Someone had started a discussion about Ralph Bakshi over at AW, and since I’m only vaguely familiar with his Cool World, I decided to better acquaint myself with his work. I was able to watch the entire movie of Fire and Ice on Youtube, and now I’m paying the price for it with a groggy brain. This may or may not be a side-effect to watching the movie.
The rundown (edited from wiki): From their stronghold in Icepeak, the evil Queen Juliana and her son, Nekron, send forth a wave of glaciers, forcing humanity to retreat south towards the equator. Nekron sends a delegation to King Jarol in Firekeep to request his surrender, but this is a ruse orchestrated by Queen Juliana, for Nekron’s sub-humans to kidnap Jarol’s daughter, Princess Teegra. Teegra makes an escape and comes upon Larn, the only survivor of a village razed by glaciers, who offers to escort her back to Firekeep. As Teegra is recaptured, Larn teams with the mysterious Darkwolf to save Teegra and to stop Juliana.
If you think this sounds like every other epic fantasy then you’re right, it is. Not only that, it reminded me A LOT of the Taarna story from Heavy Metal the film, except I found Taarna to be much more interesting since it was a girl kicking ass rather than a girl constantly getting her ass captured. Geez, can’t these princesses keep themselves put of trouble? Though, Teegra (does anyone else find their names too similar?) isn’t all bad, she has some smarts and manages to elude her captors a few times and has a sense of dignity (despite her lack of clothing).
Taarna also rides a bird-dino hybrid, and funny enough, the heroes in Fire and Ice also ride similar creatures. Coincidence? Perhaps. Also, after watching Heavy Metal and Heavy Metal 2000, the violence in this film was rather tame, which isn’t terrible, but I was expecting a lot more gore. Or maybe it’s just me.
Nekron was the biggest disappointment. It would have been nice to see him more than just a bad guy, but a human as well, because the potential was certainly there, and don’t you just hate it when you see a missed opportunity fly by? Nekron could have been forced into this whole ‘world domination’ attitude by his mother, but perhaps deep down, that wasn’t what he truly wanted. Then Teegra comes along offering friendship and forgiveness, forcing him to see things in a new light. He would be conflicted: Stick with his mother’s plans or risk making new friends and allies? Now doesn’t that sound a bit more entertaining?
On a positive note, the setting and world is quite lovely, rich with detail and life. I like how the environment was just as deadly as the bad guys, and every step our heroes take could be their last. Also, I found the artistry to be very well done, though, there were times where I wondered what happened to Teegra’s nose.
|Can you spot her nose?|
But alas, cool environments are not enough to make up for cardboard characters and overdone plots. Thus, I’m giving this 2.5 out of 5 stars. However, I won’t let this hinder me from seeing more of Bakshi’s work; it’s just clear to me that high fantasy may not be his niche.
Btw, check out my Heavy Metal 2000 review!