WIZARDS: THE GOOD AVATAR MOVIE

In 1977 Ralph Bakshi released his animated vision of a post apocalyptic earth, two million years in the future, where magic exists and mutants and allied demons battle elves, dwarves and fairies for control of the planet. For a seven year old kid this cartoon was a fucking blast. Last weekend Fox Movie Channel was showing Wizards and since I had not seen it in years I decided to give into my nostalgia, and with a minor case of dread, watch it. You know what? Wizards was still pretty damn good, so I dodged a bullet right there.

Look I’m not going to spend a bunch of time on this mostly I’m writing this because I am happy that a movie I loved as a kid still holds up.

Plot: Earth, two million years in the future, after the world was destroyed in a nuclear holocaust we find the new mankind made up up elves, dwarfs, fairies and the like engaged in combat with mutants for control of the earth. Did I mention that magic exists to this world? Well it does. The mutants are led by super magician Blackwolf who worked out a deal with Hell’s general’s to lead his mutant army over the earth. The good guys are not lead but are served by Blackwolf’s twin brother(even though they don’t look alike) Avatar also a super magician. Good vs evil, magic, fighting damn it’s a great movie for kids.

The Good: Wizards is chock full of interesting ideas, one of the central being that Blackwolf was only able to get his mutant army to have any success was by finding ancient technology that allowed him to learn about Adolf Hitler. Two million years into the future the Fourth Reich was born. According to Bakshi this movie is an retelling of the holocaust, the birth of Israel and the rise of fascism.

The voice talent in this movie is top notch and I salute the choice of using an actor name Bob Holt to voice Avatar. The reason Holt was cast is because he can sound like Peter Falk. I laughed when all the magic mumbo jumbo is going on or when deep discussions about what it means to be human are happening and the character talking sounds like Vince Ricardo from The In Laws (Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!)

Wizards launched the voice talent career of one Mark Hamill, who also starred in a little seen space movie the same year as Wizards. Good thing that Hamill was able to get into the voice field since NOBODY saw his outer space flick.(it’s good by the way. If you can find it I recommended it)

The next good thing in Wizards was the character called Peace, who is an assassin sent out by Blackwolf to kill the leaders of the four allied tribes of man. This character is a mutant that wears a bright red sock and has an eye like a cylon. He can barely speak and all he knows is how to do is kill. With Avatars help the killer is reborn as Peace and discovers his humanity. Peace has some of the most gut wrenching scenes in the cartoon and he is, outside of Avatar, the one character with the most humanity and displays it through action and a very limited vocabulary. Some of the most insightful comments on the nature of man come out of Peace’s mouth.

Lastly, there is Avatar and his fairy squeeze Elinor. Elinor, the way she is drawn, is super hot and almost nude and is a total ditz. She is comic relief and sounds like a gun moll from a gangster movie . She’s also a warrior princess and an ass kicker.

Avatar is a complicated character. He is old(1000 years or so) and tired of fighting his brother and would rather sit around and drink, smoke cigars with his feet and do little inconsequential magic. He knows that he has to ride out on this quest to stop Blackwolf and his now rearmed with modern technology(modern for WW2 that is) corps of fanatical mutant Nazi from wiping out the world.

Lastly I really enjoyed the ideas working behind the scenes in Wizards. It showed the the idea of the neutral morality of technology; it can be used for good or corrupted for use by evil. Wizards showed the effect that propaganda has on the easily swayed. It talked about what it means to be human and the choice to be evil. Lastly Wizards never preached and never explained. It used the concept of show not tell which is something movies need to do more of.

The Bad: The animation( not in my opinion I am playing devil advocate) “pales” in comparison to modern animation due to it’s rather primitive nature, but I like the old style myself it’s comforting. I truly believe the characters have more soul then in any modern animation that I have seen. I freely admit I have not seen many modern cartoons it’s not a genre I enjoy.

So to sum it up Wizards was great when I was a kid and it is almost as good for the adult me all these years later. I would like to suggest if you are looking for a way off the trail animated movie give Wizards a go with an open mind. You might just be pleasantly surprised by it.

Mahalo,

Xiphos

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About Xiphos0311

Sporadic genius but mostly IDGAF.

