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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 ... 6 7 [8] 9
Re: Wizards
Reply #57. Posted on December 24, 2008, 01:44:57 AM by John Dashwood
Uh no no no.... I'd sure like to know what SS archives these suppose documents come from. I recall an American movie with such a scene. But no other source. (no hollywood movie is a good source of information) Well correction. No reliable source. I can say with a straight face that Europe would be different than it is today. I know one thing is for sure. Europe wouldn't be falling to the walls of Mecca like it is if Germany won WWII. Is the rampant crime, drug abuse and social decay truly better than what the Germans and Italians had in mind? It's all a matter of perspective. Judging from the way elections have been going in Europe lately. Opinions on History are changing on who were the good guys and bad guys. Seeing as how the Right Wing Parties of Germany and Italy to name just a few have been on a winning streak. If the Germans thought the Poles were subhuman. Himmler would not have married one. They would not have made a stink about the Katyn Forest Massacre http://www.katyn.org.au/ . Another event the Allied Governments
thought the American public didn't need to know. That being what our gallant ally was up to.
http://www.katyn.org.au/naziphotos.html
I can also say with a straight face Eastern Europe would not have been turned over the Communist butchers that killed millions more after the war was over. Another thing our Government knew quite well but was silent on. Or how about our Government leaving 30,000 allied troops in the hands of the Communists than run the risk of letting Stalin have leverage? By the way. Every method of eugenics the Germans used came from the United States. Something else lost to the history books. The United States stopped doing it in the 1960s.



Uh, no . . .
Hitler invaded Poland on a made-up pretext that had SS members disguised as Poles attack a German radio station manned by inmates from Dachau concentration camp, who were killed to a man.  This is not US propaganda, but very carefully documented records from the SS's own archives.  There is plenty of truth in the reparations after WW1 driving the initial joy with which Germany embraced Hitler, but the whole concept of Liebensraum did, in fact, presuppose a sub-human Serbian and Ukranian popluace that was to be either extirpated or expatriated -- Himmler wasn't fussy about which.  I've read quite a bit of SS history, and it is quite true that there were Russians, Poles, French -- thousands of French! -- Danes, Belgians, etc., who joined up with the Waffen SS to ostensibly fight Bolshevism, but can we say with a straight face that their lives would have been better off had they won?
Re: Wizards
Reply #58. Posted on December 24, 2008, 03:38:50 AM by Psycho Circus
^ It's a only a movie dude, no need for a history lesson  Smile
Re: Wizards
Reply #59. Posted on December 24, 2008, 11:43:29 AM by WingedSerpent
There's a movie spoiler site called www.moviepooper.com that gives a different view of the characters.

Here's what it says

The gooood, nature-protecting, pixie-loving wizard Avatar (voice of Bob Holt) finally catches up with his eeeevil, technology-loving, machine-obsessed brother Blackwolf (voice of Steve Gravers), and shoots him dead with a pistol.
 
(Aside: a decade after seeing "Wizards," your editor still can't tell if this irony was the result of intent or ignorance on the part of director Ralph Bakshi. If it was intentional, then this is a brilliant bit of cinema that uses the tools of physical appearance and point-of-view characterization to trick us, the audience, into empathy with the cruel yet beautiful oppressors. He presents an Eloi-vs-Morlocks style conflict in which the "Eloi" are the actual cause of the "Morlocks'" suffering. If Mr. Bakshi wasn't fully aware of the statement he was making, then this is a rather pathetic movie, in which a particularly American style of imperialism is so prevalent and subtle that an example can be invisible to even its creator. Think about it, won't you?)



Just to make sure I'm giving the site its credit it diserves here's the link to to it
http://www.moviepooper.com/

Then just search the categories by alphabetical order.

On a side note, I love movie spoilers sites for films I've already seen.  Often they catch something I missed first time round.
Re: Wizards
Reply #60. Posted on December 24, 2008, 01:01:09 PM by Flangepart
There's a movie spoiler site called www.moviepooper.com that gives a different view of the characters.

Here's what it says

The gooood, nature-protecting, pixie-loving wizard Avatar (voice of Bob Holt) finally catches up with his eeeevil, technology-loving, machine-obsessed brother Blackwolf (voice of Steve Gravers), and shoots him dead with a pistol.
 
