‘Fire and Ice’ was a 1983 animated feature directed by the famed Ralph Bakshi known for his work on the Lord of the Rings, Fritz the cat and later Cool World. The film was based on the paintings of Frank Frazetta and featured some of his more popular recurring characters such as the Death Dealer. Artistically the film is a powerhouse of animation. At a time when most American animation endeavors were sub par, ‘Fire and Ice’ was practically a spectacle of rich backgrounds and detailed characters.
Some critics complain about Bakshi's heavy use of rotoscoping his characters movements, but I've always believed it aids the viewer in the suspension of disbelief. The scoping is handled well against the static scenes, doesn't fall into the problems that some modern films have had when mixing dynamic scene movement with rotoscoping characters. Anastasia is a good example of the later. While a great looking film, there are scenes were the characters movement looks unnatural as the audiences point of view moves around the scene, aided by computer generated backgrounds.
While stylistically exciting, especially so for fans of Bakshi or Franzetta, the plot of the story is so typical it has nearly become cliché. The Bad Guy, Nekron, (voiced by Sean Hannon, a man who's only other film credit is 'Large Creature' in the 1986 television movie 'Escapes.') is using his magical expanding fortress of ice to conquer the southern lands in a desperate bid to destroy the Fire Keep ruled by the Good King Jarol (voiced by Leo Gordon, whom you may remember as 'Joe the Blacksmith' from 'Big Top Pee-wee' or as the man Books shot in his flash back scene from 'The Shootist.'). Despite what Robert Frost believes, Nekron doesn't seem to believe that ice is sufficient and also employs a large army of pillaging sub humans.
Unfortunately for Nekron he made the mistake of destroying a small village and leaving one young man alive. Larn, (Voiced here by Randy Norton, the 'Jeep Guy' from 'Honky Tonk Freeway.') is of the proper age and physique for revenge and sets out to destroy Nekron despite the fact that he's dressed in nothing but a loincloth.
We know from the beginning, of course, that he shall succeed.
Nekron's no dummy though, and he knows that the best way to insure the success of his evil machinations is to kidnap Jarols's beautiful daughter Teegra (Cynthia Leake, famous for appearing in two episodes of 'CHiP's as two different characters in the same season.). Of course our young semi-nude hero must rescue her and fall in love.
What follows is a titanic and magical battle between good and evil. Very pretty, but no one is fooled, and the Hero wins.
Sometime in 1984 (or was it 85?) my mother took us down to the local theater in Wasilla to see 'The Great Muppet Caper". Wasilla is a little town in Alaska and at the time the only movie theater was a little fifty seater in a commercial center that couldn't really be called a strip mall. It was abreast of a hardware store and a feed and tackle shop. The outside doors opened straight into the theater without the civility of a lobby and there was no restroom. Mann's this was not.
Upon arriving, we found that the film was being shown as a double feature with 'Fire and Ice.' No one had known about it and my mother decided she had made a crafty selection and received two movies for the price of one. 'Fire and Ice' played first and my mother’s opinion changed almost immediately.
My mother is a Puritanical Poster Child. I was surprised she was taking us to see a secular movie, she must have presumed the Muppets incapable of allying with Satan, no one was more surprised than her when the animated heroes and heroines began prancing around nearly nude. Teegra's sheer costume was little more than a scarf that strategically covered her naughty bits but left her nipples poking through the thin material. To avoid being called a complete hussy around the Fire Keep, she also wore a terribly small bikini bottom. I recall she was curvy, voluptuous, divine.
My mother started speaking in tongues and I thought the demons might escape this time, but I was oblivious to all save Teegra's pokey breast caps. It was a sexual assault that my pre-pubescent brain could barely handle. Had I known the fire of desire I probably would have peaked right there in the theater. Unfortunately for my recently possessed mother we had to sit through the entire show before we could watch the Muppets. Mom wasn't about to waste money by walking out, so I was treated to the entire animated flesh fest.
Since then I've always wondered why these two films were part of a double feature. At the time I simply assumed that the drunken reprobate that ran the theater simply assumed that a cartoon was a kids film, no matter what its content was, and deserved to be shown with another kids film. While researching this node though I discovered that Cynthia Leake was also part of the cast of 'The Great Muppet Caper.' I find it difficult to believe that whomever was in charge of the theater could know that though. Strange coincidence?
I only saw the movie that one time. It was crystal clear in my mind for so long that I didn't need to see it again. Ralph Bakshi practically formed my early adult conceptions about the female body and Teegra was frequently the guest at the fantasy parties that boiled between my ears.
In recent years I've had the opportunity to rent the movie and view it again. I've always resisted that impulse because I'm positive it was a horrible movie. The fairy of hindsight assures me that this movie was terrible and could only induce the lust of a cloistered teenager. I want to remember it the way it was on that one gray afternoon when Bakshi introduced me to boobies.
My Thanks to IMDB.com and the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church for information included in this wu.