films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Plain forgettable

American Pop

1981 / 96m - USA
Animation, Music
American Pop poster

Bakshi's ambitious attempt to capture the history of American pop music in a single film, using four generations of a single family to guide us through it. On the one hand it's a pretty impressive undertaking that deserves praise, on the other hand it was so excruciatingly boring that it's hard for me to say anything overtly positive about this film.

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It's probably a lot more interesting for people with an active interest in American (pop) history/culture. Personally I don't care much either. The music is terrible, other historical references have been done so many times before that I really didn't have to see them summarized again.

The animation is pretty interesting, but the art style is ugly. Characters are dull, the background art is lifeless and the film is at least 45 minutes too long. It saddens me to say this about an animated film from the US that isn't squarely aimed at kids, but this pandering to the past is just too damn tiring.

Big nopes

Fire and Ice

1983 / 81m - USA
Animation, Fantasy
Fire and Ice poster

I guess I should be happy with Bakshi making animated films that are aimed at non-kiddie audiences, but their excessive 80s kitsch, godawful art styles and bland characters/writing don't really get me all that excited. Fire and Ice was my third Bakshi and once again a pretty big disappointment.

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The plot is as basic as you can get, with an age-old good guys (fire) vs bad guys (ice) face-off in a rather boring and unimaginative fantasy setting. It felt like a lazy cut-and-paste job from generic fantasy canon. The intro failed to grab my attention and the film never truly recovered from that.

While the animation itself is pretty fluid, the art style is such an eyesore that I didn't care for any of it. The dub is atrocious, characters are dumb and off-putting and the story is a complete snooze. I felt like I was watching bad 80s TV again, only with better animation. Not for me.

Fritz the Cat

1972 / 78m - USA
Animation, Comedy
Fritz the Cat poster

This is probably fun if you're a big fan of the (late) 60s, preferably the Jewish/NY scene. Fritz the Cat was my first Bakshi, so I didn't really know what to expect. What I know I didn't expect was a pretty explicit and adult-oriented film, but for once that wasn't a very pleasant surprise.

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There's a lot of political/activist/anti-establishment dialogue to wade through, already touching upon subjects like white guilt. I guess you could say the film still has relevance. But these instances seems rather incidental, as Bakshi races through most of the political issues of that time and does so with little care for subtlety.

The animation is functional, the art style ugly, the music horrendous (but again, if you're a fan of the 60s, you'll probably love it), the voice acting grating and the comedy not that funny. And for a film that tries to be controversial, it has lost a lot, if not all of its impact. Fritz the Cat is a relic from a time period I don't really care for.