(Aside: a decade after seeing "Wizards," your editor still can't tell if this irony was the result of intent or ignorance on the part of director Ralph Bakshi. If it was intentional, then this is a brilliant bit of cinema that uses the tools of physical appearance and point-of-view characterization to trick us, the audience, into empathy with the cruel yet beautiful oppressors. He presents an Eloi-vs-Morlocks style conflict in which the "Eloi" are the actual cause of the "Morlocks'" suffering. If Mr. Bakshi wasn't fully aware of the statement he was making, then this is a rather pathetic movie, in which a particularly American style of imperialism is so prevalent and subtle that an example can be invisible to even its creator. Think about it, won't you?)


My...what an impressivelly big load of pretentious dingo's kidneys he has. Is there a quote from Bakshi on this point? Just wondering...
Re: Wizards
Reply #61. Posted on December 28, 2008, 03:52:11 PM by BoyScoutKevin
One of the things I look forward to in a film, is hearing a great insult or putdown, and there is a great one in this film.

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."

It plays better than it reads, but ROTFL!

As for Fritz being accidentally shot, I looked at that scene again, and I can't help but think it was not so much accidental, but deliberate.

Anyway, as I said previously, a movie that is much underrated.
Re: Wizards
Reply #62. Posted on January 26, 2009, 05:15:06 AM by Luriko-Ysabeth
I really wanted to like this movie, and certainly several scenes (such as the justly mentioned young elf's first experience of the horrors of war, or the final battle, rotoscoping and all) were both impressive and emotionally stirring, and Weehawk was great...

...but overall, I didn't like it very much.

I think some of it is the humor. The concept of an evil wizard using Nazi propaganda films to inspire an army largely made up of the nonhuman and otherwise non-German-speakers has enough inherent crack (even while also being an anti-war movie) that very little should need to be added in order for the movie to be funny as well as dramatic and action-filled; instead, much of the comedy feels forced, and many scenes that were initially funny just play out too long. Granted, humor is a personal thing, but unfunny-to-you humor is never less than painful to sit through. And while I don't mind that the character designs shifted in response to the mood of the scene, many of the characters had main designs that were far too goofy for the moods of the scenes they were in, which kept breaking my immersion into the movie.

Also, I really didn't like Elinore. It should be refreshing to have a romantic heroine who's as ugly as she is, but given that she had just as many in-the-script episodes of poorly supported bad judgment as prettier token females, I reserve the right to dislike her as much as them. (Honestly, I thought Blackwolf's queen was the most interesting AND best-looking female in the show, and she kind of got forgotten as soon as her turn as romantic dea ex machina was done.)

And, while Susan Tyrell has a lovely and expressive narrative voice, and the line drawings were certainly pretty, far too much of the beginning of the movie was told rather than shown.

I mean, I'm not someone who requires high quality out of every movie I watch. (I love both The Lion in Winter and Red Sonja, for what it's worth. And the adventures of moose and squirrel, so it's not as if I need my animation to look good.) But I do like to be entertained, and for what it's worth, large chunks of Wizards didn't entertain me.
Re: Wizards
Reply #63. Posted on August 25, 2009, 04:16:35 AM by kaz drofla
I love Wizards. It, like most movies has it's strengths and it's weaknesses. But for people who think RB is lazy, well they don't understand the real world. The reason he rotoscoped so much (aside from artistic montage) is simple: it's called "no budget". Yes, that's right. If he had his way he'd have 20 animators working day and night like Disney, but he don't. Also, I find it incredibly short sighted to say the film lacks originality. If you saw the film in 1977 you knew there was NOTHING like it out there. Art exists in a context and needs to be viewed accordingly, just like Da Vinci or Picasso. And as for the war, this film is much more a commentary on Viet Nam than it is about WWII. Yes, I love Vaughn Bode, but I don't consider the film a ripoff. It's inspired by him. There are so many films that are made today that suck so much more in terms of their predictability and their paper thin acting that I can't believe the same guy who dissed Wizards could like Transformers. I mean really? If special effects are your thing, then consider how revolutionary Wizards was in it's day. And BTW, the other three lights are just assassins. They're not important.
Re: Wizards
Reply #64. Posted on July 13, 2010, 10:00:24 PM by BoxCar
Elinore is hot  hot
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