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Wizards (1977)

February. 09,1977
| Fantasy Animation Science Fiction

After the death of his mother, the evil mutant wizard Blackwolf discovers some long-lost military technologies. Full of ego and ambition, Blackwolf claims his mother's throne, assembles an army and sets out to brainwash and conquer Earth. Meanwhile, Blackwolf's gentle twin brother, the bearded and sage Avatar, calls upon his own magical abilities to foil Blackwolf's plans for world domination -- even if it means destroying his own flesh and blood.


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I first found out about Ralph Bakshi when I found out about the animated Lord of the rings film the second film in the Ralph Bakshi fantasy trilogy. But Wizards was the first of the trilogy I saw. I remember seeing the trailer on Youtube I came in thinking that this film would be like Harry Potter but animated. Boy was I so wrong. There are three things in this film I never thought to see in this film that surprised me.1. Swearing 2. Gore 3. And Nazi propaganda The animation though not being as special today still looks good for back then. I don't really have that much else to say about this movie but I do say. This film is the best of the Ralph Bakshi fantasy trilogy, and I recommend it too everybody to any one who likes Ralph Bakshi's films. Well just don't show it too anybody young, yay the film is rated suprisonly and literally PG but just don't.

Nikonani S

The man (Bakshi) clearly holds no regard for the standard fare of his profession: he'll cut scenes of low-budget fighting faeries(?) and slap them next to low-budget rotoscopes, he'll juice up pulp fantasy with pulp Nazi affection and pulp gunplay because he'll feel swords uninteresting to draw, he'll slap fat tits onto a main character faerie and slap off her clothes because he wants to draw things that would be fun to slap in real life, he slap his screenwriter if a scene requires more than five lines of dialogue without the slap-faerie with slap-tits slapping some slappable robot with a slapped in gun.It's a movie of slapping in doodles. The movie is just a bunch of doodles in a high school boy's notebook. That's fine, and the eclecticism forced by the low budget and high aspirations makes those doodles captivating. But they're just doodles, lacking entirely the vague and social quirks of "Fritz The Cat" or "Heavy Traffic".


I have come across who like this movie and some that don't so much, sometimes downright hate it even. As for me, I don't love or dislike Wizards. It is certainly an interesting movie, and is certainly better than Cool World, but as far as Bakshi's movies go I do much prefer Heavy Traffic and American Pop. Wizards' flaws have been covered a number of times in previous reviews, but I do share my agreement with some that have been brought up. The dialogue I don't think has been a general strength in Bakshi's movies but I did find it very corny here. The soundtrack also felt a little cheesy and perhaps too 70s, and the pacing is awkward, often feeling sluggish. I had mixed feelings on the story, it was a great idea and while simple was generally interesting and engaged me once I got over its strangeness. But I did have issues with the narration; not since Don Bluth's Rock a Doodle have I seen an animated movie with such an (I feel) unnecessary overuse of narration. However, the film does look wonderful, the characters do look too cartoony but I liked their rough-around-the-edges charm and the backgrounds and colours are stylish and beautiful. The characters while on the stereotypical side are at least likable and engaging, I did find myself rooting for Avatar. The voice acting is solid on the whole. Overall, decent film and underrated but too flawed for me to consider it a masterpiece. 6/10 Bethany Cox

Michael A. Martinez

I first watched this film at the tender age of 9 and even then found it awfully sloppy and crude by animation or narrative standards. Bakshi claims that this movie is aimed at kids, and while I have to admit it's a lot more kid-friendly than something like COONSKIN or HEAVY TRAFFIC, there ain't a lot here for kids to like.Truly, this film doesn't hold up too well with a lot of unsuccessful blending of animation with rotoscoped footage, which, to be honest is more often just processed film than it is truly "rotoscoped", which would imply actual work went into it. The final battle scene is actually pretty hard to tell what in the Hades is going on with so many reused cells and ugly roto'd stock footage. I'm happy to see that his techniques in this area blended together much more beautifully in his next 3-4 films, the high point of which would be FIRE AND ICE.Too much of the script feels awfully first drafty. For instance the villains of the piece don't really seem to have much motivation for their desire to destroy the world beyond just the usual "oh, they're evil" mentality. Similarly, none of the heroes are likable or even the slightest bit interesting aside from the criminally underused Peace, the red uniform wearing android from the cover.However, I have to hand it to Bakshi for making up for his lack of resources with a lot of heart and a lot of love in rampant abundance. The most successful portions of this film are the side-vignettes showcasing the ridiculous villains. The scenes in "Skortch" are wonderfully gloomy and campy, complemented quite well by Andrew Belling's excellent (though at times quite dated) score. A lot of the vignettes are quite funny, though the success and amount of humor follows with the rest of the film's elements as being quite inconsistent.WIZARDS is a film with a lot of little things in it to appreciate even though the film as a whole is disjointed, cruddy, and rather tedious. I can say though that I'm glad I own it and watch it once every few years just because at the very least it's a great mood piece and has a much more personal & creative feel to it than most more recent animated features.