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Author Topic: The Last Unicorn (1982)  (Read 887 times)

Offline Naylte

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The Last Unicorn (1982)
« on: January 28, 2016, 08:09:46 AM »
Trailer

Plot Summary (Spoilers!)

The movie starts off with a pair of hunters riding into a forest. The older of the two claims that they would find nothing to hunt there because it is a unicorn's forest, where it is always spring and the animals are protected. But he also states that it is the forest of the last unicorn left. The hunters leave, but the unicorn overheard what the hunter said and could not believe it since unicorns are immortal and do not simply disappear.

The next day, a (very annoying) traveling butterfly appears. After a bit of obnoxious singing, he eventually answers the unicorn's questions about the others by saying that all of the unicorns had been chased to the end of the earth by the Red Bull. So, because she wanted to find out where the unicorns had disappeared to, the unicorn leaves her forest. It is always saddening to see all the animals watch her leave. :(

It is revealed that most humans are incapable of recognizing the unicorn, instead mistaking her for a white mare. But a witch named Fortuna spots her sleeping one night and immediately knows she is a unicorn. So, Fortuna captures her for her carnival, in which Fortuna uses her magic to make ordinary animals look like mythical beasts. She even had to add a false horn to the unicorn since no one would be able to see her real horn. But unlike the other attractions, the unicorn is real and so is the Harpy, which was also caught sleeping by the witch. One of Fortuna's helpers, the magician Schmendrick, reveals that he also knows the unicorn is real, and he promises to break her out. The problem is, his magic is not the best. So, after a few failed spells, he unlocks the cage and releases the unicorn, who proceeds to unlock all of the other cages. When she releases the Harpy, however, it attacks her and then attacks and eats the witch. Fortunately, the unicorn escapes with Schmendrick, and Schmendrick decides to travel with her to help her find the Red Bull, which can be found at King Haggard's castle.

The two encounter some outlaws along the way, who capture Schmendrick. The unicorn helps him escape with some of her own magic (which Schmendrick thinks is his own), and one of the outlaws, Molly Grue, leaves with them to continue to the castle.

Once the castle is in sight, the Red Bull appears and begins to chase the unicorn everywhere, though Schmendrick notices it is not trying to kill her and is instead leading her away. Molly begs him to try to do something. Schmendrick lets the magic "do as it will," and the unicorn is turned into a woman. Since the Red Bull only chases unicorns, it leaves, but now the unicorn is in a mortal body and Schmendrick does not know how to reverse the spell.

They reach the castle, and Schmendrick gives the unicorn (human) the name Amalthea when the guards ask who they are. Then they meet King Haggard and his son Prince Lir, and Haggard agrees to let them stay at the castle. Lir loved Amalthea, but his efforts to court her failed because she never responded to him. As time progresses, Amalthea begins to forget why she is at the castle or who she is. In addition, King Haggard later states that he asked the Red Bull to chase all of the unicorns into the sea because they were the only things that made him happy, and he could watch them each day in the ocean. Eventually, Molly gets a clue to find the Red Bull's lair from Haggard's pirate cat in the form of a cryptic riddle.

Eventually, they figure out the riddle and reach the Red Bull's lair. Prince Lir follows them because he was following Amalthea. Amalthea, who has now completely forgotten she was ever a unicorn, denies her former self and says she wants to be with Lir. However, Lir declines, saying that there cannot be a happy ending in the middle of the story. Then, the Red Bull reappears and starts approaching Amalthea. In desperation, Schmendrick uses his magic to turn Amalthea back into a unicorn. The Red Bull chases the unicorn out and begins to corral her into the sea like the rest. Lir jumps in front of the Red Bull and is trampled. Upon seeing her love die, the unicorn gains the courage to fight back against the Red Bull and manages to push it into the sea. With the Red Bull gone, all of the other unicorns run out of the water and run free into the world again. The unicorn then uses her magic to revive Lir before leaving with the rest. Lir is heartbroken, but Schmendrick reassures him that he will always be remembered by the unicorn, which is the only one that knows of love and regret. Some parting words are then exchanged between Schmendrick and the unicorn, and the unicorn returns home.

---



The Last Unicorn is the animated movie that is based on the book of the same name by Peter S. Beagle. It was produced by Rankin/Bass together with Topcraft studio (predecessor of Studio Ghibli). It, along with Watership Down and a few other movies, was a favorite of my younger self.

The movie's animation is very unique thanks to its Japanese influences (some have aptly described it as a combination of a Disney movie and anime in terms of appearance). The backgrounds are fantastic, though for me some of the characters could have looked better. The soundtrack is also very good, consisting of a few songs performed by America and a catchy main theme.

