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Wizards: 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby Digital 1.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG
  • Run Time: 81 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • List Price: $34.99

[amazon-product]B006WNMI0Y[/amazon-product]

Purchase Wizards: 35 Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Perhaps if it had not been outshone by 1977’s Star Wars, Ralph Bakshi’s animated fantasy Wizards might be more familiar to a wider viewing audience today. Be that as it may, Bakshi’s self-described attempt at a Tolkienian fantasy in an American language is flawed in so many ways, that maybe the only way to fully appreciate it today would be to travel back in time in a hot tub time machine, turn on a lava lamp, stoke up a bone, and settle in for this weirdly psychedelic anti-war manifesto.

Set in a far off, post-apocalyptic Earth populated by mutants, faeries, elves and magicians, two supernatural siblings are locked in a battle of magic (Avatar) versus technology (Blackwolf) or good versus evil, that threatens to bring back the ravages of war.

Meant to be thought provoking, it would be difficult for the script to provoke thought when it is so clumsily obvious in its intent, lacking delicacy in any way whatsoever. Wizards is firmly rooted in the 1970s anti-war, anti-nuclear, environmentalist activism, and in an absence of nuance, it tells you that – constantly. Also lacking nuance is Bakshi’s animation, an amalgamation of Walt Disney- and Miyazaki-style cell animation, but far more rough and inconsistent in its character design. Most innovative for Bakshi concerning Wizards is the inclusion of live footage in specially designed, high-contrast rotoscope incorporated effectively into the film, including the finale’s epic battle sequence. But, just as Wizards frustrates throughout with its rough animation, slow pace and obvious message, even the drawn out build up to the final battle between the supernatural siblings ends in a fizzle rather than a bang.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Wizards has obviously not gone through an extensive restoration to its animation in the way that, say, a Disney classic like Bambi has before coming to Blu-ray Disc, for this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement still shows lots of source damage like scratches and some wavering color fills plus some heavy amounts of grain. Still, Wizards looks natural and at times the colors do look rather vivid. Line art isn’t always as crisp as it could be, but overall the image works in this transfer.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The monaural soundtrack has been spruced up in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (4kHz/24-bit) mix that expands the soundfield a by adding a lot of ambience in the surround channels and extending the low frequencies with some weighty use of the LFE. There is any discrete panning to speak of, however, and there is some audible crackle, particularly in the louder sound effects, that can be heard.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

An audio commentary from Bakshi and half-hour-long documentary on the animator bring a good amount of information relevant to the film and its creator. Outside of that, everything else is rather promotional and not quite necessary to watch.

The supplements:

  • Audio commentary by director Ralph Bakshi
  • Ralph Bakshi: The Wizard of Animation (1.78:1; SD; 00:34:14)
  • Theatrical Trailers:
    • Theatrical Trailer A (1.78:1; SD)
    • Theatrical Trailer B (1.78:1; SD)
  • TV Spot (1.78:1; SD)
  • Still Gallery (1080p/24)
  • Blu-ray Book: Blu-ray Book packaging features film credits, stills, character sketches and an essay on the film.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

The true test of great art is whether or not it can transcend its time and medium, allowing it to reach across to many generations, making sense and still holding a potent meaning. Wizards fails to do this, unfortunately. While for many, no doubt, it might still have value simply for nostalgic reasons or as a study in animation (or how not to do such), it cannot compete with many other films in the adult oriented animation genre.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006WNMI0Y[/amazon-product]

Purchase Wizards: 35 Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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