Another Look Into Ralph Bakshis Wizards 1977

Thus far in my Rotospective on Ralph Bakshi, I’ve taken a deep look into his films and for all but the first look into Wizards, I discussed the conclusions of those films and their meanings and lessons. The reason being that my first post on Wizards was relatively or arguably spoiler free, unless you’ve seen the film in which case I’m not spoiling anything by ending the post with a [BANG!].

With that being said here is another brief overview and a look into the meanings and lessons of the conclusion of Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards.

The title song, “Only Time Will Tell” reveals a great deal about the movie itself, as it should.

“Time renews tomorrow, when we’ve used today.
It will find the sorrow and wash it all away.

Love can play a new tune on this carousel.
It may be tomorrow, but only time will tell.

Somewhere in the darkness there must be a light,
Leading us together through the misty night.

And maybe in the new dawn we can break the spell.
It may be tomorrow, but only time will tell.

There can be a new dream, one for us to hold,
Made with peace and hope and built upon the old.

No one has the answer to give away or sell.
Tomorrow holds the secret, but only time will tell.”

With that in mind it is time to talk about the War between Magic and Technology.

Queen Delia of Montagar with sons Avatar and Blackwolf by Mike Ploog

Queen Delia of Montagar with sons, Avatar and Blackwolf, by artist Mike Ploog

The two sides in this war are lead by wizards who are brothers. Avatar the good wizard, a champion of magic, who resides in Montagar and Blackwolf, the evil wizard, a champion of technology, who resides in Scortch. They may not have much in the way of family resemblance but they are both powerful and wise.

Avatar is content with living in Montagar, the good lands, while Blackwolf wants to rule the world, not just the radiation filled lands of Scortch where he currently rules. Blackwolf has two sons, one human and one not and he wants the his sons to live in the good lands and breathe clean air.

Blackwolf has attempted to conquer the world before, but his armies lacked the proper motivation to finish the job. This made Blackwolf mad with rage, and he went digging for technology. in digging he uncovers pre-holocaust technology and pro Nazi propaganda. This find not only gives Blackwolf and his army the means to slay their enemy, but the motivation as well.

Blackwolf studies an ancient text by candlelight, by artist Mike Ploog

Blackwolf studies an ancient text by candlelight

The sides in this war vary greatly. The side of Magic is a reemergence of elves, faeries and other such magical forces of nature that have returned to Earth, after the “thousand atomic fireballs” destroyed Earth. Their reemergence is the regrowth of Earth in the good lands. Their goal is peace, the seek for naught but knowledge.

Whilst, the side of technology, on the other hand, seeks to overthrow the good lands. They seek to claim the good lands as theirs. They do this by harnessing pre-holocaust Nazi technology. Planes, tanks, bombs and Blackwolf’s projections of the Blitzkrieg into their minds.

However, for years, Blackwolf has attempted to win the war, it’s not until the present time of the movie that he uncovers the Blitzkrieg footage, before that his armies always failed when victory was in sight.

Veteran Elf Warrior speaking about the Old Wars

Veteran Elf Warrior speaking about the Old Wars

As on old elf warrior puts it “Blackwolf must have lost one million men here last time he tried to invade. And if Blackwolf’s stupid enough to try it again, he’ll lose twice more. Them goblins and demons just look mean but they yellow and got no cause to fight. They always give up and run with our arrows chasing them all the way home. It’s always been that way and it will always be the same.”

This is of course, prior to Blackwolf unleashing his Blitzkrieg projections on the elvish army. This time, Blackwolf sees Avatar as his only obstacle in achieving victory. However, Avatar, isn’t assassinated by Necron 99 as Balckwolf assumes. Avatar, frees Necron 99 from Blackwolf’s hold of him and renames him Peace, in the hop that he will bring it.

Of course, it isn’t until Blackwolf is face to face with his brother at the end that he realizes, his brother is still alive. The final showdown is an epic masterpiece of the written, visual and audio story. The scene goes as follows:

Avatar faces Blackwolf for a final time in Wizards

Avatar faces Blackwolf for a final time in Wizards

Hello *whistles*” Avatar, getting his brother’s attention.
You have aged old fool, the world is mine… The trouble with you my brother, is that you’ve always been too good.
Well, that may be, but I still think I look more like Ma than you do. You know, lots of character, I’m aging better.
Brother, there is no need for me to destroy you, surrender, surrender your world.
[Avatar applauds and chuckles]
You always did need an audience you sap. Let me tell ya, I aint practiced much magic for a long time, I want to show you a trick mother showed me when you weren’t around, to use on special occasions like this. Ah, Oh yeah, one more thing, I’m glad you changed your last name you son of a bitch.” And with that Avatar takes a gun out of his sleeve and [BANG!shoots Blackwolf, his brother, dead.

I emphasize the dead, because these days, shooting the enemy leader doesn’t always mean he’s dead, in fact it rarely does. Anyway, this is Avatar using technology to kill his brother, what’s the lesson? Technology is only good in moderation. Avatar also uses a jukebox earlier on in the film, but these are the only two instances of his technological use.

This is a paramount lesson to learn as we are becoming more and more technologically reliant.

Ralph Bakshi the Mind and Magic behind Wizards

Ralph Bakshi, the Mind and Magic behind Wizards

Cellphones and tablets are quickly replacing computers and as they are portable devices we are taking our technology with us everywhere we go. Technology such as this can aid us in living but not if we live on said devices, as seems to be the case in younger generations.

Bakshi himself has said “if you trust technology too much, that it’s going to hurt you… too much technology we loose magic, magic of fairies, but it’s also the magic on man’s mind.” This speaks to the very heart of Wizards. The very fact that technology had gotten out of hand is the reason for the “thousand atomic fireballs” that destroyed the Earth at the beginning of the movie, technology had done itself in.

Is there a way out? Can we save ourselves from having our lives be overrun by technology? Sure we can, but when will that happen and who will that be? Who knows, but one thing remains true…

Time renews tomorrow, when we’ve used today.”

Ralph Bakshi Rotospective Archive