Jarv’s Birthday Series: Fire and Ice (1983)
Welcome back to the Birthday Series. This time, it’s Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi’s allegedly seminal 1983 animation “classic” Fire and Ice. There’s a reason that I don’t usually review animation, and that’s because I’m blatantly not qualified to do so, and most of them don’t interest me. Nevertheless, rules is rules and as this one was released 26th August, I’m stuck with it. As a five year old, I’d have probably loved this, but I didn’t see it when I was five, and looking at it as an adult, well, read on to find out…
Pah. What a load of shit this is. I’ve been reading up on it, and it’s got glowing reviews all over the internets. I have a theory as to why: it’s down to the arrested adolescent nature of most on-line reviewers, and the ample charms of the main female character. However, as an adult, I don’t see any reason to give a film a great review on the basis that you could, if you were sad enough, wank yourself senseless over A FUCKING CARTOON. Especially not when you can just use the internets to watch all the porn you want, and filth at that involving, you know, actual real women rather than some flagrantly onanistic drawing of a basic fantasy figure. I’ve nothing at all to say about the voice acting here, or the look of the film itself, rather, I’m going to write 1000 words (give or take) on the massive flaws that ruin this film.
Fire and Ice opens with a lengthy intro. We’re told all about Icepeak, where evil witch Julianna (Susan Tyrell) has taken over. She’s raised her son, Nekron (Sean Hannon) in the ways of Dark Magic (more on him in a moment), and they’re now busy using his ability to control glaciers taking over the world. All that stands between them is Fire Keep, run by Good King Jarol (Leo Gordon). The film proper starts with our hero Larn’s (Randy Norton) village under assault from the glacier. Unsurprisingly, it gets completely squished. Anyhoo, Nekron sends emissaries to Fire Keep to kidnap Teegra (Maggie Roswell) and force her into marriage with him. Which he seems to be a bit against. Larn teams up with the mysterious Darkwolf (Steve Sandor), they rescue Teegra, and king Jarol pulls the trigger on the lava flow they built Fire Keep on. Quite why they built a castle on a volcano is a mystery. Anyhow, Darkwolf kills Nekron, the lava melts the glacier and everyone lives happily ever after.
This is basically a barbarian hero story by numbers. We’ve a good v evil battle, dudes in loincloths wielding swords and a buxom and scantily clad damsel in distress. Unfortunately, Fire and Ice is crushingly dull. The problems become evident really early on- in fact as early as the first invasion scene. What this amounts to is Nekron making his “O” face repeatedly then a few animated scenes of Ice crushing and growing, then his O face again, then the same fucking piece of animation again and repeat until boredom has set in. This, sadly, occurs far too often in the film, practically every time they move the glacier, or he has to cast magic of some description.
Secondly, the inevitable love story between Larn and Teegra is both slight and unconvincing. I can see what’s in it for him (everyone with eyes can see what’s in it for him), but he’s basically a lumbering twat without the ability to king punch a camel. So, what’s in it for her? Anyhoo, regardless of that, these sort of things always require a love story, so it’s fairly easy to suspend disbelief for it. That, however, doesn’t excuse it from being as dull as ditchwater, and furthermore the same fucking sequences are used over and over again.
Maybe Pixar is spoiling us, but I’m personally not prepared to accept any film that does this. I don’t consider it remotely justifiable to use the same imagery over and over again, and furthermore, it becomes immensely tiresome very quickly and scuppers the enjoyment of the story. Which is far too slow anyway. Added to this is a pompous and bombastic score, that also is very heavy on the repetition, which serves to accentuate the repetitious and tiresome nature of the film.
Then there’s the writing. I don’t ask for much here, but this is appallingly written. Firstly, before I think of anything else, why wait so long to pull the trigger on the lava flow? It deals with Nekron’s glacier really easily, so why bother waiting until you’ve basically been fucked over and your kingdom has been massacred? Then there’s the shoddy character work here. A token effort is made to show that Teegra is different by, in exactly the same way they always do in this type of thing, having her be a bit of a tomboy and interested in swords and whatnot. If you’re going to be this lazy, just don’t fucking bother. This film is amazingly thematically simple, and instead of just accepting that and giving us a rip-roaring battle between good and evil, we’ve got a tedious and predictable mess that’s riven with plot holes.
Now here comes my big problem with this film. I’m all for good versus evil type battles, but for some reason Nekron is portrayed as, well, a sausage jockey. It’s not even remotely subtle. He’s repulsed at the sight of Teegra, yet when he sees Larn for the first time he’s happy to strip down to his undies for a strange and boring sword fight. Which he then cheats to win. Furthermore, he goes on and fucking on about how Larn “interests” him. I bet he does. This is astonishingly unpleasant in what is essentially a child’s film. What are they trying to say here? That there’s an evil homo army in the north looking to come south and bugger all the good heterosexuals into submission? What the fuck? This is an amazingly dickish move, and leaves such an unpleasant taste in the mouth that I can’t for the life of me think of any reasonable justification for it.
Overall, I don’t recommend this. It’s crap, actually. I certainly don’t understand all the positive reviews out there, and can only assume they’re penned by one-handed internet surfers. In which case, wankers, find some actual porn to watch and spare us from your deluded “TEEGRA IS TEH HOTNESS” type warblings. I know this is a bit hypocritical of me, because I’ve been known to give a film a pass in the past based on the presence of boob, but at least it was real boob, and I’d never give a film as intensely dull as this one a pass on that level. Fire and Ice is tiresome, badly written, homophobic shite of the lowest order, and can quite frankly fuck off.
Needless to say, though, it is quite well drawn, so on those grounds alone it can have 1 pair of cartoon juggs out of 4. Nevertheless, frankly, there are far better ways to spend a couple of hours and I’ll be forgetting about this shitfest as soon as I possibly can.
Until next time,
The full list in this series:
- 1978 – The Driver (3 out of 4)
- 1979 – Life of Brian (4 out of 4)
- 1980 –Xanadu (Orangutan of Doom)
- 1981 – An American Werewolf in London (4 out of 4)
- 1982 – Class of 1984 (3 out of 4)
- 1983 – Fire and Ice (1 out of 4)
- 1984 – Cal
- 1985 – Teen Wolf
- 1986 –Reform School Girls
- 1987 – Dirty Dancing
- 1988 – Married to the Mob
- 1989 – Millennium
- 1990 – Darkman
- 1991 – Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man
- 1992 – Christopher Columbus: The Discovery(TBC)
- 1993 – Hard Target
- 1994 – Natural Born Killers
- 1995 – Desperado
- 1996 – Freeway
- 1997 – Mimic
- 1998 – Blade
- 1999 – Teaching Mrs. Tingle
- 2000 – Bring it On
- 2001 – Heartbreakers
- 2002 – Simone
- 2003 – My Boss’s Daughter
- 2004 – Exorcist: The beginning
- 2005 – The Cave
- 2006 – Invincible
- 2007 – War
- 2008 – Death Race
- 2009 – Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
- 2010 – Piranha 3D
- 2011 – Conan the Barbarian