Haven't seen this for along time but really enjoyed seeing it again. Another brilliant Bakshi rotoscope animation which looks even better and more fluid than his famous 'LOTR' film. The plot is basic and the whole thing plays out a little too quickly (1h 18min) but the direct and simple fairytale approach really seems to work well despite being silly.
The look of the film is like 'LOTR' in design and colour schemes, its vibrant in places, eerie in others and shows nice clear details throughout. It does feel like there could be much more to see in this world, you just wanna see it expand further with more creatures and adventures. As said the film is kinda limited and short, a sequel would of been just the ticket.
Really this could easily be a chapter from the 'LOTR' franchise with names like 'Fire Keep', 'Nekron', 'Darkwolf', 'Teegra', 'Larn' etc...Bakshi having done 'LOTR' prior obviously helped a lot here. His approach has been refined as has the animators skills and techniques. There is also a clear 'Conan' feeling running through this too thanks to writers from 'Marvel', its pure 80's fantasy to a tee with great graphic novel visuals, a living comic way back before the likes of 'Sin City'.
Again like 'LOTR' the voice work is great and really makes the whole thing more than just a cartoon. The rotoscoping is much better and looks more realistic (quite eerie actually), the film is much more adult in style and action, plenty of blood and killing. A pre-runner to modern adaptations if you ask me, not at all for kids, more along the lines of 'The Beastmaster' perhaps.
This is great fun and could really be a decent adult fantasy live action film if made correctly, but I stress ADULT only. 'Teegra' must be running around in her skimpy thong and straddling a Pterodactyl if this is gonna work for live action haha.
A real sense of many barbarian fantasy films from back in the day including a taste of 'He-Man', of course 'Conan' rings true over everything else. That doesn't detract from this what so ever, as an original creation Bakshi has done an amazing job to bring this together with much quality and style. A true cult classic that is probably Bakshi's finest hour in animation.