|Copyright 1977 Bakshi Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 13 December 2008 (updated)
- 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?
|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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||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."
||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."
||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."
||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."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The elves killed Fritz! They've killed Fritz! Hahahaha!
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
Reply #25. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Jimmy
It's a trippy kind of movie, after all it was made in the 70s. Sometimes it makes me laugh and sometimes it makes me cry. My favorite character would have to be Necron 99. I like when he blows away the mayor dude right in the middle of his b***hing to avatar, funny as hell. All of you complaining about this movie need to smoke more bud. Damn!!! these comments have been going on for 5 years!
Reply #26. Posted on January 22, 2004, 03:14:00 AM by VenusDeMpls
I have hated this movie since I first saw it in 1980. The allegories are lazy, the animation only so-so and the ham handedness of the storytelling is beyond the pale. Fritz the Cat is a masterpiece by comparison.
Reply #27. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Sam
Holy s**t. This was the scariest movie I've ever seen. I watched it one night after smoking some pot with a friend... I was hiding my head for part of it because i didn't understand what was going on, the nazis came out of nowhere and I couldn't figure any of it out, I know thats all because of the pot but still... a scarring event. Overall I dont know what I'd rate the movie because I cant really remember what it was all about. The roto-scoping was terrifying.
Reply #28. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by pHILLIP bONI
I've read a lot of comments about this movie and watched it more than once I like the animation on a whole but it was the intro that really sold me the womans voice the passion in her let me know that RALPH had feelings for the movie and not for his wallet.
Reply #29. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by BoyScoutKevin
marco beat me to the release date on dvd, but, let me continue . . .
Avatar and Blackwolf. If they are twins, they must be fraternal and not identical. And watch their climatic confrontation. After "They Killed Fritz," my favorite scene in the film. It always leaves me ROTFL!
"They Killed Fritz!" Accidental or deliberate? I wonder if it was not deliberate, as Fritz was stepping on Max's lines.
Anyway . . . An underrated film from an underrated filmmaker.
Reply #30. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by BoyScoutKevin
Some more information on the release of the dvd. Unlike the dvd for "The Lord of the Rings," which was a barebones dvd, this dvd comes with some added features. There are production stills, trailers, a tv spot, and a commentary track by Bakshi. But, what may be the main reason to buy this dvd is the half hour interview with Bakshi. The last one which he swears he'll ever do. And remember "They killed Fritz."
Reply #31. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Rick
This movie totally rocked. It is one of the best crafted movies from the 70's and it certainly is one of the great animated films ever. It's message is strong -- anti-war, and it tells it in a style that is not preachy.
Reply #32. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by WitchKing
My mom would let me watch as a very young kid. Still a favorite of mine to this day. I think "Wizards", "Lord of the Rings", and "Fire and Ice" are all underrated animated fantasies. I even think the roto-scoping adds a great visual nightmarish quality to the proceedings. Susan Tyrell's narration is absolutely priceless (if anyone should narrate the apocalypse, it should be her). I love Peace and WeeHawk, especially when he goes rabid and just dives on top of his enemies swinging madly. You have to remember that Bakshi was never really given enough money to fund these projects. Often-- as is the case with "Wizards"-- he had to sink his own cash to get the movies made. I personally despise the new 3-D animation (the Japanese are right-- the art has lost all its painterly qualities) and find stuff like "Shrek" and "Finding Nemo" completely unmoving.
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