RALPH BAKSHI'S WIZARDS
When I first watched Ralph Bakshi's 1977 Masterpiece - Wizards - I felt like I had come home.
The collision between Fantasy & Science Fiction - or between the Romantic & the Realistic - or between the Hippies & the Punks - however you want to see it - it says it's about magic vs. technology - whatever you want to portray this conflict as - the messy collision of these things is the place I live in & it is in that world that I am most comfortable. Not with either force winning - but in the mess as they crash into each other. The mess where magic & technology intertwine is where humanity finds itself!
Bakshi, like most of America's great artists has been historically dismissed as a schlockmeister, hustler & con-man & Wizards, like Bakshi's other masterpiece "Fritz the Cat" was followed by whispers about who it was ripping off & which artists were having their toes stepped on - but even as a child I recognized that the movie medium is king over the psyche of humanity & to be able to open the doors in people's minds that Wizards opens is more important than who was or wasn't hit by the door as it came crashing down.
Wizards was overshadowed by Star Wars on its release - but the truth is that Wizards isn't a movie like Star Wars - Wizards is too weird, jarring & off-kilter for most people, when you watch it, you know you're not watching some easy to digest American blockbuster or a beloved piece of family animation. Wizards is a work of Weirdo Art. Even as the strength of fantasy declined in the 80s, the mysterious power of Wizards continued in the backs of video stores across America spreading the 70s art feelings of Mike Ploog, Ian Miller, Vaughn Bode, Frank Frazetta, Wally Woody & Wendy Pini under the Bakshi Umbrella. The movie is a piece of religion.
Our buddies at Wyrd War have released the Wizard's soundtrack by Andrew Belling on their label & are presenting the movie with Andrew Belling in attendance at Portland's Hollywood Theater. Friday - July 14th 2017.
- Sean Äaberg