- Entertainment and Media
The Last Unicorn - A Timeless Animated Film
The Last Unicorn is an animated fantasy that was released in 1982 featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lee, Jeff Bridges and Angela Lansbury.
I can confidently say as an avid fantasy fan, that it is something which every lover of the genera should watch at least once in their lifetime.
The film is beautifully stylized with a positively captivating story and the animation is breathtaking. For anyone who associates animation with a strictly child audience it is important to remember that just because something is animated does not always mean that it has been made exclusively for children.
I fell in love with this film when I was very young and I still find it as enjoyable and moving today as I did when I was a child.
It visually brings to life a tale about an immortal unicorn who one day realizes that she may very well be the last of her kind, and that if there are still other unicorns in the world, they could be in need of her help or waiting for her to join them.
She sets out on a journey, abandoning her responsibilities as the protector of her forest to find the others or at least to discover their fate. In her travels she learns that the world outside her forest is a very different place than the one she remembers. It's perilous and people no longer believe in magic to the extent that they have become almost blind to it.
On her journey, as the mystery of the unicorns unfolds through hearsay and folklore she is joined by two people who can see her for what she is and want to help her on her quest. They are the first friends she's ever had.
As they approach the derelict castle where the answers they all seek are hidden, the unicorn encounters powerful magic rivaling her own, which she is not at all prepared for and in a desperate effort to protect her one of her companions, a clumsy magician, accidently turns her into a human in both body and spirit.
The quest continues with the unicorn in a mortal disguise and over time she feels emotions which she was never able to feel as a unicorn. She learns how to love, and as she begins to forget herself she is faced with the complicated choice as to whether she should remain human and be happy, or return to her existence of responsibility, risking her own life to either free or suffer the same fate as the rest of her kind.
The ending makes me cry like a baby every time, but this is a spoiler free zone!
This book is simply wonderful. It is the story on which the film was based. Though Peter S. Beagle wrote the screenplay for the film, the story was very much changed and a lot of important information was left out. If you do love the film and haven't read the book please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. It is an absolute fantasy treasure and it will make the movie so much better once you understand all the things that are going on in the background. You will also discover important untold facets of key characters personalities and histories.
I do not yet own this but it is on my Christmas list for sure. It is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel which combines the written text from the book with parts of the film.
Some additional points I would like to make as a huge fan of this film
1. Peter S. Beagle did write a sequel to The Last Unicorn as a novella titled Two Hearts. You can read it HERE for free. It's great, I cried. I loved it.
2. There is music in the film, and though I enjoy it and feel that it adds depth to the whole experience of watching the movie, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. In fact, I know a couple of people who completely turned off to the film after one of the songs. Just don't let it distract you from the story!
3. You can get the book as an audio download on Amazon's Audible however, I was completely turned off to the idea of buying it when I listened to the beginning sample (read by the author) because it paled in comparison to the exact same dialogue in the movie. The man can write but I'm not so keen on his verbal storytelling. You should absolutely read the book if you've enjoyed the movie, but maybe buying the book is really the best option!
4. A live action adaptation of this film has been under alleged production for over 14 years and I've been following the total lack of progress the entire time. I do however, live in hope.