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Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards: Character Analysis (Avatar)

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Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards is an animated fantasy movie telling the tale of a battle between good and evil. We follow the fairy princess Elinore, the elf Weehawk, the machine turned good Peace, and Avatar the mighty elf wizard throughout the movie and the struggles they overcome as they strive to defeat the evil wizard Blackwolf. Over the course of the movie, Avatar’s personality changes as his party meets new dangers.

Initially, the movie describes avatar Avatar as a “Kind and good wizard.” A young, smiling Avatar is shown entertaining his mother with his magic by making a bunny appear out of thin air. When his mother dies, he tries to use his magic to restore her, but he fails cradling his mother in his arms and crying. During his first encounter with his brother Blackwolf, Avatar is furious. Fighting with all of his might Avatar manages to defeat Blackwolf and banish him from the good lands. Avatar is quite heroic and is the very image of a hero. He fights evil, does nice things, and cares for his mother. However when we next see Avatar he is quite different from what we see here.

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Many years later, Avatar is now more carefree due to a long period of piece. Despite his carefree nature, he is very wise and is a magic tutor for the fairy princess Elinore. He regales a story about him and Blackwolf to Elinore and his father. A red robot kills Elinore’s father and Avatar swiftly retaliates using his magic to disable the robot. Clutching his own face, Avatar takes a small moment to mourn the death of Elinore’s father. This is not the first time he has seen death and it will not be the last. Instead of killing the robot like Elinore wants to do, Avatar decides to look into the robot’s brain using his vast knowledge. Avatar then heads to bed attempting to take a nap. When Elinore asks Avatar, “When do we leave?” Avatar responds, “Leave? What do you mean leave? You gotta be kiddin’.” He then rolls under the sheets of the bed unheroically. Weehawk and Elinore persuade Avatar to join them on their adventure and Avatar begrudgingly accepts. Avatar is now old and lazy, but he has not lost what makes him good. He is quick to avoid a drastic measure such as murder.

They set off on their journey to reach Scorch 1 and defeat Blackwolf. Their first obstacle is a group of fairies who distract the heroes with magic. Avatar gets annoyed when the fairies put him on top of a tree. He conjures a mighty wind to blow away the fairies, but the fairies interrupt him by casting a spell that creates a large meal. Assassins attack and kill a fairy named charm. The fairies kidnap Elinore. Weehawk is quick to blame Peace, but Avatar says they must find Elinore. The two are separated and avatar must venture alone to save Elinore. Avatar takes a very exasperated tone and says, “It’s all a disaster” when he finally reaches Elinore. He manages to convince the mountain fairy king to release Elinore so that he may complete his quest, even though he thinks it is doomed now that Peace and Weehawk are missing. After wandering through a snowy wasteland, the heroes reunite and avatar tiredly exclaims, “The quest is saved” before collapsing. In only the first stage of the quest and Avatar is already tired and exasperated. He is quick to look at the glass as half empty rather than half full. Despite that, he does not quit. He still avoids murder and violence, using his magic only when the situation calls for it.

The group later meets with a group of elves lead by an elf called Abdul who plans to attack scorch 1 and asks Avatar to join him. Avatar denies and Abdul gives a speech about how great Avatar is which ironically ends with a biting insult about how he intends to defeat Blackwolf with just his group. Avatar walks away in silence after the slur against him. Avatar and Weehawk hear Elinore scream and go to see what has happened. Blackwolf attempts to use his magic to repossess Peace, but avatar manages to thwart Blackwolf. A tank approaches and corners them, forcing a fight. Peace tries to get at the cockpit to kill the driver, but Elinore kills Peace and jumps into the cockpit. The tank drives away and Avatar screams her name in anguish. Crushed by Elinore’s betrayal Avatar begins mumbling to himself, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.” He is so distraught, that now Weehawk has to take the role of leader and remind Avatar of what to do. Avatar begins breaking down at this point and begins questioning himself and his choices.

Avatar continues mumbling depressing thoughts to himself as the two move along. Once a carefree wizard, Avatar has now become a shell of his former self. Weehawk mentions that Blackwolf is too strong for Avatar. Avatar’s only reply is “You may be right, but I gotta battle my brother.” The two separate. He says to Blackwolf, “I want to show you a trick mother showed me when you weren’t around.” Avatar begins rolling up his sleeves, but before he finishes he says “One more thing, I’m glad you changed your last name you son of a bitch.” Avatar pulls a gun out from his sleeve and shoots Blackwolf to death. He has now killed someone, his own brother no less. This is the most drastic change Avatar has. One moment he is depressed the next he is ruthless and angry. It is like a dark reflection of the avatar we see in the opening.

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