Wow. Two seconds in, and I'm already disappointed.
Okay, okay, I'll shut up about Bakshi.... until he does something to offend me. I'm sure it won't take long.
... team up to fight crime!
So it has the same ye-oldey-looking red-on-black text that "Lord of the Rings" had, but with a score that seems to have multiple personalities. It starts off as a hard-rock instrumental, turns into a screeching mess, graduates into an orchestral march, apparently into a victory song with lots of trumpets, followed by a very sinister drumroll. I guess Mr. Bakshi really likes Sean Hannon, because that dude gets the Trumpets of Triumph.
Wow, these credits are staggeringly boring. It's just red-on-black text. We don't even get any images in between the names to keep our interest - it's like if the Star Wars opening scroll was just composed of names, and it went on for two whole minutes. The music is trying REALLY HARD to tell us that something interesting is happening, but it's not.
... except Florida. For some reason, she didn't want that.
Which is started off in a voice like the narrator is trying to seduce us, and then it turns into a grumpy old lady voice.
Anyway, Juliana is your basic evil queen who will probably be offed because, well, evil kings can triumph, but never evil queens. It's the misogynist fantasy rule.
Also, she apparently rules naked.
"Yes, this IS my official outfit. Why do you ask?"
Yeah, I think I forgot to mention that Frank Frazetta was a producer, costume designer (snicker) and writer on this film. If you don't know who Frank Frazetta is, he was basically a pulp sf/f artist who liked to draw women with almost no clothes on and big muscular he-men. Here's a sample:
The Martian Christmas family photo
And now you know what you're in for. Wow, he really made Dejah Thoris look fat. Look at those love handles over her bikini bottom.
To this end, she gathered an army.
Sadly, the Uruk-hai were booked, so she had to settle for generic-brand orcs.
And yes, while this is happening, we see some sepia-toned pencil sketches of Julianna and her orc minions. I'm sure they have another name, but we all look at them and think "orc."
By the way, this whole pencil-sketch thing is SO LAZY. Not quite as lazy as the background information in Lord of the Rings, where we just had some guys in cloaks posing while Bakshi put burlap on the camera. But when your animated movie has no actual animation at first... you're not gonna grab the audience.
And she bore a son and named him Nekron.
- And he would be much tormented at school, for no kid could have a name like that and NOT get a swirlie.
- She wants to take over the world... so she has a baby. Pretty sure those things aren't really connected.
- I think the narrator is drunk.
- And look at this picture:
"Very good, Nekron. You get an A in skull levitating."
Okay, in the background we have Julianna and her tits, and in the foreground we have... someone levitating a skull. Were they so lazy they couldn't bother to put in a picture of Julianna and baby Nekron?
And him she tutored in the black arts and in the powers of the mind.
"Now Nekron, today I'm going to show you how to mind-rape in the name of God..."
And when Nekron came of age... and attained mastery of those powers...
I didn't know that magical powers were something you got on your majority.
together they seized control of the region of Ice.
And then they made plans to move, because the region of Ice is cold and sucky.
And from their castle called Ice Peak, they sent a giant glacier rumbling southward.
... said while showing THIS.
"Happy birthday to yooouuu..."
Orcs are not a glacier. I'm starting to think Mr. Bakshi doesn't understand that narration and the images the audience sees need to go together. It's not quite as bad as Krull, but still pretty bad.
No village or people could stand against its relentless onslaught. And so the remnants of humanity fled south and huddled for warmth among the volcanoes...
- Pretty sure "south" is warm because of its closeness to the equator, not because it has volcanoes.
- And hanging around next to ONE active volcano, let alone SEVERAL, a stupid idea. Think toxic gases and lots of ash, not to mention lava.
- Also, if these people are from a cold region, why are they almost naked?
of a mountain region ruled by a generous king named Jarol...
Who gives a fuck if he's generous? He's a pervert!
Remember these characters. They look nothing like this.
See the almost naked chick lounging around with her tits flopping around? That is his DAUGHTER. Sick sick sick.
from his fortress, which men called Fire Keep.
And which women called "That Big Phallic Building."
And still Nekron pushed the Ice ever southward...
... while nursing his hangover.
"I knew that I shouldn't have asked for vodka on the rocks while living on a giant glacier..."
And why is he not wearing any pants? No wonder he's the villain! He's probably pissed that he's sitting on a giant glacier, and he has no pants.
into the temperate zone toward Fire Keep.
Because when you think "Fire," you think "temperate." And people in temperate zones wear tiny loinclothes and G-strings all the time! I know that's what I'm wearing! You're welcome for that image!
