Fire and Ice (1983)
|Category||Animation||Menu Animation & Audio|
|Year Of Production||1983|
|Running Time||78:16 (Case: 82)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Ralph Bakshi|
Producers Sales Org
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.66:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Ralph Bakshi has brought us many interesting examples of animation, probably the most infamous being Fritz The Cat with a close second being the half-finished Lord Of The Rings (obviously infamous for very different reasons). He also directed Cool World amongst others. Fire and Ice was produced in 1983 and as with much of Bakshi's work it has a loyal cult following as well as an equal number that dislike it.
The style of the animation is very distinctive. Based on the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta (see http://frazettaartgallery.com/ff/index.html for examples of his work - warning: nude drawings), we have a world populated by muscled heroes, incredibly voluptuous women (usually wearing only the minimum of attire), and incredibly rich and detailed backgrounds.
Other material I have seen about this film mention Bakshi's love of rotoscoping. This is a technique where initially a sequence is acted out by real people and this is filmed. Every second frame is then printed out on an animation cel and the artists then trace over the real characters with the animated character. This again gives a distinctive feel to the animation as it is based on true human movement. Certainly parts of this film have that feel. The other interesting thing is that the IMDB claims that Fire and Ice was originally produced in 3D. I did not see the original release so cannot confirm if it was released in 3D at some point. It would certainly be interesting to see it in 3D.
The storyline is fairly straightforward: there is an evil dark ice lord that is trying to take over the world in the distant future where another ice age has begun. The last vestiges of man have gathered around a series of volcanoes but the glaciers are slowly approaching, pushed on by the ice lord's powers. A beautiful princess is kidnapped but escapes while being transported to the ice lord. While on the run, she meets a young man, and when she is recaptured the young man vows to rescue her. He is aided in his quest by a mysterious masked man. All combatants finally meet in the final climactic battle between good and evil.
While a simple tale, it does have a certain appeal; the simple, if slightly gory, battle between pure evil and pure good is one that can be enjoyed by not expecting too much. Far more enjoyable are the beautiful visuals in some scenes. While some may find the animation strange, the whole, including a very good musical score, is greater than the parts.
The disc is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness is pretty good overall and the shadow detail is excellent. There is a very small amount of low level noise but this will be visible only on the largest screens.
Colours are excellent. There is a very wide and rich palette used, particularly in the backgrounds. The characters tend to be a single colour and rely on the outlines to provide their form and texture. This contrast with the background can be distracting for some but is a feature of this kind of animation.
There are some very minor MPEG artefacts. Some of the scene changes show signs of pixelization such as at 32:58 as does the movement in the scene at 33:15. These are very minor and should not be distracting. The source is in amazing condition as far as grain is concerned with only a very minor amount of grain visible. Minor film artefacts are present with some flecks and dust motes visible but again, much less than I expected. There is some very slight aliasing present but unfortunately the worst problem is a constant telecine wobble that is present throughout the entire transfer. This became quite distracting in still scenes where it is most obvious.
There are no subtitles and this is a single layered disc, so there is no layer change.
There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack on this disc.
Dialogue quality is excellent throughout.
Towards the start of the disc, there are a couple of scenes where the dialogue is not quite in sync with the animation but I don't think that this is the fault of the transfer. From this point on, everything was pretty much spot on.
The music is wonderful - a full, sweeping orchestral accompaniment to the titanic battle on screen that is well-matched to the mood and feel of the film.
There was no surround activity.
The subwoofer received a surprising amount of redirected material, supporting the soundtrack and the on-screen special effects. There is some quite deep and rumbling bass present for your enjoyment.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
It would appear that we have the jump on Region 1 for once as I can find no information on a release over there. This is a little surprising as there are petition sites begging for the release of this feature on DVD.
While this is a sexist and somewhat simple story aimed at the young male market (I will probably be flamed for that) it is an enjoyable romp with some great music and some beautiful fantasy art.
The video is amazing for the age of the material.
The audio is great.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Skyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||B&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)|