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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 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 9
Wizards
Reply #33. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by RyRyRy
This movie is great. As a fan of comics and fantasy growing up, I think, it fills your head with entertainment. It's impact today is hardly as great as it was when it was released. Since most of the political undertones were based around events in the 70s. Hell, this film is older than I am, but still makes me chuckle. It was very different for it's time. Wasn't it the first real fantasy D&D-type of animated movie to be released?? I did not see this until I was in college, which I am glad. I dont think children would really get alot out of it. Today the plot would move a little too slow for kids now since everything is sped up more. As for the hard nipples and sexual layout. I think that was a bit much, but if it causes controversy then maybe Ralph hit the nail on the head. I think he was trying to accomplish that in many aspects. None-the-less, it was very diverse and still a large cult classic with many others today. Only thing I would want out of this is maybe a 2nd movie or some better way of wrapping up the story. It didn't fill me up and left me wondering. I still give it 2 thumbs up!
Wizards
Reply #34. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by rick
I saw this movie in the theatre when it first came out. I was fourteen years old and stoned off my ass. We went back and saw it again almost every night until it stopped running. (you could see a movie for a buck fifty back then).  This film left an impression on me that lingers to this day. Not because it was such a great movie I think, but because it was the first of its kind. At least the first thing like it that I had ever seen. I would imagine that the heavy moodiness and dark quality of the film might be lost on a small screen played in your living room with s**tty little TV speakers, bright lights on and phones ringing etc… In the theater with a big screen, big sound system, and some recreational chemicals to help with the immersion process, this was a truly awesome experience. I had completely forgotten about the film until recently when I heard someone say the name Fritz and the whole “They killed Fritz” scene came flooding back along with all the other emotions the film had stirred in me at the time. That sparked me to look for it again. I found a copy on DVD on amazon.com and immediately ordered it. I can’t wait to see it again, this time with my own teenage sons. I hope they love it as much as I did although I sure hope they don’t have the same pre-movie ritual as I did back in the seventies. I wonder if the film will have the same power for me thirty years later. Damn, I hope so. I'll post again after I see it again.
Wizards
Reply #35. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Steffy
I think one of the best things about this movie is the way you either LOVE it, or HATE it.

It's either 'stupid, ripped-off, and crude' or 'beautiful, breathtaking, hilarious.'

And yes, folks, we HAVE established that Fritz is dead.

It has, like any other movie, its pros and cons.  The comedy being a pro, the overdone Nazi stuff a con.  The metaphors and the meanings that hold true a pro, the scientific innacuracy a con.  The occasionally charming animation a pro, the blatant use of improbable cleavage to attract attention a con (for most of us [snerk.])

Like it or hate it,
My bet is the director did exactly what he set out to do with this:  PROVOKE.
Wizards
Reply #36. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Isaac Baranoff
One of the best animated films ever made, from one of the best American filmmakers of all time: Ralph Bakshi, master of animation.

If you like this, I'd also suggest the Bakshi masterpieces "The Lord of the Rings," "Heavy Traffic," and "Fritz the Cat."
Wizards
Reply #37. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by bobby
Wizards is one of my favourite movies thatI have watched many times and never got tired watching it. Avatar and Ellenore are the classic couple of just having fun. Necron99 is my favourite character of this movie. This movie is a classic for anyone that is willing to leave the anime that Japan has to offer and see what animination is before cgi and cell animation.

It is sad to see that it is hard to find rented copies of Wizards is the rental places. It is a movie that I would place in my VHS collection. I managed to get a copy after watching it on the Sci-Fi Channel one late night.

So if you get a chance see this movie, root for Avatar, Ellinore and Weehawk. Laugh with Fritz and the Jewish rabbis and remember that we can laugh at history and learn the lessons also.
Wizards
Reply #38. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by rick
Just a few more comments. After watching the interview with Ralph Bakshi and then wathcing the movie again with the commentary turned on I have an even better appreciation for this movie. One thing I thought was odd is that Bakshi repeatedly calls this his "family film". I don't ever remember thinking of this as a family film. Anyway, I'm finding this film to be addictive. I think it gets better the more you watch it. I've watched it over at least three times since I got the DVD and I'm not ready to put it away yet. I'm definitely glad I picked it up. This is going to be one of those movies that I keep comming back to every couple of years.
Wizards
Reply #39. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by zorro
As i understand it, the film started out as an authorised adaptation of Vaughn Bode's comiics, but Bakshi lost the rights when Bode died, so he made a few changes.(If you know Bode's stuff, you can tell). I've always been fascinated by Bakshi, whose stuff is always way too ambitous for it's own good; i can always see the hints of something truly great just out of reach...(of course, growing up in Canada, those twisted SPIDERMAN and ROCKET ROBIN HOOD cartoons he did are burned into my memory!) On the whole, i think WIZARDS is his masterpiece, and i'm glad there's now a possibility of a sequel (Bakshi says it's been written, and they're waiting to see how the DVD does...)
Wizards
Reply #40. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by mabon
Almost 30 years since the movie came out and almost 7 years of reviews on this site, Love it or Hate it with a track record like that it must be greatest movie of the last 30 years.  First saw when I was about 6 yrs old, and I've seen it many times since.  Still have it on VHS also on DVD.  If you hated the rotoscope watch Ralph's interview on the DVD and check out his official website http://www.ralphbakshi.com/.  Slightly off subject but Fritz the Cat was based on Crumbs comic books he also has writing credits in the movie.

                                     Peace
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