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Frazetta: Painting with Fire
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10 from 306 votes
Release: 8 May 2003 (USA) /

Frazetta: Painting with Fire

Genre: Documentary
Director: Lance Laspina,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: For over 50 years, Frank Frazetta dominated the art world with his images of fierce warriors, helpless princesses, and fantastical creatures set in the most lavish landscapes. His impact upon the worlds of fantasy art and film was unparalleled, and it can be seen to this day in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Amazingly, he managed to do this while nearly dying because of an undiagnosed thyroid condition. Even more astonishing was his ability to survive six strokes, which forced him to switch from drawing with his right hand to drawing with his left hand. The film documents the life and work of this legendary fantasy artist while exploring the universal theme of inspiration. Visual effects are used in a very unique way to bring his paintings to life. And when you combine this technique with an outstanding original score, it makes for a very original documentary. Bo Derek, Ralph Bakshi, John Milius, Glenn Danzig, and Forrest Ackerman are just a few of the people who appear in this ... Written by Anonymous

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Critic Reviews

Frazetta is one of those artists who's forceful creativity and technique overwhelms the field he's in and everyone labors in the shadow for years. Comics and fantasy illustration will never be the same because of this man and it will probably be a long time before someone steps into his shoes. A good analogy in films would be Hitchcock in the suspense thriller genre. Nobody has surpassed his mark yet. That said, this documentary partially succeeds in explaining the man behind the work. A lot of time is spent exclaiming about how great Frazetta is. This comes from friends, fans, fellow artists and, amusingly, Frazetta himself. Unfortunately the conceit here is that Frazetta spontaneously burst into his style and that hurts the film more then anything. Anyone with a smattering of 20th century illustration art history can see the influences that Frazetta took from. N.C. Wyeth immediately comes to mind with his color Verne illustrations. Extend that history into 19th century mythological paintings and you'll see more.

What is missed under all the fawning over a bunch of naked barbarian women paintings is that Frazetta was one of the best "realist" painter of the 60's and 70's. Unfortunately that style was out of style and he probably would have never made a living if it wasn't for the paperback books and magazine covers. The documentary fizzles out about an hour in when it spends a great deal of time with the opening of the Frazetta museum. The rest of the film is good for hard-core Frazetta fans but not for anyone else. The constant mixing of live-action with Frazetta's work gets tiresome and there some flimsy contextual editing. At one point, when the film discusses Frazetta's illness (strokes) and how he trained his left hand to draw and paint, the film makers cut to some very odd drawings of naked women with male munchkins who sport large genitals. Sure he did them with his left hand but I'm sure there was something else they could have shown. A film that the typical male fantasy art fan can really enjoy. Everyone else....I'm not too sure.

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