62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Blu-Ray should be the best version yet,
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)
For those of you not in the know The Last Unicorn is a really nice fantasy movie based on the popular book by Peter Beagle. As the name implies it's about unicorn who found out she is the last of her kind and sets out to uncover the truth behind that. She soon finds out all of the other unicorns have been captured by a mythical creature, and with the help of an inept magician and a surly maiden they seek out to bring the unicorns back from captivity.
The story is among the best in fairy tale fiction. You have a fair number of mystical creatures and learn interesting tidbits about them throughout the film. You also have a romantic aspect between a prince and maiden (which is required for many who love fairy tales), sword slinging action, wondrous magic, singing (we'll get to that later), and comedy all done up by the voice talents of A-list actors like Allen Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Edward Scissorhands), Mia Farrow (Rosemary's Baby, Hannah and her Sisters), Christopher Lee (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars prequels), Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Tron movies), Angela Landsbury (Beauty and the Beast, Murder She Wrote), and a slew of other notable talents.
The action scenes are exciting and directing does well with the movement and colors in these scenes. The scenes that involve the romance feel real with characters hitting home the type of emotions a young love can feel. The fun scenes are really fun, but it's more dialog kind of funny. Lots of good one liners come from the script. Not so much in the realm of visual comedy unless you count the scene with the laughing skeleton and maybe one scene with a talking cat. The villain (done by Lee) is pitch perfect in execution as both a bad man and a flawed human being. The voice acting feels just as perfect with maybe an exception to Arkin's Schmendrick, whose lines sometimes feel a little wooden.
The animation is done by the Rankin/Bass team. They are more known for their stop motion holiday specials. However they also have a respectable cartoon portfolio with tv shows like the Thundercats and movies like The Flight of Dragons, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Wind and the Willows. The animation is much like their other feature films with the same distinctive look and feel. It actually fits well with this movie. The frame rate isn't on the same rotoscoped level as some Disney classics, but it's not anywhere near as distracting as some Saturday morning cartoons made back then.
Now this being a fairy tale, and much like what Disney made the standard for these types of films, there is a singing interlude in the film. Now this is a duet from actors Jeff Bridges and Mia Farrow, and well... they aren't singers. You can hear the strain from the voices. Originally the plan was to have Katie Irving sing Mia's part, but apparently that never happened in the final theatrical release. If you're a big fan of musical numbers this won't impress you. Now as to the rest of the music like the title theme and about all of the montages have songs from the band America, and they are really good, original songs. I recommend getting the soundtrack if you are a fan of this band.
Now previous video releases of this film had various levels of criticism tied to them for various reasons. The original DVD release was a poor transfer with no special features. The 25th Anniversary Edition had a much better transfer and had extra features, but was an edited version; taking out the occasional PG swear words the film had and even speeding up the film slightly (which made everybody talk in a bit higher pitch). Another bad thing about the 25th Anniversary edition was Beagle didn't get any royalties on the release. Now the Blu-Ray edition coming out should address a number of issues:
1 - Peter Beagle himself has been expressing a lot of enthusiasm for this release, but unfortunately he's still not in the loop for royalties. If you want Peter to get a fair share please get your copy at the Conlan Press website. They are also selling Blu-Rays signed by Beagle himself.
2 - Beagle announced that both the censored 25th Anniversary version and the original uncensored theatrical version will be on the Blu-Ray. Unfortunately the DVD is really just the 25th Anniversary edition so no it's going to have the same issues.
3 - When Beagle saw the Blu-Ray he was blown away with what he saw. Does that mean a true high definition treatment? Sounds like it.
Not a whole lot of definite answers to some pressing questions, but since it's all coming from the man himself I find it encouraging. The Last Unicorn will be presenting in full high definition 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for both the censored and uncensored English audio. This combo pack will have the following bonus features, some of which are exclusive to this release:
Audio commentary by Peter Beagle and publisher Connor Cochran - YES!!! Finally a commentary from Beagle.
The Tail of the Last Unicorn - Basically a short retrospective from Beagle.
Making-of The Last Unicorn - A brand new documentary on the making of the movie.
Escape the Red Bull - Pretty much a kid's game made for DVD.
Schmendrick's Magical Gallery - Production stills of the movie. This is a bid expansion from the previous DVD version with more stills than ever before.
Art Contest Gallery - Brand new extra. I think this will be entries from the 2010 Last Unicorn art contest. Beagle selected the winners himself.
Original Theatrical Trailer
So far from what I am hearing this is the release to get excited about. It fixes much of the problems the previous releases had and gives us the extras we deserved to get from the get go. If you love fairy tale fantasy you owe it to yourself to see this film. Any current fan of the film should go ahead and consider taking that double or triple dip for this edition.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 16, 2011 9:10:33 AM PST
Anyone know if the uncensored edition will be included on the DVD yet? There's a little over a month 'til the release date, seems like someone would have said something by now...may be pathetic, but I'm not quite willing to spend $78++ on a Blu-ray player.....I guess I will if this isn't uncensored, since some movies are cheaper on blu-ray than they are on DVD...
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2011 12:13:35 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 16, 2011 11:18:46 AM PST]
Posted on Jan 21, 2011 12:11:34 PM PST
Lisa Adams says:
Peter is very excited about this true and wonderful version, but no he still is not getting the royalties he deserves. if that is something you are concerned about go to conlan press dot com, he get profits from those sales. and you can get autographed and personalized copies.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2011 6:29:49 AM PST
Thanks for the update. I researched what you said and confirmed it. It's sad that there still isn't room to give Beagle at least a little something from making money off his work. Also found out from my research that the DVD is just the 25th Anniversary Edition stuck in the same packaging. That's disappointing. Anyway I updated my review with the new info. Again thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2011 7:55:18 AM PST
I thought I'd update this for anyone who also doesn't have the funds and/or interest in upgrading to Blu-ray that this edition of THE LAST UNICORN does not contain the uncensored edition on DVD. Uncensored only applies to the Blu-ray. Seems like I'm the only one who doesn't have a blu-ray player or plan to get one soon, but just in case. The Peter S. Beagle newsletter was e-mailed to me yesterday and it confirmed this.
Posted on Jan 22, 2011 7:56:53 AM PST
I apologize for repeating the reviewers info, I didn't read the post thoroughly before posting my info. I also didn't look at who it was that wrote it...sorry.
Posted on Jan 22, 2011 8:01:36 AM PST
I don't see any update in regards to the censorship contained in this package in your review. I see the 25th Anniversary Edition mentioned, but don't see anything about it being included in this package. Was that not the info you planned on updating your review with?
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2011 7:55:22 AM PST
I mentioned the censoring earlier in the review where I talk about the 25th Anniversary Edition. No need to repeat the same information twice.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2011 8:01:18 AM PST
Ok, I see it now. I guess I overlooked it b/c it starts with a # plus the words "Peter S. Beagle"...sorry.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2011 3:01:21 PM PST
Mr. Gside says: