Wizards (1977)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Science & Technology  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Adventure, Sci-Fi Action  |   Release Date - Feb 9, 1977 (USA - Unknown), Feb 9, 1977 (USA)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Craig Butler

For a while in the 1970s, it looked as if animated movies might be entering a new era, one marked by a break with traditional (children's) subject matter, animation styles, and storytelling methods. Films such as Fritz the Cat, Allegro Non Troppo, and Heavy Traffic all challenged the Disney method, quite successfully. Wizards was part of this era, but it's a very mixed bag. The animation is in a different vein -- what might be termed a "multi-media" approach, employing the traditional cel-based process as well as extensive rotoscoping (though often in silhouette) and use of still sketches. It's an intriguing idea, but too sloppily executed to be successful. The story itself is convoluted and not particularly convincing; at times it seems as if director Ralph Bakshi didn't really have a story to tell, just an urge to put some images onscreen and move them through some exercises. However, there are some very nice isolated sequences, and the movie has a palpable sense of the period in which it was made. It somehow or other screams out "1977" in every frame, even though the design scheme is based upon both the distant past and the farflung future. Sometimes irritating, Wizards is of interest mostly to aficionados of animated film, who will find as many things to make them smile as to make them cringe.