Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wizards (1977)

   Ralph Bakshi's innovative post-apocalyptic vision of ruin and technological warfare is not for the kiddies, despite the PG rating. Instead, it offers creative hand drawn animation and food for thought for adults and teenagers who might find it's content a springboard for discussion.

   Thousands of years after nuclear war, most of mankind has transformed into disgusting dribbling mutants. Meanwhile, the ancestors of the earth have come to stay- fairies, dwarves, elves, and the like. One night, a fairy woman gives birth to twins; one, Avatar standing for all that is gentle and good, the other, Blackwolf, representing evil and corruption.

   After growing up and defeating Blackwolf (voiced by Steve Gravers) once in battle, Avatar (voiced by Bob Holt) retreats to live a life of access with his female companion Elinore (voiced by Jesse Welles.) Meanwhile, the evil Blackwolf lingers underground  and plans his revenge, using Nazi Germany and Hitler as his inspiration for a reign of terror.

   I was somewhat divided on terms of the animation- some of it showed a spark of genius, while other bits seemed somewhat rough, like something you could find on late-night Adult Swim. The voice acting is a little weak from Bob Holt, but shows prowess from everyone else, who probably had a lot of fun with this project.

   The links between this world's corruption and Nazi Germany are a little obvious, but the power of propaganda in this world serve as a powerful reminder. The filmmaker provides some curvacious fairies for you horny fanboys, while the male leads remain disappointingly clothed.

   Overall, "Wizards" is an interesting but not extraordinary foray into the sci-fi genre, with definite fantasy elements. There are a few unexpectedly touching moments, and the violence is as frank and as rife with consequences as you are likely to see in a animated film.

   Ralph Bakshi proves himself to be a filmmaker of merit. If you like cult films with more substance than the old "Rocky Horror Picture Show" retread, be sure to give this odd little film a rental.

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