WIZARDS (1977)

80 minutes

Dir: Ralph Bakshi

Producer: Ralph Bakshi

Cinematography: Ted C. Bemiller

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I’ve stumbled upon antiquated animators living in the farthest flung inhabitations known to mother earth, scrambling and eeking out some living. In short, animation isn’t for those slight of heart or the steady of foot. Considering the profession positively invites opening your veins in a bathtub – it’s a strange world we live in that animators are generally paid to draw Disney princesses, happiness and light.

Wizards makes a pleasurable contrast to all of this nonsense. It gets to the kernel of what animators really want to draw: a post apocalyptic wasteland gothic fantasy where nuclear mutants are being rallied by a recently found reel of the Third Reich. It’s certainly not The Little Mermaid, and I don’t see Susanna Reid watching it anytime soon, but it’s beautiful because it’s as a mad as a box of snakes and pushes what animation can be.

Ralph Bakshi, the independent animator director who had brought Fritz the Cat to the screen (the first animated film to receive an x rating) uses Wizards to tell an allegorical tale of what happens when propaganda rules the airwaves and where technology transforms people into medieval storm-trooper mutants.

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Tips to enjoy Wizards (1977)

– If you like independent cartoon movies, watch The Thief and The Cobbler (1993), a Richard Williams directed film, which took him 28 years to bring to the theatre.

– And if you resonate with the blood and sex of a Ralph Bakshi animated film, Fritz the Cat (1972) might be right up your alley.

-Watch a Nazi propaganda film to put you in the mood for Wizards… Triumph of the Will (1935) is the most well known.

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-It was a sleeper hit in 1977, making over 9 times what was spent on it.

-In the final battle sequence, footage was taken from a range of other war movies and outlined to create the creepy silhouettes.


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