From the Bowels of Netflix: “Fire and Ice” contains great animation but so-so story and characters
Journey back to a time long forgotten in “Fire and Ice,” when noted fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta and animator Ralph Bakshi decided to cash in on the recent trend of fantasy films following in the wake of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s run as Conan the Barbarian.
This strange film is set in a distant age, before the dawn of Rome (and pants, apparently. No, I’m serious. The loin cloth is high fashion in this world). The evil queen Juliana and her son Nekron plot to take over the world … by running over everything with magical controlled glaciers. Okay…
The remaining resisting kingdom, Fire Keep, is literally built into the side of a volcano. (Yes, they’ve managed to create architecture as complex and delicate as anything that could be built today, but couldn’t figure out pants.) Realizing that their usual tactic of steamrolling over the area with giant blocks of ice won’t work, Nekron and mummy send a delegation to negotiate with King Jarol, and by “negotiate” I mean “kidnap the king’s daughter Teegra” a graduate of the Jessica Rabbit’s School for Jumpstarting Puberty in Young Boys.
Teegra manages to escape and meet up with Larn, a strapping young lad whose village was destroyed by Nekron in the opening scene. They bond, they eat, they fight a giant squid, and then Teegra gets captured again. Luckily, Larn meets up with Darkwolf, who is half-Batman, half-Conan. Together, they learn about friendship, and by friendship, I mean “stabbing people.”
First, the good: the animation is excellent. The movie uses the rotoscoping technique that was also used in Bakshi’s 1978 “Lord of the Rings” adaptation and the original “Prince of Persia” game. This makes the character’s movement much more life-like.
I also like Teegra, for an easily kidnapped princess/eye candy, is pretty good at taking care of herself. She escapes from her captors the first time by stabbing them in the heart with a stick. Oh, yes, there is a lot stabbing in this movie, and slashing and hacking. If there was bit more blood, then I seriously doubt that they could have gotten away with a PG rating.
Now, for the bad: the characters are mostly bland stocks. Well, they’re not actually bad, but there’s little time spent on their characterization. They’re just … there. Especially Darkwolf, who we know nothing of, and never learn anything about. Hell, the only reason I know he’s called “Darkwolf’ is because I read it on Wikipedia. We never learn why he’s doing any of this or what his stake in the conflict is. Is he just bored? I mean, cool as he is, I’d like to understand why I should care about him as anything other than vehicle for entertaining axe murderers. And Nekron seems a bit bored with all this “evil sorcerer” stuff. It’s his mom that’s making all the plans and plots here. He just seems to want to stab things. This is kind of an interesting dynamic, but who ever heard of an evil overlord with an overbearing mother?
So, to sum up my thoughts on “Fire & Ice” a.k.a. “Adventures in Loin Cloth Land,” it’s not painful to watch, but I wouldn’t do it unless you’re really bored, or have friends over to make jokes at its expense.