Fire and Ice (1983)

Fire and Ice is a movie packed with talent. You have the union of Ralph Bakshi, whose films American PopCool World, The Lord of the RingsFritz the CatHeavy Traffic and Wizards redefined animation in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Then you have perhaps one of America’s — if not the world’s — foremost fantasy artists in Frank Frazetta. Throw in a script by Roy Thomas and Gary Conway, Marvel Comics scribes who wrote a good chunk of the Conan adaptions that the House of Ideas released. Then gather an array of animators and painters, including Dinotopia creator James Gurney, Aeon Flux creator Peter Chung and even Thomas Kinkade, the painter of light whose mass marketed works are in suburban homes everywhere.

The look of Fire and Ice was achieved by rotoscoping, a process in which the action is filmed, then traced onto animation cels. This is probably the best realization of Bakshi’s technique, as the faces look incredibly human while retaining some cartoon emotion.

In Icepeak, Queen Juliana and her son Nekron unleash a wave of glaciers that continually push humanity further and further south toward the equator. King Jarol, the leader of Firekeep, is asked to surrender but it’s all a trick to kidnap his daughter, Princess Teegra, who Juliana wants her son to marry. However, he rejects that plan and the peace that it would bring to the world.

Teegra makes her escape and she and Larn, the only survivor of a village destroyed by those pesky glaciers and Nekron’s subhumans, try to make it back to Firekeep. However, she gets recaptured and he’s left for dead, only to be saved by the mysterious Darkwolf, who is pretty much Barbarian Batman.

Man, just like Conquestthis is another fantasy film where the guy helping the hero is way cooler than the hero!

Will they save Teegra and Firepeak? Will there be giant dinosaurs? Will Teegra wear the flimsiest of bikinis that somehow manages to stay on? Will Darkwolf kill everything in his path? Or course. But that doesn’t mean that this movie is slow or boring! It’s 81 minutes of Frazetta coming to life — evil monsters, voluptuous women, swordplay and lots of violence.

As recently as 2014, Robert Rodriguez has discussed making a live action version of this. Bakshi wanted nothing to do with it, but he and Frazetta agreed to license the rights to the filmmaker right before Frazetta’s death.

Blue Underground finally released this on DVD in 2005. You can grab a copy at Diabolik DVD or watch the film on Amazon Prime.

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