Fire and Ice (1983/Blue Underground Blu-ray)
B Sound: B+ Extras: C Film: C+
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.
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
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.
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.
extras are not so impressive but contain the following:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bakshi coverage, try these links, including this one of an interview with him:
- Michael P. Dougherty II