From a riddle-speaking butterfly, a unicorn learns that she is supposedly the last of her kind, all the others having been herded away by the Red Bull. The unicorn sets out to discover the truth behind the butterfly's words. She is eventually joined on her quest by Schmendrick, a second-rate magician, and Molly Grue, a now middle-aged woman who dreamed all her life of seeing a unicorn. Their journey leads them far from home, all the way to the castle of King Haggard...Written by
Paul Frees voiced Haggard's court magician, provided the voice of the peg-legged cat in Haggard's castle, as well as the amorous tree. See more »
I dislike the feel of this woods. Creatures that live in a unicorn's forest learn a little magic of their own in time. Mainly concerned with disappearing.
See more »
There are two different versions of the film. One is found the VHS/DVD edition (which is found on both the initial 2004 DVD release and the 2007 25th Anniversary DVD release), the other is the theatrical version which is the same as the 1983 HBO version. There are numerous differences between the two:
In the theatrical/HBO version, after Prince Lir fights the dragon, the film cuts to the scene where King Haggard confronts Amalthea on the tower and tells her he knows she is a unicorn. The film then cuts back to when Prince Lir tries to give Amalthea the dragon hide. In the VHS/DVD version, after Lir fights the dragon the film cuts back to Lir trying to give Amalthea the dragon hide. The Amalthea/King Haggard tower scene occurs much later.
The theatrical/HBO version omits the song "Now That I'm a Woman," although the song does appear in reprise form in "That's All I've Got To Say".
In the theatrical/HBO version, the dragon has a much louder roar than in the VHS/DVD version.
The VHS/DVD version omits several words. The first word missing is the word "Damn", which is heard during Molly Grue's exclamation to the Unicorn upon meeting her. In the theatrical version, she says, "Damn you! Where have you been?", but in the VHS/DVD version, she says, "Where have you been?" The word "damn" is also missing from the scene where Prince Lir is struggling to compose a poem to Amalthea in a stairwell. Additionally, the word " hell" is absent from the scene where Mommy Fortuna pulls the caravan over to look at the Unicorn and then calls Ruhk. In the theatrical version he replies with "Now just what in hell was that stop for?" The VHS/DVD version has "Now just what was that stop for?"
In the VHS/DVD version, the Unicorn's attempts to see if the Butterfly can identify her are more drawn out. For instance, the Unicorn asks, "Do you know who I am?" and the butterfly blithely replies, "Excellent! Well, you're a fishmonger!" He also surfs on a leaf singing, "Take the A-Train".
In the VHS/DVD version, Ruhk goes into deeper description of the Satyr and the Midgard Serpent. He also yells at Schmendrick to stay away from the Unicorn's cage.
In the VHS/DVD version, Mommy Fortuna has an extra line, explaining her need to prove to herself a competent witch: "I quit show-business first! Do you think I don't know what the true witchery is, just because I do what I do? There's not a witch in the world hasn't laughed at Mommy Fortuna and her homemade horrors! But there's not one of them who would have dared..."
In the VHS/DVD version, Schmendrick cast an additional spell in which he burns his hands after trying to turn the bars "into old cheese which I crumble in my hands!" This spell is only hinted at in the original version, in Amalthea's nightmare.
In the VHS/DVD version, Schmendrick's scene with the amorous female tree is extended, with the tree spouting, "Always! Always! Faithfulness beyond any man's deserving! I will keep the color of your eyes when no other in the world remembers your name! There is no immortality, but a tree's love!"
In the VHS/DVD version, King Haggard's line is extended to "I can see no reason at all to replace him with some vagrant, nameless, clownish..." Originally, the line had ended at "replace him."
In the VHS/DVD version, a scene is added with Schmendrick is in the clock room, pondering the riddle, cracking a joke, "I wonder what time it is?" He hides from Lir and Amalthea walking in, when Lir comments, "Well, of course you're of noble birth. Anybody can see that. I mean, you really can't be, heh, that ridiculous magician's niece. It's out of the question."
In the VHS/DVD version, there are more shots of Haggard spying on Amalthea and Lir from a higher tower location.
In the VHS/DVD version, the scene with the Skull is extended as well. It also takes more time to describe how to pass through the clock, with Schmendrick cracking, "Walk through a clock? What do I look like, a magician?" The Skull also gets drunk, slurring, "You're more of a magician than I took you for!"
I only saw this movie recently and I wondered why I had never seen it before. I haven't read the book, and I only vaguely remembered some of my friends mentioning this movie.
I'm not usually a big fan of classic medieval fantasy, even though I love fantasy in general, but I enjoyed this movie so much. Even though it's a family movie, it doesn't get too cutesy and doesn't sweeten the story and the universe that the characters evolve in. And the characters do evolve, which is another of the good points in it. Even though it's a fairy tale, it's easy to apply some themes of the movie to our world. By example, we can suppose that this is a movie about staying true to yourself. This is no Disney movie. The ending can be seen in a positive as well as in a negative light. You can have many opinions about it, which is one thing I liked so much.
The art and character design is beautiful. You can tell it was made in the 70's or early 80's and it just adds more appeal to it. The style is a mix between anime and occidental cartoon style, but it works very well, specially since this type of collaboration cartoon was so frequent at that time. The atmosphere of the movie is helped by the gentle colors and the music. Yes, the music.. The music wasn't so great, I have to admit, but it really worked well for one reason. They didn't take instrumental music, they didn't try to compose fantasy-themed music for it. They used modern music, and even though it wasn't the best, it added a different and pleasant feeling to it..
In my opinion this is a beautiful movie that deserves a really high mark..
38 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this