There were plenty of lame animated films that were cranked out in the ’80s. No need to name names, but the prospects of sitting through an animated film wasn’t that appealing. For the most part, there’s no regret at ducking many of these titles. When they show up on cable or DVD, it’s easy to watch three minutes and feel relieved. I had chosen wisely to not buy a ticket and stay home to watch Miami Vice. This attitude changed a few minutes into The Last Unicorn: The Enchanted Edition. Why did I avoid this film when it ran theatrically in 1982?
Deep in a magical forest roams a unicorn (Mia Farrow) all by herself. When she learns that she might be the last unicorn in the world, she ventures out to find out what happened to her kind. Where did they all go? A butterfly (Robert Klein) informs her of a terrible red bull that chased all the Unicorns into a dark place. The unicorn’s own journey is dangerous. She gets captured by a carnival that has fake freaks. Madame Fortuna (Angela Landsbury) redoes the unicorn’s horn to make it more “real.” She gets to escape with the help of a bumbling magician named Schmendrick (Alan Arkin). They meet up and head to the castle of King Haggard (Christopher Lee) where the red bull might live. Things get weird when in order to protect the unicorn from the red bull, Schmedrick transforms her into a beautiful woman. Can she find what happened to all other unicorns. Will she ever get to be a unicorn again? Plus there’s a romance with a prince (Jeff Bridges).
The Last Unicorn is a great film on all levels. The actors providing the voices are top notch folks. It’s a kid’s movie that has Christopher Lee. The movie was produced by Rankin/Bass, the guys known for their holiday specials. It looks nothing like Frosty the Snowman. There’s a beauty to the animation that makes the unicorn glow instead of looking over cartoony. Why? Because the animation was done by Japan’s Topcraft studio. The major animators would eventually work for Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. Their techniques bring magic to the screen. The film still has an allure for a new audience as witnessed at how Josie became instantly a major fan of The Last Unicorn.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfers just brings out the beauty in each frame. This was devoted fans have been clamoring to see. The audio is DTS-HD 5.1 mix and DTS-HD 2.0 audio. They both sound fine although I found myself leaning toward the 2.0 mix. The movie is Closed Captioned.
DVD has all the stuff on the Blu-ray. There’s also a way to access a digital copy.
Audio Commentary features author Peter S. Beagle, associate producer Michael Chase Walker, Connor Cochran, Terri Kempton and Travis Ashmore. They are all still passionate about the film.
True Magic: the Story of The Last Unicorn (43:27) covers how this went from a book to a beloved classic.
Highlights from The Last Unicorn Worldwide Screening Tour with Peter S. Beagle (11:18) lets us get a glimpse at how passionate fans were to come out for the theatrical screenings.
Animated Storyboards (7:22) is a few scenes as roughed out before being sent to the animators.
Original Trailer (2:48) does its best to let the audience know that this will be a special experience.
The Last Unicorn: The Enchanted Edition allows this beautiful fairytale to shine once more. The bonus feature about the world tour will let viewers know that the aren’t the last fan.
Shout! Factory presents The Last Unicorn: The Enchanted Edition. Starring: Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, Christopher Lee and Angela Landsbury. Rated: G. Running Time: 92 minutes. Released: June 9, 2015.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.