Mikey’s going animated old school in this week’s Movies You Have Not Seen But Should!
The Last Unicorn
Welcome everyone back to another installment of “Movies You Have Not Have Seen….But You Should”. This week’s film is the first animated feature that we will highlight in this series. It is the 1982 animated classic The Last Unicorn. This film is based on the novel with the same title written by Peter S. Beagle.
The story centers on a unicorn who finds out that she is the last of her kind and her journey to find out the whereabouts of the rest of the unicorns. Along the way, she runs into a bumbling wizard in a second rate carnival, a group of third rate outlaws and a young, heroic prince along with an old villainous king in a kingdom by the sea. Along the way, the unicorn and her companions (the wizard and the female companion of the leader of the outlaws) are challenged and tested in a variety of ways and are never the same from the experience.
The film was produced and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. & Jules Bass. Rankin and Bass are well known for their holiday specials Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and many others. They are also known for their hit animated TV shows Thundercats and Silverhawks. The vocal cast is a pretty impressive cast for an animated movie in the early 1980s. The cast features Alan Arkin (known for his roles in Edward Scissorhands, Glengarry Glen Ross & Argo among many others) as the wizard Schmendrick, Mia Farrow (former wife of Woody Allen & actress with roles in such movies as Rosemary’s Baby & the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby) as the unicorn, Jeff Bridges (aka Kevin Flynn & Clu in the Tron movies and the Dude in The Big Lebowski among other roles) as Prince Lir, Angela Lansbury (known to many for her role as Jessica Fletcher in the TV show Murder, She Wrote & the voice of Mrs. Potts in the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast) as owner of the Midnight Carnival Mommy Fortuna & Christopher Lee (accomplished actor well known for such roles as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy & Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels) as King Haggard.
The soundtrack also features music performed by the rock band America. They are best known for the song “A Horse with No Name”. They perform the title track “The Last Unicorn” along with several others that are featured throughout the film.
The film does a good job of translating from the page to the screen (this is due in large part to the screenplay being written by the author himself). The animation holds up fairly well for a film made 30 years or so ago. The vocal performances bring gravity and depth to the story that’s not seen in too many animated films, especially of this time period.
The Last Unicorn is available on DVD, Blu-Ray & instant streaming through Amazon Instant Prime. It is a quality animated feature film that is worth viewing and one you may not have seen, but you should.