Boundary-pushing adult animator Ralph Bakshi’s (Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic) first foray into fantasy is, in true Bakshi style, a dark, strange, psychedelic wonder. Set in a post-apocalyptic world of elves, fairies, and mutant monsters, it charts the struggle between two warring wizard brothers—one good, one evil (naturally)—for control of the Earth.
“A unique animated fantasy unlike anything else you’ll see from this era.” – Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
Bakshi’s cracked, counterculture worldview courses through every frame of this strange, unsettling, and often bonkers film, while the thorny, disturbing themes—the horrors of war, nuclear annihilation, Nazism—stand in marked contrast to the film’s not-necessarily-for-kids PG rating. Gorgeously realized using a mixture of live action, hand drawn animation and rotoscoping techniques, Wizards is a truly original, mind-blowing vision, paving the way for Bakshi’s next film, a 1979 animated version of Lord of the Rings. Released in 1977, just a few months before Star Wars changed the sci-fi/fantasy landscape forever, Wizards also features the vocal talents of Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, who provided the voice of Sean, the leader of the fairies (in between filming scenes for Star Wars), at the suggestion of longtime Bakshi fanatic, George Lucas. (Dir. by Ralph Bakshi, 1977, USA, 80 mins, Rated PG)