It’s that time again! Bubbawheat from the superhero-centric Flights, Tights & Movie Nights was kind enough to have me on his show Filmwhys again, but this time on a “real” episode where we go one-on-one about a pair of movies. I think this is my best podcast showing yet, so if you’ve been waiting around this is the one to listen to. (Although I haven’t listened back to it yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind. )
We talked about the classic Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon, and the ’90s “classic” The Guyver. Yes, they are two of the most opposite movies you could find, which is why they perfectly represent my love of both ends of the cinematic spectrum. And if you want to be cheeky you could say that thanks to the success of Rashomon opening the doors to foreign cinema in the US, The Guyver (being based on a manga) is partially in its debt! So every time you see a questionable film/TV show based on a Japanese property, feel free to tweet about it with a #ThanksRashomon hashtag! Anyway it was a good talk and a lot of fun. I also did not have time to write full reviews — or any reviews, for that matter — of these films, so if want my thoughts you’ll have to listen!
If you want to do that, I’ve embedded it below! If you wanna subscribe to the show or listen on a portable device you can head to iTunes, Stitcher, or PodOmatic (and for convenience’s sake those links will take you right to the respective Filmwhys page on each service). And don’t forget to throw Bubbawheat some love, too! Subscribe to the show if you like it and check out his site!
As always, I love feedback, so if you listen to the show let me know what you think! Thanks for listening!
Starring Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Steve Gravers, Susan Tyrrell, Mark Hamill
Directed by Ralph Bakshi
Wizards did pretty damn well at the box office for its first few weeks, and that was going head-to-head with Disney’s Fantasia. But it had the terrible misfortune of releasing just a few weeks before the premier of Star Wars (which is interesting since Mark Hamill also plays a minor character in Wizards). I’ll let you do your own research to find out which of those films got pulled from the theaters to make more showtimes available for the other. Since then, the film has developed a cult following, and I’ve been curious to see what was so special about it. It turns out that despite its obvious low budget, the film has a visual style like nothing else, and I can easily see why people became so enamored of it.
The story itself is nothing new, and it is very typical of an epic fantasy story. The good wizard Avatar is pitted against the evil wizard Blackwolf who has revived ancient war machines and is out to conquer the world. What sets Wizards apart is its use of varying art styles. The characters themselves look rather generic and ordinary, but the backgrounds vary greatly between locations and have some wildly contrasting styles to the character art. A lot of early rotoscoping is also used in this film, and not in the conventional way, either. The rotoscoping was drawn off stock footage in stark minimalist tone, and the film cuts back and forth between these stylized and mismatched animations with the more traditional line art. Straight live-action stock footage is also thrown about in the backgrounds and even spliced into the animation. The effect is truly bizarre, and if you’re into visually unique storytelling, then this is going to grab you and never let go.
Continue reading Stephen reviews: Wizards (1977) →