To my thrill and excitement on Bluray this week from directors Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. and SHOUT! Factory comes the beloved tale of “The Last Unicorn: The Enchanted Edition.”
This is the story of a Unicorn (voiced by Mia Farrow) who lives in the beautiful woods. One day she hears a man say that she is the last of her kind and upset by this, she looks to find answers.
A butterfly speaking in riddles tells the Unicorn that there is more of her kind but being held by the feared Red Bull and King Haggard (Christopher Lee). It is then she decides to take the perilous and epic journey to find all the unicorns.
Along the way she meets Schmedrick (Alan Arkin), a magician who hasn’t totally come into his own powers. Wanting to help the Unicorn, a magic accident turns the beautiful creature in a human woman he names Amalthea. Knowing Schmedrick can’t do this alone, they are joined by Molly Grue (Tammy Grimes), a lady who has waited all her life to see a unicorn!
Arriving at the castle of King Haggard, they meet Prince Lir (Jeff Bridges), who falls for the beautiful Amalthea. Not knowing how to reach her heart, he doesn’t realize that she is also forgetting that she is a unicorn.
The secrets of the castle must reveal themselves if they are to save the herd of unicorns and bring Amalthea back to her true form before King Haggard and the Red Bull destroy them all.
It is all in the hands of love!
Arkin voicing the magician Schmedrick is so endearing. Not believing that he has magical abilities, it is his friendship with the Unicorn that gives him hope. Arkin does an amazing job of being heart warming with this character.
Farrow as the Unicorn and Amalthea wants so much to find her own kind once again but also learns what it means to be human. Her ability to love those who are helping her brings her clearer to the decision she must make for everyone, not just herself. Farrow’s voice is perfect for the Unicorn.
Bridges as Prince Lir is well done and Grimes as Molly Grue is absolutely lovely. Lee as King Haggard gives lends the voice to a character that is completely dark and unyielding. I think most of us will agree that Lee has proven an amazing ability to play these roles.
I truly enjoyed Klein as the riddle ridden crazy butterfly; I truly don’t know how he managed to say all of that as quickly as he did. Auberjonois as The Skull made me laugh several times; it can be difficult to play a nutty skull!
Other cast include: Robert Klein as The Butterfly, Angela Lansbury as Mommy Fortuna, Keenan/Wynn as The Harpy, Paul Frees as Mabruk, Rene Auberjonois as The Skull, Don Messick as The Cat, Nellie Bellflower as The Tree and Ed Peck as Jack Jingley.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “The Last Unicorn: The Enchanted Edition” four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is the story I remember reading about as a young girl and the animated film I remember seeing in later years. The story is still so amazing, the animation is brilliant and the songs are memorable.
This truly is a remarkable film that should be shared with the next generation because it reinforces the values we still hold dear. The friendships are heartwarming, the loyalty is strong and the love once again is the reason that The Last Unicorn will continue to be a classic tale worthy of being seen again and again.
The Last Unicorn was written by Peter S. Beagle in 1968 selling more than five million copies world wide. In 1982, Beagle wrote the screenplay with the music score composed by Jimmy Webb, performed by the group America, Jeff Bridges and Mia Farrow. It would be Rankin/Bass who would bring the novel to animation in that same year delighting fans of the novel everywhere.
Beagle said of his novel, “When I wrote The Last Unicorn I had no idea that my story would someday have so many devoted fans. I am pleased beyond words that the staff at SHOUT! Factory are among them, and that they were so concerned with getting things right. The ‘Enchanted Edition’ is the best home video version of The Last Unicorn ever, and I am thrilled to share it with the world!”
SHOUT! Factory brings the best to fans offering up feature films, classic television series, animation and specials. The Last Unicorn is just one in an amazing collection ready to be part of any family library. For more of what they have to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.
The Bluray includes bonus features with audio commentary with Peter S. Beagle, Michael Chase Walker, Connor Cochran, Terri Kempton and Travis Ashmore, True Magic: The Story of the Last Unicorn featurette, Highlights from The Last Unicorn Worldwide Screen Tour with Peter S. Beagle, Animated Storyboards and the original theatrical trailer.
In the end — it is a treasured fantasy classic of incomparable charm!