60).
Other than that, I think his work is almost a genre unto itself.

'Nuff said.
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