Prior to this film, cartoons for me were what we watched when we got home from school, on Saturday mornings or the Disney Channel.
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, G.I. Joe, The Transformers, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck….
When I watched this film there was something different. It was animated, but it didn’t feel like those other “cartoons” to me. I heard a few “damns” and “hells” as I saw my mother flinch and gasp as we watched it together (Uptight).
The story starts off innocently enough with two hunters talking about never being able to kill game in this forest. That must mean there is magic afoot. An enchanted forest?
Our heroine is a horse, but not just any horse (I know it sounds strange, just stick with me). She finds herself listening to the hunters and then has an annoying conversation with a butterfly that everyone watching wishes would just flutter by…..
The conversation–annoying as it is–sets her off on a quest to find others like her.
See, to this point, she thinks that she is the last…unicorn.
I told you not just any horse.
The things that I remember are the amazing visuals and the dialogue. It is very well written for an animated fantasy tale and as a young kid, I had to watch it quite a few times to catch a lot of what the story was trying to say. I really did have great parents who were patient with me and my questions about what the story was.
Basically, our heroine sets out to find where the rest of the unicorns have all gone. Along the way she meets a magician, a maid, a talking cat (of course), a prince, a king, a wizard, a dead talking skeleton called Skull, and THE RED BULL. Talk about a villain. The Red Bull used to give me nightmares. For those of you that only know red bull as a sweet energy drink, be aware that one of the possible inspirations was anything but sweet.
Along the way there is adventure, action, running, spells, love, lost love, and redemption. I know that sounds pretty simple, but what can you expect from a fantasy yarn?
I discovered recently that the film does hold up over time as well. I have a six year old nephew that started watching it with my sister and me one night. He was focused as my sister and I talked and reminisced during the film (about the film). He hushed us a couple of times and later, he was quite distraught and full of questions when we had to shut it off early and attend a different event. I felt bad for the little guy. He was so absorbed. I really hope he had an opportunity to see it again, uninterrupted. Or, we could have an uncle-nephew night and watch it together. It’s been a while.
One thing I learned…adults can like “cartoons” too if they’re the right ones.
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