Blu-ray Review “Wizards: 35th Anniversary Edition”

Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
Starring: Bob Holt, Steve Gravers and Jesse Welles
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 81 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Ralph Bakshi then you would be excited for this release, if not then you probably have never heard of this film. Bakshi is the director of film’s like “Fritz the Cat”, “The Lord of the Rings (1978)” and “Cool World”. His animation style is so unique and very interesting to watch. This film holds up well over the years and looks decent on Blu-ray. The real draw on this release has to be the Digibook packaging. The release comes with a 24-page full-color digibook. It includes a note from Ralph Bakshi, a short essay on the film, and lots of sketches and concept art. Definitely worth picking up if you are fans of Bakshi and the film.

The film itself follows the battle between Avatar and his evil brother Blackwolf. Avatar is an eccentric but kind sorcerer-ruler of Montagar, which is a magical place inhabited by elves and fairies. Blackwolf has plans to dominates Montagar. But with the help from fairy Elinore, a robot assassin named Peace, and Elfin spy Weehawk, Avatar must save his world from darkness.

The Blu-ray presentation is good but not amazing. The video looks good in 1080p transfer but is not perfect. The color really pop and the animation looks sharp even though its shows a little age. The audio boasts an impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and also includes a English Dolby Digital mono track. Note: this US release does not include the score-only audio track like the UK release unfortunately.

Since this is the 35th Anniversary release, I was hoping for some new special features but there is nothing new and everything is only presented in standard definition. There is a commentary track from Bakshi, which was used on the 2004 DVD release. It is a good commentary track though and very informative. There is a 35 minute making-of feature called “Ralph Bakshi- The Wizard of Animation Featurette”, definitely worth checking out and wish this was in HD. Lastly there is two trailers, TV spot and a photo gallery included.

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