DVD Shopping Bag: Wizards 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Source: Mania

It had been years since I even thought about watching Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature, Wizards. I had seen it in passing at the various video stores I worked at over the years. It wasn’t hard to miss with that iconic image and all white box. I know I picked it up and tried to watch it at least once. For some reason I never made it past the blending of the different styles of animation. Since the film was celebrating its 35th anniversary (and its first Blu-ray release) I decided to give it another chance.

After a series of great wars and catastrophes, our world as we know it is gone. A new one has been born populated by elves, fairies, and mutants. The why and the how all this came to be is revealed in a prologue. Our story begins with two wizard brothers and their final fight for supremacy over the world. Avatar (Bob Holt) uses the magic in nature and believes in peace and love. The other brother, Blackwolf (Steve Gravers) uses technology and methods from the world that was before. Avatar enlists the help of Weehawk (Richard Romanus), an elfin warrior, Elinore (Jesse Welles), the warrior princess, and Peace (David Proval), a reformed assassin, in the hopes to take down his brother.

It is evident that writer/director Ralph Bakshi was influenced by “The Lord of the Rings” books (an animated film he would release a year later). The quest itself is a story that is an old as time, stop evil with warriors that are of pure of heart. What is so strange and unique about Wizards is its blending of different mediums into one film. Bakshi uses rotoscoping, stills, newsreels, and paints over old war footage. The effect is mesmerizing whatever your current condition is (stoned or sober). Yet, in this world that has been completely turned upside down, it works.

The message of the film is incredibly heavy handed, “They have weapons and technology, all we have is love”. Obviously, Wizards is a product of its age (1977). However, if you take that into consideration I have to find fault with the film’s ending. Avatar talks a great deal about peace and love and finding a non-aggressive method of taking down his brother. At the site of the Land of Scorch Avatar begins to use his magic to populate the land with flowers if only to show the inhabitants the world doesn’t have to be like this. His final solution to stop his brother is so out of character that his final words to Weehawk become meaningless. I waited for some sort of retort after the film’s story ended, but there was nothing. Bakshi missed his own point and for this reason, perhaps, Wizards has only a niche audience.

Since this was the film’s first release on Blu-ray I was pleasantly surprised how many film cells I could see. In being an animated film it was great to be able to see the various layers of paint and production that went into it. The colors were rich and vibrant. It was as if you could smell the paint on the screen. There aren’t many truly 2D animated films anymore. With each scratch, layer, and fingerprint I grew more appreciative of Bakshi’s film.

Wizards might not be for everyone with its style, confused message, and psychedelic images. The 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is perfect collectors. It supports a 24 page collectible book, commentary by Bakshi, a still gallery, and plenty of trailers.

TOP 5 PICKS OF THE WEEK:


1. Demons [Blu-ray]
2. A Night to Remember (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
3. Casablanca (70th Anniversary Limited Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
4. South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season [Blu-ray]
5. A Dangerous Method [Blu-ray]


ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Air Collision Starring Reginald VelJohnson, Jordan Ladd and Gerald Webb

Anno 1790 Starring Peter Eggers, Joel Spira, Linda Zilliacus

Bomb Squad Starring Craig Beeman, Keagan Karnes, Erin Kupay and Rachel Young

The Bodyguard [Blu-ray] Starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston

The Book of Jeremiah Starring Jared Shores, Jeffrey Blake, Camee Faulk

Confucius (DVD/Blu-ray Combo) Starring Chow Yun-Fat

Confucius Starring Chow Yun-Fat

Crows Zero [Blu-ray] Starring Shun Oguri and Kyosuke Yabe

Good For Nothing Starring Cohen Holloway and Inge Rademeyer

The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch Starring Miki Manojlovic, Tomer Sisley and Kristin Scott Thomas

In the Land of Blood and Honey (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic, Rade Serbedzija

The Quest [Blu-ray] Starring Roger Moore and Jack McGee

ANIME

Dream Eater Merry Complete Collection

Dream Eater Merry: Complete Collection [Blu-ray]

Ikki Tousen: Great Gaurdians Season 3

CARTOONS

CatDog: Season One, Part Two Starring Tom Kenny and Jim Cummings

Lego: Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu

South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season

South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season [Blu-ray]

CLASSICS

Assault on a Queen [Blu-ray] Starring Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi, Anthony Franciosa

Assault on a Queen Starring Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi, Anthony Franciosa

Casablanca (70th Anniversary Limited Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Come Blow Your Horn [Blu-ray] Starring Frank Sinatra, Lee J. Cobb, Barbara Rush and Jill St. John

Come Blow Your Horn Starring Frank Sinatra, Lee J. Cobb, Barbara Rush and Jill St. John

It's Only Money [Blu-ray] Starring Jerry Lewis, Joan O'Brien, Zachary Scott and Jack Weston

It's Only Money Starring Jerry Lewis, Joan O'Brien, Zachary Scott and Jack Weston

No Man of Her Own Starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl and Lyle Bettger

Who's Got the Action [Blu-ray] Starring Dean Martin, Lana Turner, Walter Matthau and Eddie Albert

Who's Minding the Store [Blu-ray] Starring Jerry Lewis, Jill St. John, Ray Walston and Agnes Moorehead

Who's Minding the Store? Starring Jerry Lewis, Jill St. John, Ray Walston and Agnes Moorehead

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Starring Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate and Justin Long

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy)

CRITERION COLLECTION

A Night to Remember (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe

A Night to Remember (Criterion Collection) Starring Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe

David Lean Directs Noel Coward (In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit, Brief Encounter) (Criterion Collection) Starring Noel Coward, Bernard Miles, Robert Newton and Celia Johnson

David Lean Directs Noel Coward (In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit, Brief Encounter) (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Noel Coward, Bernard Miles, Robert Newton and Celia Johnson

HORROR

Camel Spiders Starring C. Thomas Howell and Brian Krause

Camel Spiders [Blu-ray] Starring C. Thomas Howell and Brian Krause

Carnival of Fear Starring Aimee Brooks, Damian Maffei, Joe Unger and Will Walters

Demons [Blu-ray] Starring Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento

Die Starring Elias Koteas, John Pyper-Ferguson, Emily Hampshire

The Girl in Room 2A Starring Daniela Giordano, Raf Vallone, John Scanlon

The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol Starring Aramis Sartorio, Caleb Emerson and Mia Tyler

Magdalena: The Devil Inside the Female (1974) Starring Dagmar Hedrich, Werner Bruhns and Michael Hinz

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Dragonheart [Blu-ray] Starring Dennis Quaid and David Thewlis

TV LAND

East West 101: Season 1 Starring Don Hany, William McInnes, Susie Porter and Aaron Fa aoso

Eureka: Season 4.5 Starring Joe Morton and Colin Ferguson

Murder Investigation Team, Series Two

Single-Handed, Set 2 Starring Ian McElhinney and Owen McDonnel

BOX SETS

Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIII Starring Joel Hodgson and Michael J. Nelson


 



Series: