Coming to Bluray and DVD from director Bill Kroyer and Shout! Factory Kids is the thirty-year anniversary of the beautiful FERNGULLY: The Last Rainforest.
Living in the lush rainforest of FernGully lives Crysta (voiced by Samantha Mathis), a fairy who is very curious about everything and the world outside. Magi (Grace Zabriskie) explains to young Crysta that once upon a time the fairy folk lived with humans but were plagued by Hexxus, a dark spirit who only lived for destruction. It was the fairy folk who had him put up tight in a tree.
While Crysta and her friend Pips (Christian Slater) are having fun in the rainforest, a new friend joins them. Batty Koda (Robin Williams) is a bat who has been tampered with my humans. The fairies do not exactly like him, but Crysta wants to find out how he came to be. Taking a risk and going above the canopy, Crysta sees something that she can not explain and gets answers from Magi, not happy with those answers, she takes it upon herself to explore.
She finds Zak (Jonathan Ward), a very large lumberjack who is tagging trees that will be cut down and she is horrified. Zak does not realize that one of the trees he has marked is home to Hexxus (Tim Curry) and when a tree comes close to hitting Zak, Crysta shrinks him to her size. Trying to explain her world to Zak, they have more worries when Hexxus is freed!
Crysta explains to Zak that what he is doing is destroying their home and all those that live in it. When Hexxus comes for them, Zak realizes that he must help his friends before the machine destroys everything and it is the end of FernGully!
Mathis lends her voice to Crysta, a young fairy that does not realize yet she has such power within her small, winged body. Her curiosity is what gets the better of her but then again if she had not been so curious, she would never have Zak to help FernGully and all the creatures living in it. Mathis gives Crysta her firey spirit and it is wonderful.
Ward as Zak is a young man just plodding along living his life marking trees. What he does not realize is that he is headed for something amazing life changing. Slater as Pips wants to make sure his friend Crysta and FernGully are protected in equal measure.
Williams as Batty gives everything we have loved Williams for. Batty is hilarious, loving, and cautious and never far away from silly one-liners. Batty became a beloved character and I know this because I still have the stuffed animal I got after FERNGULLY came out.
Curry as Hexxus proved he had the voice and attitude to play a dark spirit. Of course, it is not hard to believe since he portrayed evil in the 1985 film LEGEND playing of Darkness. I just love that he gets to sing a tune because even though Hexxus is evil, I kind of liked him (minus the destruction).
Other cast includes Geoffrey Blake as Ralph, Tone Loc as Goanna, Townsend Coleman as Knotty, Brian Cummings as Ock, Robert Pastorelli as Tony, Cheech Marin as Stump, Tommy Chong as Root, Danny Mann as Ash and Anderson Wong as Rock.
SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty and The Beast. Also, their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.
Bluray includes the Special Features of New Introduction with Director Bill Kroyer, Including Never-Before-Seen Pencil, Character and Animation Tests, Audio Commentary with Bill Kroyer, Art Director Ralph Eggleston and Coordinating Art Director Susan Kroyer, “Seed of the Story” – Script to Screen Comparison with Optional Commentary by Screenwriter Jim Cox.
Also, “From Paper to Tree” – Making-Of Featurette, “Behind the Voice: Toxic Love” – Multi-Angle Scene Study, Original Featurette, “If I’m Gonna Eat Somebody (It Might As Well Be You)” Music Video and Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots.
Diana Young is the author of the FernGully stories, and this film is adapted from those very stories. The soundtrack for the film includes 14 tracks and was composed by Alan Silvestri. “Batty Rap” is sun by Robin Williams and Tim Curry lends himself to the song “Toxic Love”.
It is so amazing that Shout! Factory Kids is celebrating FERNGULLY: The Last Rainforest with this 30th Anniversary Edition. It is so important for kids to see because, although the film came out in 1992, the issues are even more crucial today. The fear of Ferngully can be seen through climate change today.
Crysta makes it clear that someone needs to stop the destruction and by reaching Zak as a human being, she has found the voice, but the fight still continues. One small little fairy knows what we all should know that the world is shared by so many that we forget that it is not all about us individually but collectively.
The animation is still amazing with its restoration and there is so much to talk about once the film is finished. I would love to see this in all educator’s classroom library as a way to reach children and explain what can happen if we do not all come together to keep our world a beautiful place. Kids get it!
In the end – one courageous sprite must save them all!