Wizards Blu-ray Review
Bakshi certainly seemed to recognize unique ways to create
worlds in animation. Wizards doesn't necessarily
seem reminiscent of anything else. Perhaps other Ralph Bakshi movies?
doesn't seem to be a positive given because of how this particular
experience was aimed at appealing more directly to families and a wider
than some of his other motion pictures (which are often talked about as
as if that's always a good thing). Wizards
was made in a unique time of production. It was produced and released
Century Fox and at around the same period of creation that led to
Star Wars changing sci-fi cinema
forever. Massive competition didn't prevent the film from being a
success in cinemas and Bakshi had finally succeeded in creating a
animated family film.
seems to be
designed as a bizarre experience. It's the kind of animated outing that
when referring to strange animated movies. It's a small and unique
Other efforts by Bakshi are undoubtedly placed in the same category.
From the eclectic
array of colors used in forming strange animation effects that feel as
as anything released from a major studio to its odd characters Avatar,
Weehawk, and Necron 99 there is bountiful creativity in Wizards.
So much of it is just unexpected and completely unlike
anything else in animation.
story almost seems inconsequential. This is the primary reason why the
feels poorly made in some areas while impressive in other ways. The
of a war of wizards. Avatar (Bob Holt) is the befuddling one while
(Steve Gravers) is a menacing and destructive leader. The war is
sides and the sides were a disassociation attempt made between two
wizards (and it turns out they are brothers too). Avatar has the help
fairy Elinore (Jesse Welles) and the warrior Weehawk (Richard Romanus).
group sets out to put an end to the war created (menacingly) by
are joined by Necron 99 (David Proval) who's also frequently referred
Peace - and he is one of the most unique characters of all.
sets out to make this a message movie and he does in fact succeed to
surprising extent. Wizards stresses
the dangers of a society controlled by powerful, dictatorship-like
beings, and the terrible things that corrupted power can create. It's
a capable story when it comes to this perspective. Bakshi implemented
of propaganda into the film by utilizing some Nazi clips. This is
disturbing aspect of Wizards and one
that makes it a surprising PG-rated production. Bakshi's decision seems
to one degree but also educational to another. Younger audiences might
surprised to find that Wizards could
actually start up a conversation about the holocaust. This aspect is
for parents to recognize.
main reason this film worked for me was the unique animation (which
distinctive and unlike other animated efforts produced in the same time
period). I thoroughly recommend the score by Andrew Belling too. It
complimented everything that worked in the film. Wizards isn't
a perfect movie - not at all. It is a production
somehow capable of defying a traditional reviewing system. Even with a
decidedly weak script (and an odd action-oriented conclusion showcasing
in occurrence between both Wizarding sides) it somehow just finds a way
still work. Experience Wizards with some
friends and see where its magical weirdness goes to.
The images used in this review do not reflect the quality of the
presented on Blu-ray in its original theatrical
aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a 1080p AVC encode. This is a notable
the difference in resolution is quite strong. The visuals are one of
primary reasons Wizards has a cult
following. Ralph Bakshi is known for his bizarre animated sensibilities
artwork seems well suited for the HD format. While
the encoding itself offers a more
dynamic presentation the print has suffered from some scratches, dirt,
damage. It's nothing that severe but it's clear that more work could
done in restoration efforts. Some fans might actually consider the odd
presentation of the artwork an enjoyable part of the overall experience
that charm seems unique to films in this style.
should be pleased by the inclusion of both the
original theatrical English mono audio and a newly created 5.1 DTS-HD
Audio track. The lossless surround sound option will obviously yield
richer results in terms of creating an enveloping surround environment
mono audio is what the film was originally released with in theaters.
to have both options. The audio is crisp, clean, and with dialogue that
to understand. The music score by Andrew Belling sounds especially
on the new surround sound option. The film is also available in Spanish
are available in English SDH (for the deaf
and hard of hearing), Spanish, and French.
presented in slim Digibook style packaging. The
booklet itself isn't too lengthy at 24 pages long but it contains an
introduction by Ralph Bakshi and wonderful illustrations of Wizards
posters and production stills that
fans should enjoy having in this well put together release.
on-disc extras include Director's Commentary,
a documentary interview entitled Ralph
Bakshi: The Wizard of Animation (34:15), and an assortment of trailers, tv spots, and still
featuring drawings used for the film.
exactly a "good" movie. It has a weak plot,
poor character development, and it's all over the map. Yet there's still something worthwhile about the
film. It has a unique style of animation
that is different from almost anything else out there. It also feels
film coming from a genuine place. It was made by Ralph Bakshi and for Ralph Bakshi. He hoped others might
tag along, and the gamble paid off in the end. While this is a director
might not be a flawless filmmaker he is
a visionary. Wizards shouldn't work
because the structure doesn't seem to, but the film has more than
ambition and ideas to make this a journey worth taking.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.