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Wizards

Wizards (1977) Movie Poster
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  •  USA  •    •  80m  •    •  Directed by: Ralph Bakshi.  •  Starring: Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Jim Connell, Steve Gravers, Barbara Sloane, Angelo Grisanti, Hyman Wien, Christopher Tayback, Mark Hamill, Peter Hobbs, Tina Romanus.  •  Music by: Andrew Belling.
        In a post apocalyptic future that appears as a blend of World War II Europe and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, a pint-size wizard named Avatar must save the world from a band of fascist mutants controlled by his evil twin brother, Blackwolf, who likes to confuse enemy armies by projecting films of Adolf Hitler speeches during attacks.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
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Review:

Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
Image from: Wizards (1977)
I've been giving myself a crash course in the older works of animator Ralph Bakshi lately. "Wizards" was my next pick following his full length feature debut, "Fritz the Cat," which I found rather dated and disappointing. "Wizards" was an improvement over "Fritz," but I still found myself thinking that it probably would've made more of an impact on me if I'd seen it in a theatre in the late '70s after smoking a couple of joints.

The story takes place a few million years in the future, after a nuclear holocaust has more or less destroyed humanity; the few humans that are left are now monstrous, radioactive mutants who dwell in a region called "Skortch." On the flip side, the "Good Lands" (i.e. the area unpolluted by fallout) is populated by fairies and elves, whom we're told are the true ancestors of humanity. The narration at the beginning of the film tells us that one special night long ago, twin wizards were born, one good (named "Avatar," wonder if Cameron had to pay Bakshi to use that name? Haha) and one evil (known as "Blackwulf"). The evil wizard has become leader of the mutants and has been carrying out regular attacks on the "Good Lands" over the years without much success. But now Blackwulf has introduced ancient technology (in the form of recovered tanks, guns, airplanes and Nazi propaganda films, which he uses to fire up his troops) to prepare for one final assault on the Good Lands, and his brother Avatar must come out of peaceful semi-retirement to battle him once and for all (with the aid of an elf warrior, a captured assassin robot, and a big-boobed, ditzy fairy who wears very little).

The animation in "Wizards" is nice enough (though a little dated looking nowadays), the good guys are all Disney cute while Blackwulf and his mutant legions of froglike creatures are Frank Frazetta scaryugly, which makes for an odd combination of styles. Battle scenes were apparently made by using actual WWII footage that was retouched and recolored to match the feel of the film, which makes those scenes even odder. Bakshi seems to be going for an "epic" scale here which at the time he wasn't quite able to do; not due to lack of talent, but lack of budget. Its slim run time of just about 80 minutes keeps things moving quickly enough that the viewer won't get bored.

Too violent for a kid's movie and a little too weird and allegorical for the average grown up viewer, "Wizards" has some interesting ideas and visuals but isn't a must-see except for hardcore animation buffs.

Extra trivia note, see if you can spot a pre-"Star Wars" Mark Hamill in a small voice part.


Review by MetalGeek from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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