Fire and Ice (1983)
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Screenplay: Roy Thomas
Characters: Frank Fazetta
Tagline: “Heroic Fantasy Adventure!”
By Gurn Blanston
Pre-screening memories: The animated fantasy epic Fire and Ice was released in 1983 at a time when I had just finished my fifth or so read through of “The Lord of The Rings” and was starting to move on to other sword and sorcery type books. Eventually this would become a life-long love of sci-fi and fantasy literature. Sure, I had seen all the Star Wars movies, and was a diehard fan of Star Trek, but I was not an avid reader until after I graduated high school. God bless the public school system.
Along with reading fantasy and science fiction, I had truly begun to appreciate the art that was paired directly with it through book covers and magazines. Of the artists involved in this genre, Frank Frazetta certainly stood out, from his painting on the first Molly Hatchet album cover, to his ability to portray the pure physicality of your average over muscled barbarian. His true talent, in my hormone-clouded estimation, was his lusciously curved, scantily clad damsels and Amazon warriors. Mmmmmmm….Art!
I did not see this movie in theaters, but at home on our state-of-the-art “Home Box Office” system. State-of-the-art meant a foot-long brown plastic box connected to the TV by 20 feet of cord with 14 buttons on it to select channels. If you switched the selector switch down you were able to view another 14 channels (mostly static). I remember thinking: “What’s next, playing ping pong on my own TV?! Far out.”
As an aspiring artist with severely limited talent, I was blown away by the animation in this movie, which used the process of rotoscoping, in which scenes were shot in live-action and then traced onto animation cells. I had seen this previously in “The Lord of The Rings” animated movies and thought that it was a great idea to help capture natural human movements realistically.
The action was a bit sparse, but I liked the basic, easy-to-follow, good-and-evil plot. I watched it several times, one of the advantages of having the space-age Home Box technology at my sweaty fingertips, (I watched “Last Tango in Paris” 47 times; I still can’t look at a stick of butter with out getting the shakes.) and then promptly forgot about it completely for 20 years.
Will a recent viewing of the film leave Gurn hot or cold?