And no one dared guess at the outcome of a meeting on the field of battle...
But they were placing bets anyway.
And now, 3 minutes and 14 seconds into this ANIMATED FEATURE MOVIE, we finally get some animation. It's this:
"Should have... eaten... more... fiber!"
Embarrassing. I hate it when I'm supervillaining on the toilet, and people come barging in.
Also... THAT is Nekron? We saw a picture of him before, and he looked nothing like this. Did he get sick? Was it evil magic? Did they toss out the original sketches for him and come up with something totally different? Either way, he looks really gross.
between Fire and Ice.
Thanks for the title drop, lady. We get it. You mentioned Ice and Fire plenty of times now.
So what is Nekron doing? He is... and I'm not joking... driving a glacier across the land at a pants-crapping 50 MPH. Apparently those inconveniently-placed mountains aren't standing in the way or anything. And the whole time he's tossing himself orgasmically about in his chair.
Also, this is happening:
Giant phallic icicles are thrusting up from the glacier as he zooms towards a giant camp of muscular half-naked men. And when those giant phallicicles break... they spew white liquid.
I don't even know if I can joke about that. Or if I already did.
So the humans are clinging to this really rickety battlement, with spears and bows and arrows and everybody is wearing a loincloth JUST BECAUSE.
"We're being invaded by giant sparkly cold white penises! Alert Stephenie Meyer!"
Hold your positions, men. Steady.
"Just because we're a bunch of handsome buff seminude men being attacked by a whole glacier of phallicicles controlled by a fey villain doesn't mean we're screwed... uh... fucked... uh... look, just don't bend over, and you'll be okay."
Apparently Blond Guy's incredibly bored-sounding command doesn't work for one of the soldiers, who promptly decides to run for it. But he stops long enough to drop his mace, conveniently in front of our hero, who has just finished his appointment at the hair salon.
Seriously. Don't bend over.
So the guy with the 70s necklace, gypsy earrings and fabulous hair is Lam, our hero. He is not lessening the gay undertones that are flooding this movie... and we're only four minutes in. For real.
The less fabulous guy runs away, and Lam makes a face that I think is anger, but might be constipation. Then he picks up the mace and runs up to help the others stop the magically propelled glacier... with their arrows, spears and axes. You know, I'm starting to think that these people didn't actually have a plan.
"Dad, why are we trying to fight a glacier?" "Shaddup."
Wow. There's more man-ass there than at a Speedo modeling show. No wonder Nekron has so many phallicicles.
Lam, it cannot be stopped. Join your brother.
- Could you please say that with a little LESS enthusiasm?
- About ten seconds ago - real time in the movie, no cuts! - he said they should hold their ground. Now he's telling his son to run for it.
- Shouldn't they ALL be running for it? This isn't like an army where you can buy people time by killing some of the enemy. You literally aren't doing anything by standing up there waiting to die.
- Yes... the magically-propelled glacier can't be stopped. Especially by stone-age weapons.
- Again, did they have an actual plan, or did they just figure they could scare the glacier into going away by waving pointy sticks at it?
Lam starts scowling at the glacier like this will actually help, and all I can pay attention to is his luxuriantly-coiffed hair and giant earrings.
"My manly jaw will defeat the glacier!"
Oh, and see that little black thing up on the mountaintop? That is important, so remember it for later. Also, it's incredibly disproportionate - that mountain is pretty far away, yet we can clearly see what is standing on it. Unless that person is forty feet tall, it doesn't make sense.
And even though there is a giant glacier about to flatten them all, Lam notices the Mysterious Figure.
"Can someone direct me to the Renfaire?"
Nekron continues grunting and panting on his throne of evil, while the glacier repeatedly rams into something, and really... he reminds me of someone. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I know I've seen someone like this before. Including the uncomfortable sexual scenes.
And then he orgasms. A bunch of the phallicicles explode in a spray of white liquid. THERE ARE JIZZ NOISES.
And I die inside. Nekron's O-face was not something I ever wanted to think about.
Well, his icejaculation freaks out the natives, who understandably look scared about the prospect of being buggered by a glacier. And... well, they sort of ARE. The icejaculations cause giant (ice) balls to rain down on them, throwing the buff handsome men to the ground and knocking them senseless with their power.
Nekron then sits down on his throne of evil, looking... and I'm not kidding here... like his ass really hurts and he's being careful with it.
Then we see Mysterious Axe-Wielding Figure. He is doing nothing. This is apparently an ongoing thing with him.
Finally we pan down to the village that all the buff muscular seminude men were trying to protect. People start... war-whooping or yipping or something.... and then... Neanderthals invade.
