Last Unicorn

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"She will remember your heart when men are fairy tales in books written by rabbits."

Dec 1, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Absolutely fantastic voice over cast

Cons:Never was a fan of the drawing style by Rankin/Bass

The Bottom Line: Completely faithful to the novel (...since Peter S. Beagle did the screenplay)

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

After my Top 10 Animated Goodness Movies list, in which I’d listed The Hobbit, someone mentioned I should have put The Last Unicorn instead. I hadn’t seen the movie – until now. Before I bothered with the movie, I wanted to read the book first, and now that that’s done, I watched the movie.

Because Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn wrote the screenplay, this movie is as close to the book as any movie may ever be. One unicorn realizes she may very well be the last one in the world and thus she sets out to find the others, or at the very least, signs of their passing. As she searches and learns what may have become of them, she meets Schmendrick the hapless magician and Molly Grue, who has been waiting nearly all her life to see a unicorn. Together they may be able to find the rest of the unicorns and fulfill a prophecy that will lead a kingdom to freedom at last.

Ok, while I put The Hobbit in my list, it should be noted that I never said I enjoyed the animation. Even when I was a kid I wasn’t a big fan of the way they drew Bilbo and a lot of other things. The same can be said for this movie as both were done by the same studio. The characters are drawn in weird ways, possibly to reflect aspects of themselves, and the color, aside from much of the unicorn’s forest and herself, just seems (as The Hobbit did) dulled or faded. And it’s not because of time either – it’s just the way they did it. Odd, but not much that can be done about it. At the very least, the unicorn was drawn correctly and Lady Amalthea was probably the best looking character (proportional, and essentially normal instead of overdone), which might have been all planned out just to make her look all the more beautiful as she should. But who knows?

Either way, the story echoes the book perfectly. I mean, 99.99999% perfect. From the lines all the way down to the tone that I got from the book itself. Kind of sad, but still good. Like magic you knew was once there but has now died away. As though all the unicorns did fade out, even though the movie had a sort of happy ending. I’m not sure how Beagle did it in the book, but it was translated over into the movie incredibly well. The music was exactly the same way; the opening song is performed by America and makes me want to cry, so if you ever hear that, you’ll likely know what I mean.

While the animation annoyed me, had the voice actors not been as phenomenal as they were, this would have likely gotten 3 stars. However, the cast alone puts it back at 4. I actually can’t quite believe how they managed to get all these names: Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee, and even Rene Auberjonois (who, while not very big in motion pictures, has a very distinguished television career). Everyone did a fantastic job, though I admit I loved Alan Arkin as Schmendrick the best. He was solid gold and there were lines he delivered that just made me laugh. Even Peter S. Beagle, because he thought Arkin was such a great actor, joked that he could have been the unicorn and it would have been fine.

You will find a few things in this movie that you won’t find these days (words such as “damn” and a tree with obvious breasts), but you know what? That’s fine. It’s better the way it is instead of sugar-coated crap kids got in later years (though I think it’s fading a bit today). So yeah, go check it out for old time’s sake. (especially since I think Beagle is finally getting money for the movie now – but that’s a whole other story).


P.S. If you’ve ever seen the tapestry of the “The Hunt of the Unicorn” then pay close attention to the beginning (a cool addition if you ask me).

Recommend this product? Yes

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