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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Fantasy > Adult > Comedy > Fire and Ice (1983/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

Fire and Ice (1983/Blue Underground Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: C+



In 1983, Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta came together to create the rotoscoping film Fire and Ice.  For those unfamiliar with rotoscoping, it was (is?) a film style that utilizes live action to bring the animation to life.  This is to say that actors act out each scene than animators step in to trace over the film, adding style, color, and scenery to make the end product.  Creators of some of the Conan tales for Marvel comics, Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, are the team that wrote Fire and Ice’s script drawing much inspiration from their previous works.  The film did not gain too much praise at the time and has only received a minor cult following in recent years.  The film most definitely suffers the downfall of many other 1980’s animation series, lacking depth and detail, while targeting an audience of young males obsessed with the likes of He-Man, Transformers and comic books.


The plot is simple, but interesting.  At Icepeak Queen Juliana (Susan Tyrrell) reigns with her son Nekron (Stephen Mendel); where they set out to rule the world by covering it in ice.  After the evil Juliana and Nekron unleash their all consuming glaciers (freezing half the world), humanity retreats south to the safety of the equator.  At the equator King Jarol (Leo Gordon) rules along with his beautiful daughter Princess Teegra (Maggie Roswell).  Nekron and his mother send south a team of their evil minions to ask for Jarol’s surrender, but their hidden intention is to kidnap Teegra for Nekron’s own pleasure.  Before she can be captured, Teegra escapes only to be aided by the adventurous Larn in her journey home to the equator.  Unfortunately for Teegra she is captured and it is up to Larn and his new mysterious friend Darkwolf to rescue her.


The film is interesting and I even recall a while ago hearing that Robert Rodriguez was attached do a live action remake of the film; which I think would be nice to see an updated big screen release.  The film’s animation does feel like any standard episode of He-Man and is hard to swallow at time, especially in the moments when the story starts to drag.  I enjoyed the film, but I feel it could have been so much more.


The technical features on this new to Blu-ray release are actually very well done, but not the best animated feature on the market.  The picture is presented in a 1080p, 1.78 X 1 that demonstrates inky blacks and bright primary colors, but also has a few inherently bad issues.  The film is blanketed in a snowstorm of “white specs” that seem to be from the original filming and not the transfer form Blue Underground (perhaps the rotoscoping took its toll).  The white specs are not that distracting as the rest of the image is clean and clear, with the great aforementioned colors and black levels.  The sound is a step up in its not one but two Lossless tracks in the form of a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD mix.  The DTS is the better of the two as it consistently envelopes the viewer in sound with crisp dialogue and aggressive action.  The directionality and panning effects are spot on and overall was a pleasurable listening experience.


The extras are not so impressive but contain the following:


Lance Laspina and Ralph Bakshi Commentary Track

The track is quite impressive and stands as the best extra feature on the set.  Laspina is the main commentator, but Bakshi jumps in to deliver plenty of information that makes the viewer appreciate the film and its difficult production process all the more.


The Making of Fire and Ice

This is a low-def featurette that didn’t thrill me as much as the commentary had; especially with the distractingly bad VHS quality video presentation.  This featurette comes straight from the Bakshi archives as it goes through the film making process, from story to animation to acting.


Bakshi on Frazetta

Short segment (VHS quality again) with Bakshi talking about his relationship with Frazetta; emphasizing their wonderful collaborative abilities and their mutual respect for each other.


Sean Hannon’s Diary Notes

The actor who played Nekron goes through his experience on the set and how amazing it was to go from live action to animated creation.


Theatrical Trailer

          The only High Def feature, but is not all too thrilling.


I think Fire and Ice is worth a look, especially if you have never seen it or it has been a while.  I also think Robert Rodriguez would be smart to make this rotoscope classic back into live action, because today’s technology could really do justice for this film.


For more Bakshi coverage, try these links, including this one of an interview with him:





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-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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