Monday, August 5, 2013

Movie Monday: "Fire and Ice"

It's hard to argue against the fact that Ralph Bakshi has a distinct, campy, yet enjoyable style to his films.  Well, if you've seen any of his films, that is.  Chances are, you haven't.  If you have, you are a colossal nerd, and therefore my blood-brother/sister.  His animated features are hardly popular anymore (though a few can be found on Netflix and are definitely worth watching), and perhaps couldn't have been called popular in their heyday.  They are the epitome of campy, over-sexed, sword-and-sorcery, He-Man style, most definitely outdated (not in a bad way) fantasy, and "Fire and Ice" is perhaps the campiest and the sexiest, and to nerds of the adult sci-fi/fantasy sort, it's certainly not outdated.

Larn and Teegra
"Fire and Ice" tells the stories of Larn, a young warrior whose village is wiped out by the evil sorcerer Nekron of the fortress Icekeep, and Princess Teegra, who is kidnapped by Nekron's minions, the half-ape half-human "subhumans" who seem to thirst for violence and sex.  Larn and Teegra, along with the mysterious Darkwolf, attempt to stop Nekron's deadly advance towards Teegra's castle, Firekeep (Fire and Ice, get it?  yeah it's simple).  Darkwolf is a strange character, and older man whose back-story is never fully explained.  It appears that he is a vigilante who is sworn to destroy Nekron and his power-hungry mother, Queen Juliana.  The trio has various misadventures through jungles, swamps, and ancient ruins.  Teegra and Larn fall in love, of course, as they must, and he rescues her from Nekron's evil.  Other than that, I don't want to spoil the ending for you.  If you have a Netflix account, I recommend watching the film.

Could she wear any less?
Part of "Fire and Ice's" charm is the primitive way the story is told.  There are long periods of silence, and the characters' vocabularies do seem to be rather reduced.  This gives everything a pre-historical tone, as much of the interaction relies on touch and gesticulation.  The other part of its charm is in the stereotypical over-sexualization that every sword-and-sorcery film must have.  The characters wear so few clothing items that they must all get frostbite when they go the glacier fortress.  How they manage to survive a single night in the wilderness in such little clothing is beyond me, but of course they are in good company.  I have yet to see an old sword-and-sorcery film where the characters, animated or live, wear more than a bikini's worth of togs.  A third reason to love the film is that the heroine is not blond!

Larn and Darkwolf
Despite the obvious sexism, the relatively predictable plot, and the out-dated feel of "Fire and Ice," it is still one of my favorite animated films.  It's both a serious (and simplistic) story about hunger for power, and a fluffy erotic romp.  I recommend that you get your hands on it, if you enjoy this sort of genre.  Don't watch it around little kids; there's a bit too much sex.  And while you're watching "Fire and Ice," why not add some of Bakshi's other films to your watchlist, like "Wizards," "Fritz the Cat," and "Coolworld."  (Don't watch these films around kids either.  "Fritz the Cat" is pornographic.)  Have fun watching, and enjoy this relic of 80s pulp!

Larn and Nekron

The Lonely Alchemist

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