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wizards is an animated feature that begins with a narration of epic proportions .
over black and white drawings , we are told that the earth is destroyed in an apocalyptic nuclear exchange , sending the remnants of humanity through generations of radiation-induced mutation .
the " original " inhabitants of the earth , fairies and elves , return to populate the globe , along with their evil , mutant counterparts .
one day ( and i say " one day " not to be trite , but because that's exactly how it happened - no advance notice ) , a fairy queen gives birth to twins , one good and one evil .
the twins grow up to be powerful wizards , the good one embracing magic , and the bad one utilizing technology to attempt to expand his evil empire .
we are given the notion that an ultimate battle must occur between the forces of magic and those of technology .
as unoriginal as the premise is , i was still somewhat interested in how this story would play itself out .
there's a lot you can do in an animated fantasy world , after all .
i soon learned , however , that the fantasy was the expectation of a decent film .
once the transition was made from still art to color animation , an entirely different feel takes precedence .
rather than the epic saga promised by the narration , we get a goofy-looking world of a saturday morning cartoon .
not just the look , mind you , but all the zany sounds like >honk boing
for years , blackwolf has lost his battles against the magical forces of good , since his armies of ogres and other mutants would get dispirited or distracted soon after battle is joined .
however , blackwolf now has a secret weapon : nazis .
yup , adolf hitler , the luftwaffe and the wehrmacht .
okay , not the real things , but an archival film his minions dug up .
projected into the sky for all to see , it inspires his own army while shocking the enemy into submission long enough for the ogres to hack them up .
before you know it , there are dead elves everywhere .
this is just as well .
the characters are so bad that the viewer doesn't care about any of them .
they're either silly , sappy , or both .
the dialog gets much of the credit for this .
an example is when avatar nonchalantly says , " well , looks like my brother and i begin our final battle . "
not very formidable when he's also the guy who says , " this is the biggest bummer of a trip i've ever been on . "
my favorite line was from a sideline fairy who is asked by her child why good can't fight back against the nazi-charged evil .
her response is , " they have weapons and technology .
we just have love . "
suffice to say , the characters are strictly two-dimensional , and we therefore don't expect anything more than the obvious to happen .
which it does .
the only unexpected occurrence is the way the final battle between brothers is played out , which is anticlimactic and disappointing .
please note that it is the action that is unexpected .
that it is disappointing is not .
the film couldn't settle on a particular mood .
it seems to move from dark to light with the cuts from scene to scene and even angle to angle .
scenes which are seemingly meant to contain deep meaning are ruined by acts of levity .
the dramatics , which seem to occur at random , are overly staged and overly acted , detracting from any kind of value or even enjoyment which could otherwise be gleaned .
ralph bakshi , the director , makes an obvious attempt to get a message across in this film : hitler and the nazis were bad .
so who doesn't know this already ?
well , maybe children .
okay , so you might say that this is a movie for children .
it's not .
in the scenes where good fights evil , there's a lot of violence and gore that children should not be seeing if they're watching a cartoon .
so is the film for adults ?
if so , we probably don't need to be bashed over the head to get the point .
why not have the bad guys be symbolic of the nazis instead of using old propaganda in a seriously disjointed attempt to show us something we already know ?
wizards gives us a lot of footage of nazi tanks and airplanes , and hitler giving speeches .
however , we don't see any reason why they should be considered bad .
we see no atrocities being committed , not even any real battle footage .
there is absolutely no connection made between the armies of evil and the third reich , and we're not even given a cursory explanation as to why this stuff is inspiring in the first place .
this needed to be thought out much more thoroughly if a point were to be made , since subject matter such as this deserves better treatment .
i'd like to assume that bakshi was trying to say that the same nationalist movement that drove the nazis could happen anywhere , at any time , and we must therefore be vigilant .
however , i'm not sure if i want to give him that much credit .