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Once Upon a Time (2004)

 Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Animated, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001DCXQA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,754 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Once Upon a Time (1987) began as Kunihiko Yuyama's ecologically themed tragedy Windaria (1986). Carl Macek and a crew at Harmony Gold recut and rewrote the film, to the chagrin of anime purists. The story focuses on happily married farmers Alan and Marie, and on Roland and Veronica, the star-crossed prince and princess of the rival kingdoms of Lunaria and the Shadowlands. Their unhappy romances are played against a war for control of the local water supply. In its present form, the feature is ponderous and uninvolving, due in large part to the flatness of the narration and the vocal performances: declarations of love, infidelity, and war sound like someone reading a shopping list. At a time when American viewers want to re-create the original experience of anime as closely as possible, Once Upon a Time feels like an anachronism. (Rated 13 and older: violence, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Edited! March 3, 2008
By Lee
Loves the story very much but has been edited and dubbed were heavily destroyed the original story line. The voice actors for english dialoque sounds ok. I just hope there'll be a company that can re-release in uncut version with original language including subtitles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Enlightenment is something you EARN..." November 11, 2007
With such a generic title, you might think this is just another fairy tale story; but it's really a very mature Shakespearean-style tragedy...with senseless warfare and death, and a flawed hero in need of redemption.

The peace-loving Valley Folk of Windaria live out their quiet lives in the glorious shadow of The Guardian Tree of Life, the symbol of their faith. Among the tree-huggers is a conceited blonde-haired vegetable hawker named Alan and his sweet-natured wife, Marie. Unlike her husband, Marie doesn't go around with a chip on her shoulder. She does, however, go around with a big-eared squirrel named "Chipper" on her shoulder. Unfortunately, their tranquil Valley is situated precariously between the stingy people of Lunaria and the treacherous inhabitants of the dreaded Shadowlands.

The Lunarians have long been hoarding all of Windaria's fresh water in an enormous canal, holding back the waves with a set of stone floodgates monitored by a somnolent old gentleman named Caleb. The tainted water of the dark and dismal Shadowlands is known to cause insanity when consumed, so the residents depend on Lunaria's generosity to quench their thirst. The Shadowlanders' warmongering ruler, King Draco, is sick and tired of the ever-increasing water bills, and is itching to wring the thick neck of the rotund Lunarian Empress...who just happens to be the mother of his son Roland's ravishing blue-eyed girlfriend, Princess Veronica.

When he's not reprimanding the lazy and incompetent soldiers of the Shadowlands' inexperienced army, the periwinkle-clad Prince Roland secretly likes to send mushy love letters to Lunaria's pacifist Princess via carrier pigeon, inviting her to meet him in the Haunted Woods for a late-night royal rendezvous...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fair fable May 18, 2007
This charming story can be enjoyed in many ways. The first is simply as an exciting story, with star-crossed lovers, scheming rulers, and vast wars. Animation and artwork are quite good - it's twenty years old, as of this writing, but has lost nothing with age. At the next level it's a Romeo and Juliet story, but with startling differences in its denouement. Behind all that lies a thoughtful ecofable, all the more realistic as we put increasing demands on our water supplies.

It's not a must-have for the anime fan, but very appealing anyway. You'll see some bloodless violence and romance that keeps its clothes on, but no truly disturbing themes. Enjoy!

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5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie to buy November 7, 2013
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This movie is hard to find anywhere, but its a good one to see if youre into deep animated stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very neat movie. February 1, 2013
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Intresting story that starts out light and gets deeper and more intwined as it goes along, if you like older anime films i would definitely check this one out.
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