Reviewing one movie at a time…

Wizards (1977)


Willie Good-Cook(Host)

-An actual review…written by me. Not IMDB or Wikipedia (Randizzle)-

Lets start by saying what a great movie this is. This was one of the first cartoon movies(in America) to feature extreme violence, partial nudity, and over all a true adult cartoon experience. This opened the door for movies like Heavy Metal, Cool World, and other “risque” cartoon content.

After a nuclear war wipes out almost all of humanity and leaves the rest as mutant freaks, elves, fairies and dwarfs all come back to the world and start to thrive. The humans are pushed into the more radiated and toxic areas which causes them to become more mutated.  The story is about aging wizard Avatar the Great who is finally forced into confronting his evil twin brother Black Wolf.  Avatar, Peace (An assassin that is captured by Avatar and reprogrammed to lead them to black wolf), Weehawk (An elf with attitude and a nice yelling voice) and Elinore (Fairy Princess with very little clothing) embark on a journey to stop Black Wolf.

Black Wolf has been building up a mechanized army based on old Nazi military plans that his evil minions have unearthed. He also has found a projector which magically sends the video into the sky around his army which confuses the goodly forces. This allows him to push them back and threatens to destroy the goodly peoples.

This movie, even though it was done with a low budget, is still a classic in its own rights. Even the ending is great because no one expected it. Everyone expected a huge climatic battle to decide the fate of Avatar. It really reminds me of the Lord of the Rings (Books not movies.) There was no huge battle to decide Middle Earths fate. Gollum saved the day by biting off Frodo’s finger and falling into the volcano. Unexpected, but epic at the same time. Just like this movies ending.

The music was also very enjoyable. Sometimes less is more and that is so true in this movie. You don’t need a choir or 100 different sound effects to make a good sound track. The plot was good as well and the actors did fairly good for the time. There was also some footage that was shot using rotoscoping which was cheaper than animating some of the battle scenes. They used live action footage and made it look different and cool. This was something not seldom done. It creates a very unique effect. Another interesting fact is that it was heavily used in the Soviet Union from the 30’s to the 50’s, which could make it a sort of Easter egg of sorts.

This movie was made during a period where there was still a lot of tension between the U.S. and Communist countries. There is quite a lot of Nazi propaganda used in this film. This film is abundant with symbolism and underlying meaning. The casual viewers may not get it (Big JD), but there is a lot more going on than just the face value. That is why it is and will remain a cult classic…regardless of what these two clowns say.

-Suggestions-

Join the Cult, you might like it….just don’t drink the kool-aid.

3.5‘s

Randizzle

Loved every minute of it. See my review here.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076929/

Or just read Big JD’s. That is where I get all my ideas anyways.

5‘s

Big JD

Wow.  I’m stunned.  After watching this movie I was speechless.  Not in the way you would think when someone is speechless after watching a movie.  I was more confused in the fact that I just watched a movie that had nothing to offer.  I would also like to say that Will made this pick and he shouldn’t get offended by me tearing it apart.  He might have a sentimental tie to this movie.  Hey, I’m sure like 7 others in this world do too.  There wasn’t much positive to take away from Wizards so, lets get into it shall we?

