JUNE 28, 2013 SCREENING: FIRE & ICE (1983)
Another day, another Ralph Bakshi film. Considering the typical content of his movies, Fire & Ice is actually one of the more “mainstream” movies in his catalog. Ideally, it would have made a nice companion piece to the Conan movies. Fire & Ice falls into the same genre as the latter, and features big muscular guys with swords in some iron-age looking fantasy world, slaying evil creatures that get in the way.
Still, this has the typical trademarks of a Ralph Bakshi movie. It’s animated and silly, but with the focus on scantily clan women and loads of bloody violence, it is obviously not aimed at children. The strange thing is that the main character looks and acts so much like He-Man, this film basically comes across as an R-rated version of the filmmation He-Man cartoons. The only thing it lacked was an awesome Skeletor-type baddie opposing our hero. The He-Man like comparison is also the film’s weak point: despite being able to show and do a lot of things that would be taboo in a kid’s cartoon, its not as bold or edgy as the live action He-Man movie that would come out in a few years later (1987’s Masters of the Universe, starring Dolph Lundgren). In comparison, Fire & Ice feels watered down. That’s pretty ironic considering that Bakshi’s film can explore things that Masters of the Universe wouldn’t dare.
I liked the movie, but I didn’t love it. It keeps you interested as you watch it, but a few days later, you’ll be hard pressed to remember anything that happened during Fire & Ice. It makes a suitable entry in the genre of sword and scandal movies, and it holds itself in check a lot more than the previous film I screened, 1977’s Wizards (by “holds itself in check”, I mean Bakshi restrains himself from too many dirty jokes and lewd scenes in this movie). If you have nothing better to do on a Saturday night, you might want to give it a shot. You could do a lot worse.
** out of ****