Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dream Factory: Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Original release date: 20th Century Fox 1983
DVD release: Blue Underground Entertainment 2005
Streaming: Netflix
Rated PG

Summary from Seen That: "In this animated tale, a tiny village is destroyed by a surging glacier, which serves as the deadly domain for the evil Ice Lord, Nekron. The only survivor is a young warrior, Larn, who vows to avenge this act of destruction. The evil continues, however, as Nekron's palace of ice heads straight towards Fire Keep, the great fortress ruled by the good King Jarol. When Jarol's beautiful daughter, Teegra, is abducted by Nekron's sub-human ape-like creatures, Larn begins a daring search for her. What results is a tense battle between good and evil, surrounded by the mystical elements of the ancient past."

The 80's were full of forgettable fantasy fare, and were it not for the ability to MST3K, Fire and Ice would probably be on that list.  It begins with an info dump attempting to convince the audience that the film will be far more epic than it actually is, then segues to a fight with Nekron, who seems to be having ice-gasms while fighting the tribe of warriors of which Larn is a member.  For me, it was the unintentional homoeroticism that made Fire and Ice enjoyable, so if you aren't amused by that sort of thing, you probably just want to avoid this film.

The rotoscoping is pretty decent, especially compared to Mr. Bakshi's Lord of the Rings, though there are some scenes where the footage seems to be deliberately slowed.  The costume "designs" are terribly lacking, with nearly every character parading around in loin cloths and string bikinis, even though the majority of the film takes place in the glacier where Nekron dwells.  I suppose we're meant to suspend our disbelief when no one dies from hypothermia.

The hero, Larn, is pretty lame.  Darkwolf (the dude with the ax in the above photo) is the one who actually fights and defeats Nekron.  Larn seems to only be included so that the audience has a young novice character to identify with, but Larn does nothing in this film but get into trouble.  Don't even get me started on Teegra.

In addition to the obvious wish fulfilment elements, the film is problematic in its name and design of Nekron's henchmen.  Rather than orcs or goblins, Nekron has "sub-humans," which have similar builds and facial structures to Alaskan Natives. I understand that this is a fantasy world, but I think the creators should have put much more thought into their portrayal of this particular group.  The best way would have been to create a fantasy race, but since they didn't, they could have at least given them a more suitable name and made them more intelligent.  The "sub-humans" here are basically depicted as Neanderthals who repeatedly try to kidnap and rape Teegra.  Yeah...it's pretty offensive.

All in all, unless you are looking for an unintentionally bad film to mock with your friends or are really interested in rotoscoping, I'd avoid Fire and Ice.

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