No, not the Robert Frost poem, this animated collaboration between Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta was something of a dud back in 1983, and it’s not hard to see why. The public interest in sword and sorcery didn’t last long, and despite hits like Conan the Barbarian, there was little sign of the interest in boobs and dragons that would later blossom into Game of Thrones. Fire and Ice used rotoscoping to draw onto motion-captured images, heady stuff for the 80’s, but the results are decidedly mixed, even with nostalgia-glasses set to the max.
Part of the problem here is the slavish obsession with Star Wars; the story structure featured here is almost identical. Princess Teegra is kidnapped by the evil Nekron , and the heroic Lam sets out to rescue her. Every Luke needs a Han, and Lam gets an assist from the mysterious Darkwolf on his quest. Nekron and his pushy mom Juliana plan to take over the realm using their ability to advance ice, but as erotic sparks fly between Lam and Teegra, the fiery power of desire is an antidote to the chilly aggression of evil.
Fire and Ice would not be made like this today; no star names in the voice-overs, no cute side-kicks and a strange emphasis on sex. Last week I hailed Black Widow as the most posterior-obsessed film ever made, but I retract that humbly having seen Fire and Ice, in which barely a scene goes by without taut male and female buttocks featured. Frazetta had made something of a successful thing of sexualising male and female forms, as had Bakshi, but the results here are too sexy for kids while the story is too way clunky for adults.
With a He-Man hero and some startling backgrounds, which often look to be of Pixar standards, there’s some amusements in tracing Fire and Ice’s place in the fantasy canon. They had the right idea, but the wrong execution, and the result didn’t make back its budget at the box-office. A cult-canon has followed, but unless awful plot mechanics are your thing, this is best remembered as a technical breakthrough rather than a great work of storytelling.