"We heard there was free lunch!"
Yeah... this injects kind of an uncomfortable vibe into the story. Because while everybody we've seen is pretty primitive, the good guys are strapping blonde muscular white men... and the minions of evil are barbaric dark-skinned-dark-haired animalistic primitives who like to rape women and have animal teeth. Also, they scream like chimps.
The blonde guys immediately run for it, and anyone who tries to fight immediately gets their ass handed to them.
"I only had two days left til retirement!"
And we have a buff seminude man being killed by having a long hard rod thrust into his body.
Also, though you can't see it here, the guy doesn't bleed. He just falls down in a pose that shows he waxes his armpits, and there's no blood. Actually, looking at that picture above, it looks like the spear might have gone under his freshly-waxed pit... meaning he's just playing dead. Maybe he didn't want the Neanderthal minion to feel bad about his crappy aim.
And where is our hero?
"I tripped and concussed myself on his muscled ass!"
... he's playing dead with his head pillowed against another man's ass. And no, we never find out why he was unconscious, especially since he ISN'T HURT.
Meanwhile, Axe-Man is still watching and doing nothing. And I think his horse is crapping.
Meanwhile, at the One-Eyed Frog-Face of Evil...
Imagine how much wind blows through there.
Not quite sure why you'd fashion your fortress like that. It seems like the wind would come blowing in. And since Nekron is not wearing pants and he lives in a fucking ice fortress, that could lead to major shrinkage.
Anyway, Nekron is nursing another postcoital hangover, while the bodies of attractive seminude men and giant thick logs are lying on the ice. He summons another phallicicle and squashes the men flat with it. I think.
And then Julianna appears.
You have done well, my son.
"You squished those primitives who couldn't possibly fight back against us. Like a boss!"
And... wait, is that really Julianna?
"Mommy needs some vodka on the rocks... and we have plenty of ice already!"
She's... wearing clothes! I didn't know that was possible for a woman in a Frank Frazetta movie! Even if her dress IS slit up to her waist.
So it turns out that Julianna is the narrator from the beginning, and her voice is... weird. It's this high-pitched old-lady voice, and she always sounds like she's drunk off her ass. I guess that's why Nekron is the only one who drives the glacier. If Julianna drove it, she'd crash it right into a volcano.
The North Village has fallen. We have won.
... won what? We saw the village, and it's about a dozen little thatched huts. That's like winning over an anthill.
I want to thank you, Mother.
"I finally lost my virginity!"
"Eww, don't tell me that! Mama needs another bottle of Grey Goose to wash that out of her head."
The Great Plain is all that stands between ourselves and Fire Keep.
That is a long distance.
"And there are no hot semi-naked men along the way! How am I going to keep motivated?"
Well, to be fair to Nekron, he and his mane of luxuriant white hair do look very tired.
A distance we may not have to travel.
... or you could, you know, travel some way OTHER than via a glacier. Just sayin'.
I am sending our envoys to Jarol with our new demands.
"Including, but not limited to, all the booze I can drink and lots of pretty men for both of us!"
He will not submit.
I don't want to hear Nekron talking about submission. He just buggered dozens of attractive men with giant icicles.
It's even worse when he makes this face.
Ugh. Never make that face again.
He's a Noble King. Of course he won't submit. They never do.
And then suddenly the Generic-Brand Nazgul Lizard Men are standing behind Julianna. They weren't there before, so apparently they move like ninjas.
You will present our demands to King Jarol at Fire Keep and... give our royal regards to his lovely daughter.
Would the forces of evil PLEASE stop fueling my nightmares with their creepy-ass smiles? Those are even worse than Nekron's! And why does Julianna have botox forehead?
Meanwhile, down on the fields which are suddenly a mile or two away, the Neanderthals are looting the corpses of the well-coiffed blond men. Some in a creepy way.
"I shall love him and pet him and call him Gug."
Normally this wouldn't make me look twice, but this is only seven minutes in, and already it feels gayer than a pride parade. Also, why were all these men wearing gold jewelry to get slaughtered by a glacier? Shouldn't they leave valuable stuff with their families so that the families can have some money if the warriors get killed?
But oh look! The racist depictions of Neanderthals have captured a comely Cro-Magnon blonde wearing a fetching miniskirt that manages to reveal most of her ass.
"This is the LAST time I try Internet dating. Tall, dark and rugged, my exposed ass!"
One of them whacks her with a spear, and they seem amused that she falls to her knees. Then they start pawing at her, and she goes from defiant to timid.
