Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
When I was a young child, I was obsessed with horses. I even saved my money at ten years old to pay for riding camp. Unicorns, though a tad girly, were by extension horses to me, and if a video had a picture of one on its cover, it was all it took to get me to watch it. Which is how I ended up getting the Last Unicorn at Blockbuster when I was five.
I suppose I must have said I liked it, because my dad read the book to me as a bedtime story, but I have no recollection of actually enjoying it. It was unlike anything I had seen before. I finally got around to rewatching it at age sixteen...I was thoroughly surprised of how much I remembered. Of the number of scenes I knew almost by heart, even though it had been years.
A unicorn, living alone in a lilac wood, overhears two hunters discussing her one day. One assumes that unicorns are gone, maybe even strictly stuff of stories. The other maintains that they do exist, and cries out to her, to take care of herself, that she is the last. Struck by the idea that she may be the last of her kind, the unicorn begins a trek to discover what has happened to the rest of her kin. Captured by the witch Mommy Fortuna, she meets Schmendrick, an inept magician who tells her of the Red Bull who drove all the unicorns to the end of the earth. Escaping, both aided an abetted by Schmendrick's lack of skill, the two continue their search to Haggard's Kingdom, where the rumors of the Red Bull are strongest. After an encounter with a group of forest outlaws, the gain a new companion, Molly Grue, a middle aged maid Marion, who had longed to see a unicorn as a girl, and who, while angry that she would come to her now when she's used up, would give her life to protect her. When they reach the edge of Haggard's kingdom, they are attacked by the Red Bull, and Schmendrick, in a rare showing of power, turns the unicorn into a woman (who takes the name of Amalthea). The group gain employment in that castle, and along with Haggard's son the lovestruck Prince Lir, attempt to discover what has happened to the rest of Amalthea's mythic kind, while she is growing all the more human everyday.
The ending, best put, is bittersweet. While not exactly sad, it was probably the first time in my memory where the prince didn't get the girl in the end, and all was decidedly not happily ever after. Schmendrick put it best in lines near the movie's end "there are no happy endings, because nothing ever ends".
The songs and incidental music performed by the seventies rock band America, heighten the almost mist like atmosphere of the story. The song near the climax by Amalthea, and a duet by her and Lir are both extremely out of place, and as Mia Farrow's singing leaves something to be desired, are quite unpleasant to the ears. This is not a Disney tale, it did not need rousing musical numbers.
My main quibble is with the presentation. I have had the movie in two formats. One was the original DVD. It was fullscreen, with poor quality picture and edited audio(two or three minor profanities removed), and with no extras to boot. The rerelease had a clean quality transfer and SOME extras, and not only is the audio still censored, but the novel's author is not receiving royalties from its sale. I refuse to buy it, I sold my DVD and bought an older, uncensored copy of the VHS. At least it has closed captioning.
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Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12