The Last Unicorn is a Magical Journey
When I heard that The Last Unicorn was touring movie theaters across Canada, I was thrilled. Actually, ecstatic might be a better word. The fact that it is returning to theaters after 30 years (and that fans are already buying their tickets speaks) to the enduring affection so many people have for this movie.
The Last Unicorn is one of the first movies I remember ever watching as a kid. I absolutely fell in love with it right from the very first time I saw it and it is one of my favorite movies to this day. I watched it every time it came on T.V. (and of course, I cried every time) and I bought it as soon as I had a DVD player.
There isn't any one thing that makes The Last Unicorn so wonderful. Each aspect of the movie, from the story to the actors to the music, come together to create a memorable experience for the viewer. The music in particular really reflects the prominent theme of regret. It is what resonates with me the most as an adult viewer.
The Last Unicorn is based on the book by Peter S. Beagle. Written in 1968, it has been a classic children’s tale for decades. It tells the story of a unicorn who learns she may be the last of her kind. She refuses to believe that the others could have simply disappeared and she sets out on a dangerous journey to find the rest of the unicorns.
Along the way, she encounters Schmendrick the magician and Molly Grue, who help her on her quest. However, there is something none of them are prepared for. Despite warnings of a Red Bull who is hunting the unicorns, they don’t know how to fight it when they finally encounter it. With no other choice, Schmendrick turns the unicorn into a young woman, Amalthea, in order to save her life. The three of them must enter the realm of King Haggard in order to track down the rest of the unicorns. Haggard is obsessed with unicorns and being so close to him puts Amalthea in terrible danger. Even while trying to protect herself from Haggard, the unicorn must struggle with her new human emotions, including a growing love for Haggard’s son, Prince Lear. Before the end, she faces a heartbreaking choice between romance and her loyalty to the unicorns.
Even though I was only five years old, I cried the first time I saw The Last Unicorn and I’m not afraid to admit that I still cry every time I watch it. Even as a young child, I think I understood the underlying theme of regret and the sadness the unicorn feels. The music tugs at my heart each time I hear it. The songs are all sung by America, tying together the score neatly. The songs are emotional and speak deeply of the unicorn’s physical and spiritual journey.
The Last Unicorn is a wonderful and magical tale for both children and adults. It has stood the test of time and is continuing to be enjoyed by both old and new fans. If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to pick up a copy today.
Watch the trailer for the movie.
The opening of The Last Unicorn might give you a good idea of whether you'll like the movie (but I'm sure you will).
If you love the movie, you should definitely read the book. I was lucky enough to read the book for university credit (also why I took the class!) While I have to admit that there were aspects of it I didn't love, I still really enjoyed it. And of course, I still cried at the end. The book always adds a level of depth that a movie simply can't convey and The Last Unicorn is no exception. Pick up a copy today to read yourself or to your kids. This particular version is the graphic novel. It tells the tale through a remarkable series of pictures that will give you even deeper insight into the unicorn's story.