Fire and Ice Limited Edition DVD

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"It began as a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between two of the greatest icons of the fantasy genre: Controversial animator Ralph Bakshi (director of FRITZ THE CAT, WIZARDS and the original THE LORD OF THE RINGS) and legendary illustrator Frank Frazetta (creator of the iconic CONAN THE BARBARIAN, VAMPIRELLA and Edgar Rice Burroughs book covers). It became - and remains - one of the most startling animation epics of all time. Now experience a world unlike any ever seen, where savage warriors, horrific monsters and luscious maidens battle for the soul of civilization in a time of good and evil, pleasure and pain, and Fire & Ice.

The mighty-muscled heroes and big-bottomed babes of fantasy artist Frank Frazetta inspired animator Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat, Wizards) to create the swords-and-sorcery epic Fire and Ice. Bakshi uses a technique called rotoscoping, which uses live-action film of actors as the template for animation, allowing him to put realistic action into fantastic environments. The verisimilitude of movement in a cartoon can be startling, but that's about all Fire and Ice has to offer; the wafer-thin story, overwrought characters, and clumsy dialogue are vapid cliches. Of much greater interest are the extras in this two-disc set, including a making-of feature that demonstrates the painstaking process of rotoscoping; enthusiastic commentary from Bakshi, who's a jovial, down-to-earth guy with a thick Brooklyn accent; deliriously fatuous diary notes from one of the actors; and a feature-length documentary called Frazetta: Painting with Fire, which reveals the artist to be more intriguing than any of the barbarians he's famous for. The effusive praise of other fantasy artists and "Frazetta historians" occasionally veers into Spinal Tap territory, but it's fascinating watching Frazetta turn from a 1950s James-Dean-style tough guy into the king of fantasy art. Though his work is often dismissed as adolescent kitsch, the documentary persuasively argues that Frazetta deservedly dominates his corner of the art world. --Bret Fetzer

Fire and Ice Limited Edition DVD
Fire and Ice Limited Edition DVD
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