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page added: 9/6/10



Blu-ray Review
Blu-ray Disc review by Bill Hunt, Editor of The Digital Bits

Wizards (U.K. All-Region Import Blu-ray Disc)

Buy this Blu-ray now at Amazon!


Wizards (U.K. All-Region Import)
1977 (2010) - 20th Century Fox (Eureka!)
Released on Blu-ray in the U.K. on May 20th, 2010
Also available on DVD

DTS-HD MA

Film Rating: B-
Video (1-20): 17.5
Audio (1-20): 16
Extras: B


I'm not going to lie to you... Ralph Bakshi's Wizards is a weird little bit of feature-length animation. Think of Heavy Metal, along with Bakshi's Lord of the Rings and Fritz the Cat (though not as obviously "adult" as the latter film), and you're in the right conceptual ballpark. I first saw the film late one night on Skinamax back in the wee early 1980s, and - having never seen anything like it previously - it blew my young mind.


Set on a post-apocalyptic Earth of the far future - a world filled with magic and mutants - Wizards tells the sci-fi/fantasy tale of an epic battle between two brother sorcerers, one representing nature and harmony and the other warfare and chaos. The film is an obvious allegory on the corruptive powers of technology and propaganda. Its animation style influenced that of several early/classic works of Japanese anime, and included the use of rotoscoping over live-action historical and film footage to create its battle scenes. Wizards definitely isn't to everyone's tastes, but there is no doubt that it's become a cult classic over the years... and it will certainly leave you thinking.

I have to thank my friend Rob Burnett at this point, as he first alerted me to the existence of this U.K. Blu-ray release. The disc is all-region, so it works just fine on U.S. Blu-ray players. When I finally received my copy in the mail from Amazon.co.uk, I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of its video. Wizards, by its very nature, has a grungy, low-budget look to it, but the 1080p/1.85:1 image presentation here is gorgeous. Detail is tight without appearing edgy, and all the unusual textures, colors, shadows and subtle nuances of Bakshi's animation are in full evidence. This is, without question, as good as I've EVER seen this film looking. The disc's audio is in the original stereo only, but it's presented in full DTS-HD lossless, so the film has certainly never sounded as good as this either.

In terms of extras, the good news is that everything from Fox's previous DVD release has carried over, including Bakshi's commentary, the isolated music/effects track, the behind-the-scenes featurette, all the photo galleries and even the trailers and TV spots. It's all here, so you can safely recoup a bit of your upgrade cost by selling or trading in the DVD.

Whether you're a fan of Ralph Bakshi's work, or you just like your animation on the more esoteric side, Wizards makes for an interesting little spin. I'm certainly glad to have a copy in HD. I really, really love it when oft-overlooked deep catalog films like this one get their due on Blu-ray...

Bill Hunt
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com
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