Meanwhile, that one Neanderthal guy rips an earring off a corpse, then goes wandering off to look for more lootable jewelry. Apparently the dead guy's necklace totally baffled him, because he didn't even try pulling it over his head.
The most important character in the movie... Lam's dingdong
Hmm, yes. We don't have enough slow crotch-to-chest pans in movies. And no, there was NOT any reason to start the pan at his crotch. Nothing happens down there on his dick... or on his bare chest. We just get a pan over them.
I can only speculate on this. Ralph Bakshi inserted a lot of gay overtones into his Lord of the Rings movie, and Frank Frazetta apparently had a massive gay fanbase (look at the above John Carter illustration to see why), so I gotta wonder if this was to appeal to a gay audience. Really, really blatantly.
But it's a little distracting when every single scene is filled with homoeroticism (or in the case of Teegra, massive incesty ick!) and I have to describe the sexual imagery. Honestly, I'd be just as distracted if Julianna were orgasmically attacking them with great sucking maws shaped like vaginas. Can't they just tell the story without icegasms and phallicicles? And butts? Ugh, the butts haven't even reached their peak yet...
Anyway, back to the story.
"Five more minutes, mom..."
WAKE UP, YOU SACK OF SHIT. Seriously, he isn't even hurt. Did he trip and knock himself out on that guy's butt? Or did he decide to take a nap and use a convenient corpse for a pillow?!
So while the grunting Neanderthal is checking out a bright red shield, Lam FINALLY wakes up. Bout time. To his credit, he doesn't immediately leap up and give himself away; he looks around carefully and waits for the Neanderthal to come closer, while painstakingly reaching for his mace. Then he kills him in one blow. BADASS!
But then another Neanderthal comes rushing at him with a club.
"Behold my mighty Cheeto of death!"
And I mean INSTANTLY. The body has barely hit the ground, and this guy is already rushing at him with a club.
Lam has somehow managed to lose his mace, so he picks up a spear and flings it right at the rotoscoped Neanderthal, who does in the least dignified manner possible without actually shitting yourself.
"Curses! Who could ever have guessed that being impaled by a long hard shaft would be my undoing?"
He makes this long gaspy noise with his mouth wide open. But then again... look at the angle of that spear. It sure doesn't look like it stabbed him through, unless he's deliberately hurting himself more by shifting the blade around inside his body. Is he faking it to make Lam feel better?
The answer of course is that this was rotoscoped. Bakshi had a real fascination for rotoscoping, wherein he would film the actors doing their thing, and then trace animation around them. The downside is that often it becomes kind of obvious when the actors were just holding plastic spears and pretending to die.
Personally, I don't like rotoscoping. And yes,I know it was used in many classic movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and frankly I hated it there too. Animation has its own "speed" and fluidity of motion that is different from live-action. Imagine how weird live-action acting would be if it followed anime movement conventions! It would be like Kung Fu Hustle!
Naturally, the dying Neanderthal's very loud roars - which are getting louder instead of quieter - alert his buddies.
"I only had two days left til retirement!"
For the love of fuck, just DIE already. Who knew getting stabbed in the chest took so long to kill ya?!
He expires, just a LITTLE too late to keep him from FLASHING HIS CROTCH at us. Forget Nekron's O-face, I do not need to see this guy's unwashed nads.
Another Neanderthal charges at Lam with a spear, while Lam is... looking somewhere else. And the three who are snickering and drooling over the Cro-Magnon girl belatedly realize that hey, there's a blonde guy out there making them look unattractive. Time to kill him!
"LET ME LOVE YOU!"
I'm still not clear on why someone from a frigid arctic region would wear a tiny loincloth that exposes his asscheeks. You know, aside from fanservice.
So all the Neanderthals start running away, while Sir Blonde Ponytail runs like a timid rabbit in front of a weird blurry matte background. Seriously, I do not know what that is!
Seriously, what is that? What does it represent? It looks like someone ate an artist's palette and threw up on the animation cels!
Our Hero bravely runs away, away, bravely chickens out as the Neanderthals keep chasing him, until he reaches a sinister-looking jungle. I shall call it Fangorn. He runs right inside, of course, with the Neanderthals directly behind him.
Yes, the best way to capture someone is to grab his ass and caress it. Not, say, grab one of those legs hanging down and yank on it. Or leap up an inch or two and wrap your arms around his torso so you can drag him back. Nope, ass is the way to go.
I would love to say this isn't even subtext anymore, but I gotta question whether it ever was. This is TEXT, massive and glowing in the dark. When we got the orgasmic phallic icicles, subtlety died a horrible death.