30 responses to “WIZARDS: THE GOOD AVATAR MOVIE”

  1. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    I used to watch this non-stop in the early 80s on HBO. Didn’t fully understand it but damn if I wasn’t marveled by it. I’m going to hit up the tubes for this tonight. Thanks for reminding us of this gem, Xi.

  2. DocPazuzu says :

    David Brin called this “the most evil movie ever made”.

  3. M. Blitz says :

    Whoa, remember watching this a lot when I was a little kid. My dad loved this movie…

  4. lordbronco says :

    Great review Xi.

    I’ll chime in with the tedious doomsaying that this too will be remade by the guys who made Shrek.

    Hand-drawn in 3-D, no less…

  5. koutchboom says :

    I’ve been meaning to see this for the longest time. How would you compare it to Heavy Metal?

    • xiphos0311 says :

      While both movies share some similar ideas and came out roughly at the same time they are very different in their approaches.

      Heavy Metal was on the cutting edge of animation for the time and was highly stylized in it’s art work(like the magazine) while Wizards wasn’t. Both movies are very good just very different.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Oh and I would say that both Wizards and Heavy Metal are the movies that validated the idea that animated movies could make money and be held up as movies instead of just cartoons.

        I think the modern animation craze should thank those two movies they lit the fire.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        I liked Heavy Metal actually. So go figger.

  6. Bartleby says :

    great review, Xi. This felt like a really heavy movie as a kid. I think I used to have it taped on the same vhs that held , ironically, Beastmaster 1 and a Rankin Bass animated movie called Flight of Dragons.

    Gonna have to dig this one up.

    Also gonna research that ‘most evil movie’ thing. Dude must be nuts.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      i thought the same thing as kid the movie felt very heavy and/or important.

      I still don’t see how it could be considered evil.

  7. Bartleby says :

    not the article related to Wizards, but Brin calling out Star Wars for being evil. He’s just a pretentious whiner.

    http://maxskyfan.com/pages/Startalk/brin_david.html

    • koutchboom says :

      I found that its in David’s article:

      We Hobbits are a Merry Folk: An Incautious and Heretical Reappraisal of J.R.R. Tolkien.

      If you can find that.

  8. Tom_Bando says :

    Don’t like this one. Pass.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      What didn’t you like Tom?

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Hated it. Hated the animation style, the look, Luke Skywalker, you name it. Seen it semi recently and still *meh*. It’s just one of those things ala certain Anime–I have friends who are Gaga for it–but show me Ghost in the Machine or Spirited Away–my eyes glaze over.

        And then I put in my Tex Avery shit and watch Droopy and enjoy. That’s all. Different strokes.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Thanks Tom. Just to be clear I was not clowning you I was truly curious why you didn’t like the movie.

  9. Stuntcock Mike says :

    This movie played second run at some shitty little theater. Me and my Sis must have seen it ten times back in the day.

    The nazi shit was fucked up.

    “Oh yeah… one more thing: I’m glad you changed your last name, you son of a bitch! ”

    Fuck yes.

  10. MORBIUS says :

    “Wizards launched the voice talent career of one Mark Hamill, who also starred in a little seen space movie the same year as Wizards. Good thing that Hamill was able to get into the voice field since NOBODY saw his outer space flick.(it’s good by the way. If you can find it I recommended it)”
    Xi,
    I think you’re a little confused here….
    CORVETTE SUMMER came out in 1978 not 77, and it has nothing to do with space (unless you were referring to the vacuous area between Marks ears)!
    Luke Starkiller directed COMIC BOOK: The Movie, filmed (taped?!) at Comic Con, in which I had a cameo! HAHA…HA

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Corvette Summer!

      I think I saw that movie like 5 times when it came out.

      Mike’s right it might be one of the ugliest cars ever in the movies or for that matter out of the movies.

  11. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Morbius.

    Corvette Summer. Own it. Love it.

    Ugliest car I’ve ever seen though.

  12. MORBIUS says :

    Mike and Xi

    In total agreement with you guys, almost sacrilegious what they did to that car. Looked like something that would be more at home in Cormans Death Race 2000!

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