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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 ... 9
Wizards
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by crazed mage
Who cares what the movie looked like. I watched it, i don't
Think about how it was made was the point at all. The story was more important to me. I learned that if we forget we are doomed to repeat. I learned that true evil comes from a idea not the person who created it. If we don't watch what we are doing in life we destroy ourselves. Perhaps even it's not the Idea of peace but keeping peace. If what we do does not serve us we should not let us master us. Why not let them make another i would watch it. Look at half the crap they put on the video shelves. Adults would rent part 2 (if they make it) just because it's a adult cartoon movie. As for a bad movie well, they could have done better with the stock footage, but you have to admit it's diffrent and thats what makes it fun. I would rent wizards again it's a great drinking movie.
Wizards
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Vishnu
This is one of my all time favorite animated movies! Bakshi's work, the character personalities, and the depth and meaning of the story make it a "must have" for your personal video library. The wit, humor, and wisdom folded in the story still make my arm-hairs stand on end. Great story, great characters, and great animation!!
Wizards
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Roni
I have loved Wizards since it hit the theatre. I think that many people see this movie as a bad movie because of some of the heavy-handedness in the plot, animation and dialog.  Nobody seems to disagree that the plot (The mutants at the brothel) and dialog ("Fritz! They've killed Fritz!")are a less-than-subtle anti-war diatribe.  But the animation -- or to listen to others, the lack of animation -- works at the same level because it too is a heavy-handed juxtaposition of "actual" filmed events in an animated format and incorporated directly into the story.

But while we are all overwhelmed by the heavy-handed techniques used by Herr Bashki, we dismiss some of the subtleties as just idle attempts at humor.  There is indeed a very strong anti-war message, but still Bashki doesn't seem to say that the fairies' struggle against the mutants is wrong, but only unfortunate and unavoidable.  And  good's use of evil's means and back-stabbing methods is vindicated by the very humor that seems to trivialize the message at the climax of the movie.

This movie is a gem.  I have enjoyed this movie since it hit the theatres and I still enjoy it today.
Wizards
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Loszhor
The first time I saw this movie was on the Sci-Fi channel and it was from the part where Peace was spying or something on that blackhaired elf while he was at some shrine or altar in the woods and he he turned all of a sudden and he and Peace went over the cliff.I still need to see it from the begining.It's quality of animation reminds me abit of how Warner Bros. did some of their cartoons around that time.I liked this movie because it doesn't sugarcoat the violence that typically comes with war and how you can tell it got some inspiration from battles in both world wars(ie when Blackwolf first used that projector with the propoganda on the entrenchment,some dialouge the elves used kinda explains it.).
Wizards
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Reverend.Judge
First time I saw the movie was when I was in the fifth grade.Dad rented it.Said he saw it when it came ot in the theaters.This movie is pure genius.Any body know about the sequel?I read years ago in some magazine that there was a "highly praised sequel".Does it exist or what?I have been searching for years!!!Bakshi is truly the dark Walt disny!!!
Wizards
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Matt Porter
Yes, my two cents.

Wizards is a thought-provoking movie, especially the second time around.  And doubly especially if you have the RPG made from the movie so you can read some more of the background. :)
Wizards
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Flux Capacitor
 This movie is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Because I saw it when I was six years old. It scared the p**s out of me and made me cry and have nightmares for a week. But it was the FIRST thing of it's kind. And I bet that any cartoon put out now that isn't 'kosher', can be attributed to Bashki's influence.

 I don't know why it's on this site, though. Is there a Goodmovies.org?
Wizards
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Jill Berlin
   If you ask me, I have to declare "Wizards" as hands down the worst animated movie of all time and Ralph Bakshi the bad boy of the animation world.  Everyone should know that Bakshi's cartoons are not only not for children, but also not for adults with a sense of decency.  I like animated movies that play for adults as well as children, but who was "Wizards" really made for?
   When there is a cartoon involving nuclear war, Nazis, fairies in see-through outfits selling their bodies, a bloodied horse, a monster ingesting a hanged human,  barbaric warfare, and then the scene where cute li'l Avatar shoot his villainous Nazi brother Blackwolf near the end of the film, I really wonder how any parent can allow their young ones to see such trash.  Then there is Bakshi's dizzying combination of animated styles - one cartoonish animation, then his annoying rotoscoping of war footage, and then the live action Nazi propaganda newsreels all in the battle scenes of the film.  
   Oh, yes, I have to add that just because Avatar looks and actslike he should be in a Disney movie, that doesn't mean that Avatar is a children's cartoon character.  He is mixed with Elinore, a crudely drawn version of Tinkerbell, and other fairies and elves also drawn so suggestively.
   All in all, go ahead, you can disagree with me, but I think "Wizards" is the pits.  If you want to see better animated features about wizards, rent "The Hobbit," "The Return of the King," and "The Sword in the Stone."  For more lighthearted animated fantasy fare for both kids and adults, see the recent "Shrek," where the crude humor is more underlying there than in "Wizards."    
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