Wizards is an interesting animated film. At first glance, it is about good vs. evil as the film sets up a clear dichotomy in the beginning. That idea travels through the whole film and never becomes convoluted, but Wizards is more than that. Magic, technology, and Armageddon play a large role as well. The film wants to spread some sort of message about the errors of mankind’s ability to create things that kill and it also wants to promote believing in some sort of indefinable magic. I wanted to start off talking about this because Wizards is not an ordinary animated film and to an extent, not even a kid’s film. Wizards is mature in its own right, and should be. This spewed out of the mind of Raplh Bakshi, so, why would it be normal?
You may know Bakshi for his other animated films which dealt with mature themes and were not afraid to push the envelope with animation. Bakshi is considered an excellent animator, which is even more noticeable on Blu Ray. You might associate Bakshi with Fritz the Cat, but he also did the 1978 animated adaptation for The Lord of the Rings. Bakshi is a quality animator who is not afraid risks and likes to add plenty of subtext.
The Wizards Blu Ray is a 35th Anniversary Edition that brings back the story of elves, mutants, and wizards for this generation (and hi-def TVs). The film comes as a Blu Ray book which always gets mixed reactions from people. I like them, but I also like books, so….
The Earth suffers a horrible holocaust and everything is wiped out. Soon mutants begin to appear and then from that, elves and fairies begin to evolve. Through whatever reason, magic is born too and some have the ability to use it. Two wizards are born, the good, Avatar, and the evil, Blackwolf. Thousands of years go by and Blackwolf decides to destroy his brother once and for all. As Avatar goes to fight back against his brother, he witnesses the good that can still exist in a destroyed world.
The film, even if it is more mature than most animated “kids” films (i.e. death, semi-nudity, dark themes), it still acts like some adventure that all children (and adults) can connect with. I felt like a kid watching it; it reminds me of those old cartoons I would watch on TV when I was young. There is even a tinge bit of LOTR in there somewhere, but I can’t properly place my finger on it. The animation is old school and there is a mix between still art and animated characters, which makes it feel very dated. At certain points there is even live action thrown in to add artistic value that gels well with everything else.
The Blu transfer for this is amazing. There is only so much you can do with old animation but a lot of the original grain has been taken out. The colors pop and for as old as everything looks, the film looks beautiful. It is still a bit jarring to watch after seeing how far animation has come, but you could have a conversation like that about many films.
The special features are thin, to say the least. There is a commentary from Bakshi, a still gallery, trailer, and a feature on Bakshi. The thing on Bakshi is pretty interesting because he talks about how he got started in the animation business and how he made Wizards. Other than that, the book is pretty cool and I should show you via video because it is easier that way, y’all!
This is well worth a purchase if you are a fan of Wizards or if you are looking for some old school animated films. Even with the lack of special features, the film stands by itself. Being only eighty minutes long, this is good for when you want to kill some time. Wizards impresses and it tells a great tale about the ultimate evil against the definitive good.