Plot: Two wizard brothers, one good and one evil, fight for supremacy over the world. One uses nature, the other technology. The good broher, Avatar, must defeat his brother, Blackwolf, along with his companions: Weehawk, an elfin warrior, Elinore, the warrior princess and Peace, a reformed assassin.
Virtues: I like the aura of this movie. It has a darker feel about it, and this was Bakshi's family movie. It feels like a science-fiction/fantasy comic book, but more like the underground works like Slow Death Funnies or any of Wally Wood's independent work. The character designs are both appealing and cartoonish. It's like a mixture of Vaughn Bode and Wally Wood. Along with that, the rest of the artwork in the movie is first rate, particularly the background work of Ian Miller (he designed the backgrounds for Scorch) and Mike Ploog (he made the drawings that told the prologue of the movie). One of the coolest things about this movie is the rotoscoping used for the battle scenes. It adds an ominous feeling to the feeling, seeing these faceless ghouls coming towards our heroes. It adds excitement to the adventure.
Vices: Story does Bakshi in again. he has so many ideas that he wants to explore in this movie, like over-dependence on technology to the plight of Jewish and their search for a homeland. Unfortunately, he has no way of organizing them all. It would have been better if he had taken one theme and dealt with that by itself. It may have made the movie a little easier to comprehend. The film was filled with moments that added nothing to the movie, such as when Weehawk is fighting something in the darkness of the mountain fairies' cave. Also, the love story of Avatar and Elinore is never established or explored in this movie. Not to mention there are a few plot threads that go nowhere at all 80 minutes is just not quite enough time to tell the story that Bakshi wanted to tell. Then again, this was meant to be the first of a trilogy, but it still feels incomplete as a starter film. In spite of that, I still enjoyed it.
Best scene: The scene where Blackwolf first shows his uncovered propaganda films to his goons and soldiers. The animation by Brenda Banks is both crazy and quite eerie at the same time with the music added. You can obviously see that these goons were out of their bloody minds.
Overall Grade: 7.5 out of 10
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