Wizards (1977)

Perhaps the strangest thing about this very strange film is that former underground animator, Ralph Bakshi, thought that he was making a family film.

It is also very hard to figure where to classify this one.  We have a post-apocalyptic world, with robot armies and a villain who has recovered some of the ancients’ weapons and is using them to take over the world.

Okay, that’s science fiction.

But then we also have wizards, winged fairies and some sort of magic.

Problem.

I suppose anything was possible in the 70s.  Certainly, it has almost as much to do with his later adaptation of The Lord of the Rings as anything else.

It is, in spurts, brilliant.  It is also silly, and head-scratchingly odd in other places.  Even the animation style varies enormously through the film.  At times it seems little more than a series of barely connected black out gags, as if Tolkein got a guest shot on Laugh In.  The scene where one of the evil army tries to revenge the death of his comrade Fritz is a beautiful piece of black humor, although I wonder how kids would take it.

Wizards got buried by Star Wars (A New Hope?  Never heard of it) but then that just might be a question of who to blame.  It is an entertaining little film, just strange.

However, it was this film, not his far more successful 1977 effort, that really marks the start of Mark Hamill’s future career.  After all, he’s done more voice-over work than anything else.

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