Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jesse Welles, Bob Holt, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Jim Connell
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Military & War, Animation
Set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, this fantasy adventure follows the story of Avatar, the kindly, eccentric sorcerer-ruler of Montagar, a rainbow paradise inhabited by elves and fairies. Avatar?s evil brother, Blackwolf, do... more »
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Jason C. (JJC) from NEWARK, NJ
Reviewed on 4/29/2008...
I'm a big fan of Ralph Bakshi, the man who stood forth and snatched animation from the clutches of kiddom. You may know him best for creating the first X-rated cartoon film "Fritz the Cat," or maybe even the animated "Lord of the Rings," but most likely from his failure, "Cool World." One of Bakshi's gems is a sci-fi fantasy called "Wizards," a story about two wizard brothers, who battle each other in the far distant future.
On a post-apocalyptic Earth, the world now consists mostly of elves, fairies, and mutants. The evil wizard Blackwolf, seeks to control the world with his army of mutants by digging up Nazi propaganda and simulating the works of Adolf Hitler. He sends out a band of Bounty Hunters, led by the assassin robot Necron 99, to wipe out all the wizards or users of technology of any kind...people that could stand in his way of world domination.
Meanwhile, the good wizard Avatar, is a down-to-earth, Peter Falk-like guy who is madly in love with the young fairy princess, Elinore. After Necron 99 tries to assassinate Avatar (obviously failing), Avatar knows that he most confront his evil brother as he did many years ago, this time to the death. Avatar, along with Elinore, a noble elf named Weehawk, and a reprogrammed Necron 99 now named "Peace," travel to put an end to this war his brother created.
"Wizards," like most of Bakshi's work, is a very avant-garde film. It's smart, strange, funny, violent and quite remarkable. Definitely worth a look...it's unlike any fantasy you've ever witnessed...unless of course you're familiar with Bakshi's work and even then, it's one of his better efforts. Look for Mark Hamill's voice, he portrays a fairy named Sean (very brief, he gets shot right away).
"They've killed Fritz!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wizards (1977) aka War Wizards (the name was changed at the behest of George Lucas as he thought two movies released at the same time by the same studio with war in the title, his being Star Wars, would have been off-putting to movie goers) written and directed by Ralph Bakshi, was certainly a departure from some of his previous adult animation works, Fritz the Cat (1972) and Heavy Traffic (1973), but provided Bakshi the opportunity to show he could create a animated feature for all viewers, young and old, that spoke to the viewer on intelligent terms. Were all viewers ready to hear what he had to say? No, and given the subsequent release of Star Wars (like two weeks later) Wizards, which had been enjoying a great amount of success, got pushed out of theaters to allow for space for George Lucas' epic space opera. With this release of Wizards on DVD, maybe now his film will garner the recognition it deserved so long ago. The story goes that the Earth gets consumed in apocalyptic fire as man unleashes his most terrible achievement upon himself, and many years after his destruction, various forms of life begin to come forth, including fairies, elves, pixies along with mutants, beings once humans but changed over thousands of years of exposure to radiation. Almost all technology is gone, wiped from the face of the Earth, and, in its' place, magic has prospered. Born of the same mother are two brothers who become powerful wizards, one good, Avatar, and the other evil, Blackwolf. After a tremendous battle, Avatar vanquishes Blackwolf, but not before Blackwolf issues a statement that indicates he will not go quietly into that good night.Blackwolf, now residing in the poisoned lands with the mutants and nasty things, puts together a massive army, but one lacking proper motivation, and, subsequently, they are easily defeated any time they are sent forth into battle. Tired of his inability to advance proper on his enemies and gain ground, Blackwolf commands that his followers dig up once forgotten technology, hoping to find aid within the scattered remnants of the powerful technology of old. His salvation comes in the form of propaganda films created by the Germans during WWII. Likening himself to the leader of the German forces during this past conflict, Blackwolf uses the films to not only motivate his troops, but to instill fear and dread among his enemies, showing the films in the sky during the battles. This prompts Avatar, his female fairy charge Elinore, the leader of the Elves named Weehawk, and Blackwolf's captured/converted assassin robot re-named peace, to embark on an adventure to discover the source of Blackwolf's new power, and destroy it. Can this heroic group effectively end Blackwolf's reign of terror and end his powerful war machine before all is lost? There's a nice bit of irony at the end, one that really suited the feature.So, is the film any good? I have read many opinions that will tell you it's not, and I can understand why this film would put some off, but I really enjoyed the movie. Bakshi's goal, as I understood it, was to create an animated feature with heart, one that didn't talk down to its' audience, as do other animated features released by other companies, i.e. Disney, do at times. His animation style definitely unconventional, is certainly distinctive, and swims with realism, despite the surface superficialities. I really loved how he incorporated live action footage into the film, enveloping it with animation, creating an eerie superimposed background to various scenes within the movie. The film was rated PG at the time of it's release, so I would be wary of showing it to younger viewers, but I think it's a really wonderful alternative full of heart to the shiny, happy, uber-clean, product tie-in animation put out by the larger profit-driven studios. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit, certainly, but sometimes it seems like these films tend to cater to the lowest common denominator, and be more contrived to make money rather than entertain. The animation may seem crude, disturbing, and misogynistic at times, but this is animation with the sugar coating peeled away, mirroring elements within our society. Do people want to see this in an animated feature? Maybe not, but I enjoyed it, but may find myself hard presses to recommend it to all but the more discriminating viewer. The picture looks really good here in wide screen anamorphic, and there are some wonderful special features including a commentary track by writer/director Ralph Bakshi, theatrical trailers and TV spots for the film, a still gallery with conceptual drawings, and a featurette titled `Ralph Bakshi: The Wizard of Animation'. This provides a wonderful look into the making of Wizards, and Bakshi also provides tons of background on himself, how he got started, his difficulties and successes within the animation business, his motivations for his films, his contempt for animation that talks down to audiences, and his experiences with various individuals during his career. This is the only featuette he's doing for any of his releases, mainly due to his affinity for the project. Some of his comments, especially the ones hinting towards various conspiracies leveled at him, make him sound a little nutty, but make for entertaining viewing. All in all, an excellent release of a great little animated film that went against the conventional grain. Also, keep an ear out for a voice appearance by Mark Hamill as Sean, king of the fairies. Cookieman108"
A Little Trick That Mother Taught Me...
