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DVD Review

DVD cover

Wizards (1977)
(2016 Reissue)


Starring (voice): Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Steve Gravers, James Connell and Mark Hamill
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 13 June 2016

In a post nuclear world the fairies and wizards, who were the world’s first inhabitants, return to help what is left of man, not turned, mutant reclaim the planet; they usher in three thousand years of peace. Thousands of years hence two wizard brothers are born. Delia, queen of the fairies gives birth to Avatar and his brother Blackwolf. Avatar is inherently good, spending much of his life looking after his mother, Blackwolf is a mutant. When Delia dies, the brother fight for the right to rule...

Wizards (1977. 1 hr, 20 min, 51 sec) is a fantasy cell animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat (1972), The Lord of the Rings (1978) and Cool World (1992)).

Following his expulsion from the land of Montagar, Blackwolf travels to Scorch, to raise an army of mutants to take back Montagar. Three thousand years after his expulsion he sends out an assassin robot, Necron 99, who kills the President. At the same time Elinore is captured in the forest, which sets Avatar's feet on a road which will bring him to his final confrontation with his brother, Blackwolf.

There are a number of ways to play the film, you have the ability to use predetermined chapters; you can play it normally; with the director's full commentary; or, a little more oddly, with just the sound effects and music, which is oddly quit powerful.

In the commentary Bakshi looks at the differing artists who worked on the film and their individual styles, although to watch the film you would think it was all the work of a single artist, even given the differing styles, as they mesh so well together.

Interestingly Bakshi states that having made a string of adult animated films this was his chance of showing he could make an animated film for children. In this he completely failed, Wizards has some hard imagery and while I am happy to recommend it as one of most favourite adult animation, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t let anyone under the age of about thirteen watch it without contemplating a lifetime of psychotherapy.

Well it’s not quite that bad, in fact I think the film is really important in the history of animation, its mix of styles really pushed the boundaries. On top of that the music and effects are some of the best for an animation. The down side of all of this is what made Wizards great, made his Lord of the Rings less so.

The DVD also packs in some extras, including, Ralph Bakshi – The Wizard of Animation – Featurette (34 min, 13 sec) has Bakshi talking about the genesis of Wizards, starting right back at his first job. It’s well worth a look, especially the talk about style within animation in respects of collage and montage, which explains the visual look of Wizards well, as well as the use of rotoscoped stock footage. You also get two theatrical trailers (1 min, 01 sec) (2 min, 12 sec), a TV spot (31 sec) and a still gallery.


Charles Packer

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