The Last Unicorn (1982)

Rating: G

This movie is based on a book by Peter S. Beagle, who also did the screenplay. I’ve read the book and after just seeing the movie this afternoon, I’m going to recommend that you read the book and not worry about the film at all. That’s unfortunate, because I was really looking forward to it.

The premise is this: a unicorn, living alone in the woods, overhears someone say that she is the last unicorn left in existence. Wanting to know if this is true, she asks a butterfly, who tells her that years ago, all the unicorns were chased away by a red bull, and she is indeed the last one not in captivity. However, if she’s brave, she’ll be able to free the other animals.

She sets off on a journey to find the red bull, and on the way, is captured by a carnival witch who specializes in displaying mythical animals. The witch has cast a spell on everyday animals to cause them to look mythical, but in the unicorn, she has the real thing, and she’s delighted. She also has a harpy, a real one, but all her other animals are fakes.

The unicorn wants badly to escape, and is finally able to do so, with the help of a young wizard who has been in the witch’s employ. They also free the harpy, who then eats the witch. Together they set off to continue their journey, during which she gets turned into a human girl. By the end they’re all happy again and feel braver and more pleased with themselves.

I’m getting sarcastic, sorry. It’s just that there were so many elements to the film I didn’t like. It was violent and scary. There were long segments that were just plain boring, while we watched the unicorn walk across this stream or that field or that meadow. Even set to the music of America, it was pull-your-teeth-out-through-your-nose boring.

Then at one point, the sorcerer is tied to a tree, and while trying to escape, turns the tree into a tree-woman. He is clasped very sexually between two huge breasts. We skipped over that scene; I had “scene” enough.

Later, when the unicorn is turned into a girl, she’s naked, and they don’t bother to put clothes on her for several minutes. We get shots of breasts covered (sort of) with hair, her hips, thighs, the sides of her buttocks. It was all very inappropriate. I don’t care that she was animated – the girl was still naked.

If you’ve been considering renting this one for your family, I would suggest that you not. With so many wonderful films to choose from, you can do better than that. May I recommend:

The Neverending Story

Labyrinth

The Pagemaster