Looking Back at Animation’s Future, With Ralph Bakshi

I’ve spoken a few times with animation auteur, Ralph Bakshi, who pioneered the pathways of underground and overground cartoons for decades. This time, we analyze the live-action/animation merge of Cool World, which like its foundational forebear, Lord of the Rings, created the CGI universe we take for granted today.

Ralph Bakshi Reflects On The 25th Anniversary Of Cool World

Twenty-five years ago this month, cartoon auteur Ralph Bakshi released his final feature, a live-action/animation hybrid called Cool World that seemed to be anything but.

Plagued by production turmoil and harshly reviewed, Bakshi’s 1992 bow out of the big-screen animation business — which he evolved with transgressors like Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic, as well as mainstream influentials like American Pop and Lord of the Rings — was arguably more whimper than bang.

But time, as always, tells a different tale, as the clock ticks.

Animators that Bakshi mentored, even on Cool World, have transformed into Hollywood heavyweights in their own right, including one who recently released a corny blockbuster, The Boss Baby, co-starring Bakshi’s grandson, Miles. Filmmakers and fans, who weren’t even born in the ’70s and ’80s, when his charged fantasies like Wizards and Fire and Ice provided mature alternatives to Disney, are now packing screenings from Portland to Bakshi’s own New York.

“My mouth drops open,” a laughing Bakshi tells me by phone. “Now, I have all these kids who have just discovered my films calling me, and they all think I’m dead!”


I Just Want Them to Wake Up: A Birthday Interview With Ralph Bakshi

In Praise of Ralph Bakshi, Animation Pioneer

MorphToons: October 2015