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 12/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unless my memory has failed me utterly this film came out just as I was finishing up graduate school. Bakshi was already something of a god to the revolutionarily inclined of my generation, and there was no question but that a group of us were going to see it. We were wowed, enthralled, and heartened by Bakshi's brilliant combination of a strong story and inventive animation back then. And today, years later, I found myself thinking feeling the same way while watching it again.
For three weeks the film was a smash hit, when one of those weird accidents of fate happen and Wizards was pushed of the stage by the arrival of Star Wars. Suddenly Bakshi's fable was relegated to fond memorys, only to reappear in retrospectives and campus theaters. As you will find out when you listen to the excellent Bakshi interview (more of a monologue), Wizards was the film dearest to the artists heart, the one he felt was his best accomplishment.
Despite its rough language, partial nudity, and high level of violence, Bakshi though of this as a children's tale, albeit one that hewed closer to the true than the sugar coated fantasies that were coming out of Disney's studios. Set in far post apocalyptic times, two brothers are born to a queen of the fairies. One at distorted mutant (Blackwolf) and the other normal (Avatar), both potent wizards. The inevitable clash between then happened, and this is the story of the end of a 3,000 year struggle between the two over the fate of the world.
The story shifts between the two wizards. First the machinations and plots of Blackwolf, as he unearths archaic Nazi technology and turns it into an weapon designed to erase the magical from the world. Then the journey of Avatar and two elvish friends, Elinore and the warrior Weehawk, who are seeking the source of Blackwolf's power.
The story is told with a deft hand as both the narrator and the characters use humor more than dramatic horror to bring the lessons of the film home. The horror, especially that of the battlefield and the aftermath of war is never far behind. In fact it is the these grim scenes that Bakshi displays some of his greatest genius in illustration, using stock footage, illustration, and collage to build an unnerving context.
Even years later, jaded by many hours watching anime, this film still works artistically, and works well. In addition, its messages about the risks of over-dependence on technology and the inevitable losses of war ae just as fresh now, if not fresher. Bakshi was right, Wizards is his best work.
Ralph Bakshi's Wizards
Stephanie | United States | 04/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While it is certainly not for young children, older teens and adults will get a real kick out of "Wizards". Set in a post-apocalyptic world wrought by radiation due to a nuclear holocaust, most humans have died, and the population consists mainly of elves, fairies, dwarves, and then the mutants. The world is in danger from the threat of technology, brought upon by the evil wizard, Blackwolf. It is up to his brother, the comical, yet good hearted wizard, Avatar, to stop him. Joining Avatar in his quest are Weehawk, chief of a tribe of warrior elves, Elenor, fairy princess of the land of Montagar, and Peace, a former assassin of Blackwolf's (formerly known as Necron 99) who changes his ways and fights against the threat of technology. The WWII references abound, and there are many more adult-oriented references throughout. It dares to go where cartoons usually do not, making allusions to sex, prostitution, religion, and there's even a rather racist Vietnam reference if you can catch it. However, I still highly recommend "Wizards", because in all it's brashness, it deserves to be seen. What the animation lacks in quality, it more than makes up for in imagination. It's quite funny, and it also delivers some unexpected twists. I personally really like the way it was done. The music really seems to fit the overall style of it, and the wonderful character designs and voice acting really pulls it all together. I definetely recommend it to anyone searching for something creative and different, and I'm sure any fan of cult classics will definetely want to check it out. However, I stress the importance of having an open mind. I think those who are more open to controversial subject matter will be able to better enjoy it, with all it's dark humor and it's alternative-type feel. I think it is something that everyone should see at least once. It deserves more credit than it has been given, and I think that it will really make people stop and think about our world, and about themselves."