Customer Review

294 of 333 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, poor DVD release, August 3, 2004
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This review is from: The Last Unicorn (DVD)
Although anime is beginning to change people's minds, far too many Westerners still think of animation as a genre only fit for children. The Last Unicorn ought to be high on the viewing list of anyone who believes animation is just for kids--yes, it's a "cartoon," but it's also beautifully animated, with unique and unforgettable characters, and the storyline is as true to the original source material (book by Peter S. Beagle) as any movie adaptation I've ever seen.

In her unchanging, always-spring forest lives a unicorn (voice of Mia Farrow), ageless, wise and innocent, and without regret--unicorns can feel sorrow, but it's not the same thing. One day, when men come into her forest to hunt, she discovers that she is the last of the unicorns. With snatches of help and hints from a dizzy butterfly, she sets out to find the others. On her way she picks up an incompetent magician named Schmendrick (voice of Alan Arkin), a withered woman named Molly Grue (voice of Tammy Grimes), and eventually finds the kingdom of King Haggard (voice of Christopher Lee) and his son Lir (voice of Jeff Bridges). But in the changing, aging world of humans, can the unicorn even keep track of who she is and how the story should end?

The movie version isn't perfect. There are some awkward scenes, including a terrible duet by Mia Farrow and Jeff Bridges which never should have been included, and some scenes contain material such as mild profanity, bare breasts and depictions of death which might not be suitable for children. But there is an earnestness to this film, a magic in the way ideas are expressed, that's all too rare in modern filmmaking. This quality helps many viewers overlook the film's flaws.

So if The Last Unicorn is that good of a movie, why does it only rate two stars? Because the U.S. DVD release is terrible. This is a full-frame release, ***not widescreen***. The DVD has poor cover art and offers zero special features. The actual transfer is grainy and blurry in spots, with no evidence of any kind of restoration work. The soundtrack has a distinctly tinny quality. In fact, the only reason one would purchase this DVD was if one had only a single copy of the film taped off television some 15 years ago and watched over and over until the VHS tape nearly wore out... rather like me, in fact.

Don't purchase this DVD. I wouldn't have done so if I had known what I know now. Instead, look for the 25th Anniversary edition released in 2006 by Lionsgate Entertainment.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2008 12:21:45 PM PDT
It's true that the first time it was released on DVD it was crap, but now it's been re-released, and the new version is much better.

If you haven't bought the DVD yet, PLEASE buy it directly from Conlan Press -- otherwise, Peter Beagle receives none of the profits, no royalties or anything; you can learn more at www.conlanpress.com. And no, I'm not associated with Conlan Press or with Beagle -- I'm just trying to help him get the money he deserves for having written the amazing, gorgeous book that this movie was based on.

Posted on May 23, 2009 11:21:16 AM PDT
agreed, the original was done poorly, but this new addition is amazing!! very clear picture etc - the best ever!! I also agree to get it thru peter's site because why IS he getting nothing from these sales?? but anyway, reviewer should *UPDATE* this review so that ppl are not turned off from buying the incredible 25th anniversary version, which has been available for quite a while now!! (not 2004!)

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 10:23:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2009 10:32:26 AM PST
Kid Icarus says:
those scenes and Molly's "language"(she was a pirate) were part of the original(movie) and I hate it when they "clean house". The duet of Bridges and Farrow wasn't too bad except for Bridges part, he should have been replaced with Micheal McDonnald, Billy Ocean or Donald Fagen or someone of similar voice to Mr. Bridges. Mia Farrow's talant should NEVER be replaced! This was based on a fantasy Novel and so also, this is not a kid's movie anyway, most kids would be bored by the meloncoly music, the far too layered plot about King Haggard and the syrupy love plots. In 1981/2 a lot of "cartoons" were this way and it depressed me, though now I love it. Adult taste. This is not for kids. Little Mermaid, Lion King, or the Pixar Toystory films, that's what kids like.

Posted on Jun 23, 2010 8:22:15 AM PDT
L. Donovan says:
Farrow's singing has to be one of the worst things I have ever heard - I remember the first time I heard it on DVD; It's ALWAYS cut from TV and it was the first time I realised it was an imperfect movie. I think everyone should watch it once, remember it... and then skip through that scene every time they watch the movie from then on.

Posted on Jan 29, 2012 10:13:06 PM PST
I'm one of those people who see animation as an art form; and this is one of the best.

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 11:32:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 22, 2012 11:33:11 AM PST
C. Caudle says:
I hate to disagree, but the removal of certain scenes containing VERY mild profanity in the 25th anniversary edition ruined one of the best scenes in the original release. The censorship of language is becoming epidemic in this country. The 25th anniversary edition is brighter and the sound has been cleaned up a little, but the fact is the animation and music are dated. There is no getting around this. But leave the language alone. What child is kept safe by eliminating the word "damn". Damn?! Ugh! People...
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