Wizards, movie (1977) - Film review by KadmonWizards, movie (1977) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Bakshi Studio

Article updated: 2020.06.26

The Wizards (1998) is an animated fantasy film with futuristic elements. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Wizards, movie (1977)

Series: -

Setting: far future of Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: Fantasy, Style: fantasy, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, animation

Release: 1977.02.09 theatrical release

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Taste: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises

Watched: very recent (2020.06), first time

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Wizards, an animated fantasy movie from 1977. It's about a good wizard trying to defeat an evil wizard. The Wizards film is strange, and I didn't really like it.

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Review (spoiler-free) - Wizards movie

I've been hearing about the Wizards film for a long time. The first time I remember was a review of the Wizards RPG in an old Dragon Magazine. However, since I didn't like the art style, nor the strange themes, I was not particulary interested in rushing to watch the movie. When I had the opportunity though, I watched if finally. I probably didn't watch the trailer, at least I don't remember any of that.

The Wizards movie is about a good wizard trying to defeat an evil wizard, who wants to conquer the world.

I'm not sure who is the target audience of this film. It's too dark and frightening for children, yet, it's too childish and stupid for adults. There are some comedic inserts, but I didn't find them funny.

The animation styles are a mess. There are multiple drawing styles in the same sequence, and sometimes stills or real life footage was inserted. If you watch the trailer, imagine watching it for 60 more times, and you can estimate how would you like watching that. In this article I've gathered images that belong to the art styles I liked, except for the opening image that's more charactereristic to the film.

The story is the usual "good vs evil", but I feel that is okay for a film like this.

The trailer is good, it's a good indication of what will you get if you watch the movie, yet it doesn't unveil too much of the plot. If the trailer makes you interested, you might like watching the whole film, as you'll get exactly what you see in the trailer.

Wizards is a strange film.

My experience

I didn't like watching this movie. The art was a mess, the structure was incoherent

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points). The movie is watchable, but barely.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). I didn't enjoy watching it. I didn't like the animation, and I didn't like the story either.

Chance of watching it again: Nope. It took me some time to gather the bravery to watch it once, and my insincts were justified.

Rewatchability: Good question. If you liked it for the first time, I think you'll like it for multiple times.

Wizards, movie (1977) - Film review by KadmonWizards, movie (1977) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Bakshi Studio

Will you enjoy this?

If you like fairy tale like fantasy movies, you might like this one.

If you like post-apocalyptic movies, you might be interested in this.

If you like fantasy with technological elements, this might be the right movie for you.

If you prefer your fantasy or futuristic movies in their pure form, you'll be disappointed in the Wizards movie.

If you prefer fun family movies, Wizards is not for you, it's full of bloody massacres, and visual depiction of violence.

If you abhor the idea of fairy prostitutes, or elven sex slaves, you should avoid the Wizards film.

Watching for plot points

There's not much of a plot.

Wizards, movie (1977) - Film review by KadmonWizards, movie (1977) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Bakshi Studio

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Review with spoilers - Wizards movie

This is a strange movie.

An intestesting point I've seen in other reviews that people came to the conclusion that there are the good fairies who use magic, and there are the evil mutants who use technology, who want to kill magic users. In the film, however, the fairies are far from good, there's even combat between our group of heroes and some fairies. The fairies are just as likely to use technology, if they are able to, and we see that they revere ancient technology as their religion. The mutants might be considered "evil", but they live in places where there's still radiactivity and their babies are dying due to this, so they are probably just desperate to get out of those places. Their campaign against magic is also interesting, as they are lead by a magic user.

Plot summary

An evil wizard tries to take over the world with his mutant army, and ancient 20th century technology. The fairy folk tries to hinder his advances. The evil wizard sends an assassin to kill the leader of the free nations. The assassin succeeds, but he is captured by the good wizard. The good wizard turns the assassin into his ally, to lead him into the fortress of the evil wizard. The good wizard is accompanied by the leader of the elves, and the daughter of the assassinated leader. They run into mischievous fairies, and they have to fight their way out. The daughter kills the ex-assassin and joins the army of the evil wizard. The good wizard and the elf leader reach the fortress of the evil wizard. The elf leader finds the daughter, and she tells him that she was possessed by the evil wizard. The good wizard and the evil wizard prepares for a magical duel, when the good wizard pulls a gun and kills the evil wizard. The evil army is immediately destroyed.

The setting

The Wizards film is set in the far future of Earth, after a nuclear war wiped out most of humanity. The survivors were split in two, the fairy folk lived in the good places, while the mutants lived in the radioactive parts. After thousands of years of peace, two wizards were born, one became good, leader of the fairy folk, and the other one is evil, who rules the mutants. The two wizards started to fight each other.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's any.

The structure of the story

The story is played in sequence, with flashbacks and unrelated scenes thrown into it. It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - beginning, action, end.

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Things I liked

  • I liked two of the animation styles (the shots with Ian Miller's backgrounds, and some of Frazetta-like style, probably from Mike Ploog). The rotoscoped animation was an interesting addition.
  • I liked the twist ending.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I don't know much about the works of the writer/director (Ralph Bakshi). I've seen his version of The Lord of the Rings, but that was a long time ago (in the early 1990s). As I remember, I didn't like that one either.

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Wizards, movie (1977) - Film review by KadmonWizards, movie (1977) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Bakshi Studio

Problems with the story - Wizards movie

I was satisfied with the main story. It was the side-stories that I'd have trimmed. Also, I didn't like the very mixed art style.

Unanswered questions

Why did the good wizard need the ex-assassin's guideance, when he got to the fortress of evil even without him?

Why did the good wizard started the duel in the end, instead of searching for the magical device, as he planned? If he lost the direct confrontation, all is lost. He could have come back to defeat the evil wizard after destroying the device.

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Possibilities of improvement

How it could have been better?

Cutting the side-stories. Only keep the scenes with the good wizard and the evil wizard.

Using a unified art style might have improved it, especially if it wouldn't have been the childish one, that was used for most of the movie. I didn't feel that Elf-Quest style art would be fitting to a post-apocalyptic war story.

Wizards, movie (1977) - Film review by KadmonWizards, movie (1977) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Bakshi Studio

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Resources - Wizards movie

Official

Bakshi Studio: Wizards: Official article.

Database

IMDB: Wizards (1977): Database article.

WikiPedia: Wizards (film): Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Wizards: Database article.

Creation

Ian Miller: Wizards: Article about his background images used in the film.

Vincent Randle (for drawn to Imagination): WIZARDS with Ian Miller: Article about the art of Ian Miller used in the Wizards film.

Reviews with no spoilers - Wizards movie

Taryn McCabe (for Little White Lies): What can we learn today from Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards?: Review article of the Wizards movie with no spoilers.

Psychostasy of the Film's reviews of Wizards:

Reviews with spoilers - Wizards movie

Brandon Tenold: Brandon's Cult Movie Reviews: WIZARDS: Review video of the Wizards film, with spoilers.

HistoryisAwesomeGuy: Wizards (1977) Review: Review article of the Wizards movie, with spoilers.

Off The Shelf Reviews: Wizards - Off The Shelf Reviews: Review video of the Wizards film, with spoilers.

Rick Diehl (for His name is Studd): 1977 - Wizards: Review article of the Wizards movie, with spoilers. Includes a detailed plot summary of the beginning of the film. Shows some of the artistic sources for the character designs.

Tasha Robinson (for AV Club): Wizards: Review article of the Wizards film, with spoilers.§

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Buying the product - Wizards movie

 

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Have you seen the Wizards film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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