What really made the movie stick with me, however, is the creepyness of some of the scenes. A harpy devours a couple people, a talking, drunken skeleton demands wine and gets glowing red eyes, there's a flaming Red Bull from hell, and there's one scene involving a tree that's just plain... weird. There was plenty of nightmare fuel for my innocent child self. And after I rewatched it recently, I can understand why. That harpy still gives me goosebumps. Yikes.

The plot is also pretty good with lots of good old symbolism and themes. See above for my crude summary that does it no justice. It tackles things like depression, the pairing of regret with love, and more. It makes me really want to read the book, which is unfortunately not as common as Watership Down (but it's being reprinted!!! see below).

I'm not very good at selling things, so all I can say is that I definitely recommend this movie if you haven't seen it already. Maybe you'll like it, maybe not. I am biased after all.
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Offline MeadowRabbit

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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 10:45:04 PM »
I own this. Can't say I love it, but I do like to keep these kinds of films. The characters are rather unappealing in style; seems to be a Rankin-Bass thing... Typical '80s bland looking young female character. The song she sings is awful - it's like they thought they'd better have a song in there somewhere and it's just so half-hearted... no... Not even quarter-hearted. :p A few other things but I won't go on and sound like I'm putting a dampener on it!

It's certainly worth a watch if you are an animation fan! I really like the unicorn's design, and it is an interesting story.

I would say that if you watch the film first and are curious to read the book after, it's almost not really worth it. The film follows the book almost word for word, scene to scene, so there's nothing extra from the story to bulk it out with, which I would have liked to have seen with the novel.
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Offline Naylte

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The Last Unicorn (1982)
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 11:21:28 PM »
Yes, I agree that several songs were poorly sung and often unnecessary. The movie is by no means perfect or the best, but it could have been far worse.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 11:21:50 PM by Naylte »
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Offline Crackers

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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2016, 11:07:41 PM »
Oh, I really like this movie. Haven't seen it in a while, but it's definitely on my top twenty. That's a good description, Nay.
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Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2016, 03:43:50 PM »
It is a very good movie, I have the edition of its 25th anniversary and is wonderful. I just need to read the book one day ...    :hickory2
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Offline Fivergoalkeeper

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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 10:47:43 AM »
I saw the movie few weeks ago. It was a great movie.
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Offline Vesper

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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 11:50:45 AM »
:silverweed3 I still need to see it. Plan too really soon :D *Hugs for all*
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Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 09:19:13 AM »
Here you go, in case you want to see it. Big hug   :mallow
Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fikcmNHJTM
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Offline Vesper

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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 04:37:55 PM »
:) Thanks, my dear, yet youtube took it down though. You can still see it on Netflix or on the website called Kiss cartoon though. :D
[big][big][small]"Yet, even amidst the Hatred and Carnage, Life is still worth living. It is possible for Wonderful Encounters and Beautiful things to exist."[/small][/big][/big]- Hayou Miyazaki

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Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2017, 01:42:37 PM »
I hope you, like it  :buttercup




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Offline Vesper

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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2017, 11:48:41 AM »
:fiver Wonderful drawing of yours, my dear Acacia. :) I love the two quotes you also put in your drawing for it adds relevance to your drawing from the film.

 :pipkin Also, I recently have seen the film and I absolutely adored it, the story, the Ost, the animation at the time, it brought these elements together for a strong foundation within it's storytelling of The Last Unicorn. Also love the song, Man's road by America ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wQ0j33bTd4
[big][big][small]"Yet, even amidst the Hatred and Carnage, Life is still worth living. It is possible for Wonderful Encounters and Beautiful things to exist."[/small][/big][/big]- Hayou Miyazaki

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Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2017, 03:14:38 PM »
Hehehe I wish those were my drawings. Only images I found on Google. But in truth it is an excellent film. Surely the book is much better, but I would say that both are beautiful.
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2017, 01:46:25 PM »
:) I'll want to read the book some point in the future.  :fiver *Hugs*
[big][big][small]"Yet, even amidst the Hatred and Carnage, Life is still worth living. It is possible for Wonderful Encounters and Beautiful things to exist."[/small][/big][/big]- Hayou Miyazaki

[big]"I will have Poetry in my life. And Adventure. And Love. Love above all."[/big]
- Shakespeare In Love[/i][/i]


 [big]dplutonium13 Fanfic Writer/Artist [/big] "I am Drunk when I Write, I become Sober when I Edit"

[big]"A good friend listens to your adventures. A best friend makes them with you."[/big] -Unknown
 
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[big]"The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal."[/big][/i]- Richard Adams

Offline Hazel

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Re: The Last Unicorn (1982)
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2019, 11:02:37 PM »
I adore The Last Unicorn. It has a special place in my heart. I recently bought it on DVD.
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