Lam promptly climbs a massive tree, where he will be adopted by the intelligent apes and become king of the jungle. Kreegah bundolo! Sorry, wrong ripped seminude man.
Anyway, the Neanderthals start climbing after him, although they are a lot slower.
"Hey Treebeard, now would be a good time for a rescue..."
I love how ANNOYED he looks by his current predicament, like it's a huge inconvenience that everyone has been slaughtered and he's being chased by minions of evil.
The Neanderthals keep chasing him, and it becomes painfully obvious that these are just guys painted green. Apparently Bakshi didn't bother to rotoscope in the stereotypical beastly faces over the actors' own when they're climbing, so it looks like Lam is getting attacked by a bunch of Swampbenders.
So he climbs, and he climbs, and he scrambles, and I honestly can't tell where he's going.
"I learned archery just to get the fangirls!"
They start shooting at him, and Commando-style, they cannot hit him even though his pale asscheeks are hanging out like a pair of targets. Actually, he doesn't blend into the forest at all, whereas the Neanderthals are shades of brown and green. Kind of a disadvantage.
Then one of the Neanderthals corners him on a tree branch, and OH MAN the animation is bad. They're both twitching back and forth like they have some kind of muscle disease. And the Neanderthal manages to stab at... AND MISS... Lam even though they're about six inches apart. Seriously. Not even a scratch.
Instead, Lam almost falls off the branch, and spends an eternity trying to climb back on.
Did I mention the Neanderthal is still there? And he just sits on his ass, cackling evilly? Why is he not stomping on Lam's arms to make him fall? Even if the fall didn't kill him, it would incapacitate him!
Also, I just realized Neanderthal dude looks kind of like Goro from Mortal Kombat. They even have the same ponytail and skin color.
Anyway, Neanderthal dude decides that instead of stomping on Lam's arms to make him fall, he wants to stab him... while most of his vital organs are a few feet BELOW the branch. I'm starting to see why they went extinct. So instead, Lam grabs him and pulls him over the edge... and like a dumbass, Neanderthal Goro doesn't grab Lam and hang on for dear life.
We then get an incredibly confusing shot of a bunch of Neanderthals swinging and leaping on vines. At first I thought Goro had grabbed a vine to save himself, but then I thought that it was someone else. Such confusing, choppy animation.
They continue throwing pointy things while Lam continues climbing, and I assume this tree is the size of a redwood because he climbs FAST. And again, nobody ever hits him even though he's like a big pink target wearing a Speedo.
"I've climbed on every tree in this forest, and I STILL haven't found an Ent!"
Again, I love his peeved face. I think that's supposed to be the face of determination, but he just looks like he got in a traffic jam and is going to be ten minutes late.
And then, oh joy of joys, he finds a vine. This is like some sort of primordial Tarzan story, but with more G-strings.
"Whatever it is, at least it's not a phallic object!"
And for some reason there's a giant-ass canyon directly below it, complete with carron-eating birds and FUCK IT, WHY ARE THOSE THERE?
A Crappy Cacophony of Cock!
Can we please leave behind the phallic imagery for ONE SECOND? We were just getting into a dumb but real action scene, and now our hero has to escape by swinging over giant stone wangs.
But Lam has no choice, since the Neanderthals are directly behind him... and one of them is holding his knife between his teeth like a pirate. Say...
That is a VERY modern-looking knife he's got there. Like, picked-it-up-from-the-sporting-goods-store modern.
And to add insult to injury, the Neanderthals have also started coming up the vines that he needs to escape from this place over the vast Dong Mountains. He kicks the one sneaking behind him, and he promptly goes down like Kim Kardashian in front of a black athlete. Really, these Neanderthals have no stamina. You kick them once, and they're dead.
Lam contemplates the Crest Of Cocks, and then leaps off.
I love that guy's expression. It's pretty much the ONLY logical reaction to that.
Lam plummets past WHY THE FUCK IS THAT NEANDERTHAL NOT WEARING PANTS?
I'm okay, I'M OKAY. It's just that between Nekron's O-face, the creepy smiles and now the misshapen naked netherparts of the villainous minions, I've been exposed to a lot of nasty crap.
So Lam plummets down into the canyon toward the stone pillars, which look slightly less penislike from this angle. And he... lands on some convenient vines that break his fall instead of... breaking him. So he lands on the Earth again, which is a pleasant mishmash of pinks, greens, greys, blues and reds. I don't know why.
"Worst... BASE-jump... ever..."
Oh, and his magnificent locks are untousled by FALLING OFF A CLIFF. Not kidding.