It’s easy to admire Ralph Bakshi. He was one of the few animators working in the 1970’s and 80’s free from Walt Disney, free to make R-rated cartoons, and films that weren’t as kid-centric – he was a pioneer that had few followers (at least in America). But often his films – like his version of Fritz the Cat – have moments of interest, but are often cheap and not that good or funny. 1977’s Wizards was his attempt to do commercial work. It was a PG fantasy film for 20th Century Fox (as it came out in February, it is possible it was done to cash in on the success of Star Wars, but the timing is a little awkward) meant to be his entry into the mainstream world. It worked; it led to his version of Lord of the Rings. But with the Blu-ray release of Wizards for its 35th Anniversary, it’s a slap-shod fantasy fable with moments of interest, but is ultimately weak. Our review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Last week, writer/director/producer Robert Rodriguez announced at Comic-Con that he had acquired the rights to turn legendary artist Frank Frazetta’s “Fire and Ice” into a live-action film. For those unfamiliar with Frazetta’s work, the late artist currently holds spots in the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame respectively and is known for painting movie posters (such as Clint Eastwood’s The Gauntlet), paperback editions of adventure texts (Conan, Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars come to mind), and album covers (including three for Molly Hatchet).
Fire and Ice was originally adapted into an animated film in 1983 by Frazetta and director Ralph Bakshi (1978′s The Lord of the Rings). Check out the new concept art, which Rodriguez developed with his team at Quick Draw Entertainment, and a quick synopsis after the jump. Briefly, Fire and Ice is a fantasy tale which features plenty of sword-wielding and saving of kidnapped princesses from evil sorcerers.
With Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated Lord of the Rings movie finally getting released on Blu-ray April 6th, Warner Bros. has just released a trailer and the cover art. While the Blu-ray has a new featurette called Forging Through the Darkness: The Ralph Bakski Vision for The Lord of the Rings and a new 5.1 mix, I wish there was a documentary about the making of the film or some new interviews. After all, this version of LOTR has been around for almost 30 years and I would have liked to have seen some of that history on the DVD. But no matter what, it’s still going to be cool to check this thing out on Blu-ray. Hit the jump for more: