Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Original Avatar

I recently watched Ralph Bakshi's Wizards (1977) for the first time in over twenty years.  It reminded me of how crappy feature animation was in the decade or two before The Little Mermaid brought back a golden age.

First there are the characters. Crudely drawn and dramatically one-dimensional.  When they move there's no subtlety--it's jerky, slow and not fit well to the background.  But at least they move--they're usually the only motion in this motion picture. The backgrounds, poorly drawn paintings, dominate the screen.

Then there's all the rotoscoping, which destroys any momentum the story has.  We sit through minutes of pointless stock footage that has only the lamest of story justifications and is really there to make this cartoon long enough to be a feature.  There's also a horrible score and pretty poor voice work (including Mark Hamill--spelled wrong in the credits).

I'll give credit to Bakshi for keeping the genre alive when few others were interested, and I realize he didn't have much money (which may be one reason he so often relied on "adult" material), but really, this attempt at a commercial fantasy is best seen as an oddity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a good movie to watch drunk. Or do I mean I could only watch it when I was drunk? Think I saw it on 2 different college campuses in the early 80s

11:48 AM, August 07, 2013  

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