my kid could draw that
Asterix & Achmed
1. Astérix le Gaulois / Asterix the Gaul (Ray Goossens, 1967)
2. Astérix et Cléopâtre / Asterix and Cleopatra (René Goscinny/Albert Uderzo, 1968)
3. Les 12 travaux d'Astérix / The Twelve Tasks of Asterix (René Goscinny/Henri Gruel/Albert Uderzo, 1976)
4. Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed / The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926) (re-watch)
5. Fritz the Cat (1972) (re-watch)
6. Heavy Traffic (1973)
7. Wizards (1977) (re-watch)
8. The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Here's what I wrote about Bakshi in a thread a couple of years ago:
He was kind of a name when I was growing up and I remember seeing posters of the films, and probably reading about it in geeky places like Starlog - Americans of a certain age will remember - and for many years I always felt good seeing his name or an ad or a shot from one of his films; he was the nly "adult" animator visible on the American scene making moving in the 70s-80s, and I was a comic book & fantasy geek too so stuff like Fire and Ice, Wizards and his LOTR film were right up my alley.
Except they really weren't and they mostly suck. I guess I like F&I the most because of it's designs and it's reasonably well-directed, but even that isn't much beyond passable. I still remember how much I hated Cool World back in 92...
And I wrote some more in reply to Onderhond early in this thread. And now having seen and re-seen some more I can say...
Meh. The guy was doing something different, sure - he really was the only guy doing adult-oriented animation in the USA in the 70s-80s, at least the only one who was doing it in films that got major theatrical distribution. So he deserves credit for plowing this lonely road, it must have been difficult - and he stopped making films after the disaster that was Cool World in 1992 when he was only in his 40s; I guess he's spent his time painting since then. But his films weren't big hits - some, like Fritz and LOTR, were definitely successful, but they weren't monsters, and there just wasn't a big enough market for this kind of stuff in the USA either to give his career enough legs to keep him going, or to generate many newer animators to follow in his footsteps. And in 1989 The Little Mermaid came along, rejuvenated Disney, and we all know the rest. Adult animation continues to be a real rarity - almost a fool's game in this country (in the cinema - TV is a different matter to some extent).
Bakshi's films divide into two basic categories "street" films about generally working-class people (or anthropomorphic animal-people) trying to get by, fucking, doing drugs, and maybe occasionally drawing or playing music; and fantasies of the heroic-epic type. Cool World is an exception, sort of, if I'm remembering correctly - but was clearly modeled on the success of Roger Rabbit - and I haven't seen Hey Good Lookin' and probably won't bother this month - someday, for completion's sake, maybe. I can't say I like one category more or less than the other - I think he's equally suited, or un-suited as the case may be, to both basic genre-types. His main problem to my mind is that his characters are so often irritating and uninteresting, and they often seem to communicate his own obvious arrogance and ego (watch most interviews with him and you'll see what I mean). I always feel like I'm subtly being told I'm not cool enough when I'm watching a Bakshi film, because I don't think smoking dope or fucking every woman available or whatever is just cool all by itself. Maybe he's just a poor storyteller, and doesn't give his characters anything to do - or shows them doing it in ways that don't make sense or don't engender any interest in me. Maybe he's a beatnik who never grew up.
Fritz I'd have to say on this re-watch is definitely the best of the bunch. It's got a certain verve to it, great music (most of his contemporary-set films have pretty cool music), and it's not rotoscoped - it's traditional animation, perhaps primitive at times but having a cartoony feel as opposed to the odd mishmash of live-action-tracing that characterizes a lot of the later films. I love the dingy backgrounds, the feel of it is closer to the New York I first saw in 1982 than most live-action films of the 70s, and the longueurs of the story don't seem to matter much. Also I like Robert Crumb's art a lot, and while I suspect Bakshi doesn't get the particular cynical-romantic feel of Crumb right (been a long time since I've actually read any early Crumb), he does get the look down pretty well.
Heavy Traffic has a bit of an autobiographical text to it - the main character is a cartoonist in a low-rent New York neighborhood and is half-Jewish - but goes off in some surreal directions and deals a lot with race (he ends up going out with a black woman) and violence (there are mob elements throughout); it also has several live-action inserts and like Fritz uses real New York backgrounds, sometimes drawn-over and sometimes as photos. This is the part of Bakshi's style that usually doesn't work for me - this mixing of "real" backgrounds and animated foregrounds - though it's mostly OK in Fritz. Here it all just felt like a mishmash to me; to be fair I watched this fairly tired and I do feel like it could improve on reflection and another viewing - someday. Maybe.
Wizards just sucked, pretty much. The main problem for me - and I suspect a lot of people won't have this issue - is that the characters all talk like 70s Brooklyn residents, while the film is supposed to take place millions of years into a post-apocalyptic future, a sort of science-fantasy world. The dialogue just takes me right out of the story, which would be OK if it were meant to be a satire or comic, but it feels more like an attempt at an epic and it fails on every level, including the fact that the "quest" to destroy the Evil Wizard doesn't really get underway until about halfway through the 80-minute film. The Good Wizard - brother of the Evil Wizard and thousands of years old - sounds like Columbo and the fact that it all comes down to bad guys imitating Nazis is just lame. I will say that this is interesting for fans of fantasy in American comics - one of the artists who worked on it is Mike Ploog, who created his own comic series for Marvel Comics called "Weirdworld" right around this time - it only comprised two stories over four issues of a couple of different comics, but the art and characters designs have a striking similarity to parts of Wizards. Wendy and Richard Pini's independent comic "Elfquest" which began publication around the same time also has some visual similarities. Also, this marks Mark Hamill's film debut doing a couple of brief voice parts. The back story's more interesting than the film...
The Lord of the Rings is probably up to a 3rd viewing - don't ask me why. Maybe the last now. I don't think I saw it when it came out - I was either actually reading the novel for the first time then, or had just read it. The film did get quite wide distribution so I'd imagine it played here, so I'm not sure why I didn't see it then - but I did see it sometime in the 80s or 90s, and another time around, I dunno, 2005-7 or so. Glutton for punishment. Here we have the main characters all fully rotoscoped, so their movements and such look more "realistic", but to me that almost never actually means they look good - realistic fighting or dancing or singing with simplistic animated features just doesn't work for me - give me all-cartoony or all-live-action please. And the "background" characters are often rendered in a technique called "solarizing" (I learned that from the making-of doc on the dvd) where they take live action footage and sort of "burn" it. It doesn't necessarily look awful on it's own though it wouldn't be a preference for me - but when you combine it with the rotoscoped main characters, it just looks really weird and unattractive.
On the other hand, the voice work is pretty solid - acting has been a strong point in every LOTR or Hobbit adaptation I've seen (or heard - the 1981 BBC radio version of LOTR is quite stunning) and this is no exception. John Hurt seems like a weird choice for Aragorn until you hear him for a couple of minutes; Peter Woodthorpe voices Gollum for the first time (he repeated in the BBC radio version) and he gives Andy Serkis a run for his money. Michael Scholes' Sam is the only real disappointment - he takes the "yes sir, right with you sir, I'll lay down me life for you sir" business a mite too far - and the way he's animated with the missing teeth and ugly mug reminds me too much of Shane MacGowan. The backgrounds are fairly well done and the pacing is, well, decent I guess given that they're cramming 50 pages of material into every 5 minutes or so. And as mediocre as it all ends up being, I still wish Bakshi had managed to make the sequel - the Rankin/Bass TV version of The Return of the King is just an embarrassment, and that's coming from somebody who actually likes R/B most of the time, including their Hobbit.