The voice acting was at the most sub-par.  Half the time there wasn’t conviction in the voices of those that were suppose to show it.  It mostly sounded like they were reading from the script.  Don’t get me started on the monotone Narrator.  It was like she was reading her script while laying in bed just before she fell asleep.  Her lines were not written badly here.  It was her delivery.  On the whole it was written poorly though.  Can’t get away with that.  Just because they have created this fantasy post-apocalyptic world doesn’t mean that they wrote a great story.  From the start I was thinking I was going to get a full fledged story.  With a lot of back-story and everything but it all fell short.  Very short.  Avatar was supposed to be this “great wizard” that never reached his full potential.  Don’t worry.  This movie never shows that he ever does.  A gun in hand?  Makes for a quick ending.  The whole journey to fight the evil Blackwolf was quite convoluted and generalized.  To the point where there wasn’t much said except “fairies are bad”.  They journeyed across many terrains I guess.  The one to take note of was the wintery mountains.  “I’m cold, so so cold”.  Says Princess fairy Elinore.  So what does avatar do?  He gives her a poncho.  Walking through snow barefooted wouldn’t make you cold enough to wear a pair of boots?  Some great wizard especially since he was barefoot too.  If your gonna have terrain changes in the story you should have it affect the characters in more ways than adding a “poncho”.  They were after Blackwolf because he was giving his army the right motivation to fight.  They dug up some Nazi memorabilia.  Before I go forward, WWII was In the 40’s some 30 years prior to this movie.  Nazi films and all the stuff they recovered would be pretty hard to find.  It’s not like that stuff was just laying around.  But for the sake of story, I’ll go with it.  The whole harbinger of “evil” was a film projector.  Lame.  So, So lame.  This film projector somehow had the ability to project the images of film on air.  No backdrops needed.  Just somehow the projections Hitler and his Reich marching was scary enough to put all those that saw it into a “scare coma”.  Wow that was scary.  Scary that Blackwolf was somehow able to stay alive with his arm bones exposed at all times.  Scary that the assassin NC-99 later known as “Peace” was never really revealed to be a robot except for a one time mention halfway through the movie.  A robot that had pupils during one scene in the beginning but never again.  A robot that fades away like a dead jedi when killed?  A robot that was more of a plot device to carry the hero group to the bad guy group.  That sounds more realistic.

This movie is similar to the animation found in “Cool World”, “Fritz the cat”, and crap unreleased efforts that never got funded.  I don’t like the fact that they used sexual overtones to try to market to the “adults”.  No, there wasn’t cartoon nudity, but there might as well have been.  The fairy Princess was wearing skimpy clothing with …  uhm…  Let’s just say it was cold during the entire movie.  Not to mention the fairy prostitutes.  The excessive blood and gore was directed towards the adult audience as well.  I’m sure they figured that if they put the sexual overtones mixed with the excessive blood and death that the adult audience would be drawn to it like moths to a flame.  I don’t think so.  I think you would need to change your animation style first.  It was all animation styled like something you would find on Saturday mornings in 1980.  Actually that’s giving it more props then it deserves.  Why?  Well, because I’ve seen Tom & Jerry episodes with more animation style than what I saw in this movie.   I’m really curious were they got all of their war footage from.  Probably from the library.  They just used general information war footage and took the negative and there you go!  Evil Mutant Army.  Oh, don’t forget to animate two “horns” on the bad guys.  Let’s see, I saw footage of African warriors, WWII soldiers, Knights of Camelot… etc.

The song / fighting interludes made me want to fall into a deep sleep and never wake up in fear of having to continue on with this movie.

The casting fit the animation.  Ha ha ha.  No not really.  When I first saw Avatar, I didn’t believe that this was the hero of the movie.  I couldn’t accept it.  He looked like a homeless drunk and sounded like Columbo.  The princess’s voice didn’t match her drawn figure.  The android/robot/ghost thing sounded more like an idiot than anything.  I’m sure the cast was just people sitting around Fox studio’s that worked in the office and they each got a shot at it.  Oh, but Mark Hamill was in this movie?  Really, I didn’t notice.  He played the part of Sean.  I don’t remember seeing a “Sean”, or ever giving notice that a character’s name was “Sean”.  So, yeah.  I was prepared to give this movie a half a star based on Mark’s performance.  But since I didn’t even notice the appearance then the half star will fade away just as this movie will do for me and just as it has done with the movie watching audiences since 1977.

Oh, and it may have .5 stars in the rating here but it is in no way worse than Max Magician.

 0.5‘s

 

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One response

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Best Fantasy Movies with Elves, Dwarves and Fairies oh my! « The Movie Crew

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