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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] 4 5 ... 9
Wizards
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Necron99
This movie and Captain planet alerted me to the harsh realitys of life early on, so i was prepared and smarter towards the ideals later on in life. At the time i obviously with my immuture ideas i took the information wrongly, but now i remember i saw nukem blasting radiation out of his hands to kill the planeters was fun and i always hoped that he would hit them, i also hoped he would disory the o-zone this time. But later on i remember this and i can tell that it has affected me into becoming
anti-war and pro-enviromental. Not only that i didn't have to go though the shock that many little kids have to go through when they realise that everyone else dosent live like the brady bunch and people kill each other all the time. I already knew this at a young age. Wizards did affect my future devolpment,  for the good not the bad! it helped me get rid of childish ideas early and muture and devolp early!

though i dont care about the dolfins dieing in pain or anything, im not a tree hugger!
Wizards
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by
I'll take it back.  Call me a traitor, but it is not the worst animated film of all time.  The worst animated film of all time is Bakshi's subsequent feature, his version of "Lord of the Rings.  Maybe I was in a bad mood at the time.  As I think about it now, you can love or hate "Wizards."  I am not a movie prude of any means, like some of my relatives or friends.  "Wizards," next to "LOTR," has edge and bite.  Yes, there is that rotoscoping gimmick of Bakshi, but it is done much more hilariously than "LOTR."  The 1978 verision of LOTR was dismal, depressing, and humorless.  Oh, yes, I do admit to liking some bad taste.  But I think the bad taste is "Wizards" is more intentionally funny, and was definitely played for laughs, as many cult hits of the 1970's did.  Bakshi may be the bad boy of animation, but here in "Wizards," he is like Mel Brooks, the guy who combines bad and good taste, and that's a compliment.  Is Bakshi really the worst animator of all time?  Maybe after "Wizards" and scored big with "Fritz the Cat" and "Heavy Traffic."  "Wizards" is worth a laugh, but keep this one far from the little ones.    
Wizards
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Peter
I remember being 8 years old and living in germany, I would always go to the video store and look at the front cover of the vhs, that's what intriqued me, except the covers that I have seen since, whilst scouring the internet, seem different from the one I saw in the shop. There was a large trail of those cow like creatures with riders atop carrying heads, travelling into the distance.

After pestering my mother for what seems like an eternity she rented it for me and this film has stuck in my mind for ages, I don't remember much of the plot content. I only remember that it was the first "cartoon" that I saw that contained violence and adult themes, I was especially moved in the opening scenes when the young dwarf is found cowering after the attack with dismembered limbs around him. The look of terror on his face was something I had never experienced with growing up with Thundercats.

Anyways, it has been years since I watched it, I am now 20 and I have been looking for this film for ages, not knowing the title or the director, only remembering the vague part about the brothers, the still art and the battles. Well now I know that this film is called "Wizards" and I will be sure to track it down and relive a bit of childhood nostalgia.

I think this film turned me into an Anime Manga freak. Good on ya Ralph.
Wizards
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by selish70
Ha!  Some funny memories from this film...

I was 6 or 7 and my parents took me with them to see some murder mystery/comedy that my dad wanted to see.  That flick ended up be more violent than they thought - and therefore inappropriate for me - so what did we do?  Well, it was a four-in-one cineplex and Wizards was right next door, so let's take the kid to see the cartoon!

Bad Idea.  I think we lasted like ten minutes before splitting.

I remembered that day, however, and when I happened to see Wizards in a video store 10 years later, I took it home.  I agree with my parents call.  This isn't for 7 year olds.  

It was entertaining enough, strange, dark, acid-influenced, and even amusing in parts, but don't try to tell me this is some work of genius.  There's no subtlety to any of the messages here.  WAR BAD.  NAZIS BAD.  EVIL BAD.  And, of course, the typical swipes at capitalism, technology, etc.  It's pretty impossible for any of this stuff to be over anyone's head.  The animation is servicable more effective for it's style than any technical acheivement.  Rotoscoping is a distinct look, but not in a good way in my opinion.

All that being said, I'll probably watch it again at some point in my life when I have more time on my hands.
Wizards
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by eeyore
Its been a while since I saw this film, but I'll never forget the seneseles, pathetic laughs I shared with a friend the night we rented it. It is a great movie if you don't try to interpret it. It was just funny to see all that insanity in cartoon form. No, this is definately not for children, but it is good for sometime when you absolutely have nothing better to do. Who cares about what some cartoon-draw-guy thinks about war. Just thank God men with true stones are out there defending us today!
Wizards
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Who wants to know?
I first saw Wizards when I was about five years old, and even though I'm eighteen now, it's still one of my favorites. I agree with some of the above that the movie could have been a little better, but I didn't see much room for improvement. This move combines the best of the world we all love, violence, sex, bad language, and comedy. not to mention the fight scenes (specifically the final battle between the armies) kicked ass! I don't understand how anyone can think this is bad but everyone's entitled to their own opinions. I'm just wondering where people get off with saying that the movie had no plot. It was pretty obvious to me, stop the bad guy from taking over the world.  
Wizards
Reply #23. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Nick P.
What makes a quality movie? Not one that has great cinamatic quality, nor awesome production value. It's the story. Futhermore, the director can use any means, visual or implied (rotoscoped, pooly done Zulu ripoffs) to get the story across. Successful directors always relate a great story well (The Matrix). Unsuccessful directors relate any story (great or not) poorly (The Matrix Reloaded).

So, I am gauging that by the volume of responses to this movie, that it is a great story in a mediocre vehicle. The movie is not great because it particularily stylish (it is, all the good characters smack of Rankin/Bass-esqness. That's a real term.), or because it is well animated (it is not, the only shining bits are some of the pencil sketches and a few of the backgrounds), but because you guys are still talking about a story told in 1977, and that makes a great movie. One that people remember. So, I would suggest that you go pop some popcorn, grab a friend, and give this movie a whirl. You might say "What they hell???" about 20 times, but when you are done you will have probably liked the characters, enjoyed the story, and best of all you might just turn to your pal and TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU JUST SAW! And not just talk about how cool any of the effects were.

That makes a good movie. When my wife and I walked out of Reloaded, we talked about what we were going to have for dinner. That makes a bad movie.

If you watch this movie I can just about guarantee that you will love it or hate it. But you won't forget about it.
Wizards
Reply #24. Posted on November 11, 2003, 11:23:43 PM by Dave
I First saw this film when i was 7 years old and finaly realized what it really going on in it when i re watched it at 16. This movie is one of my all time favorites,One part always cracks me up when necron99 disturbs the elf guy when he saying bye 2 his dead horse how he lets out a f**king huge roar i almost s**t myself when i hear it lol.
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