Fire and Ice (1983)

Fire and Ice (1983), directed by Ralph Bakshi.

I'd never seen this Bakshi / Frank Frazetta sword and sorcery collaboration before.

A sorcerer sends glaciers and savage sub-humans south against the more temperate lands; Fire Keep is the opposing kingdom. We have a kidnapped busty and callipygian princess and her hunky young man, a mysterious avenger, and desperate attacks on the ice kingdom.

The story is a rudimentary account of boy meets girl, with much chasing, hiding, rescuing and fighting, but I had no trouble sticking with it. It's like a kid's action cartoon, although the violence is more brutal and the drawings more sexy than used to be done; I don't know what goes on now.

I was prepared to lampoon this as set near the Land of Beach Volleyball Babes adjacent to the Surfer Dudes, but it is better than that. The final attack on the ice fortress with our heroes mounted on pterodactyls is exciting.

The animation is of that "foreground figures against background paintings" type and is not very appealing. Bakshi had limited budgets and this production has an economical made-for-TV look. In the commentary he points out they didn't have the resources to present Frazetta paintings as such, so they did comic book versions. Maybe it was influential in low-budget he-man cartooning; I really don't know. Much live action is rotoscoped in.

The Blu-ray is from Blue Underground and has an abundance of audio tracks: DTS-HD, TrueHD, and Dolby Digital. Also a commentary track with the director. Since I've never seen it before I don't know how the image compares to previous editions.

The freewheeling commentary track makes the animation more interesting: a discussion of how difficult a lot of the techniques were at the time.