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Traumafessions :: Reader Violet R. on The Last Unicorn

November 5th, 2012 by aunt john · 8 Comments

As a person that reads, I read everything you guys post. So I figured it was time to join the other readers in celebrating Kindertrauma by submitting a Traumafession. Here goes….

When I was young I was obsessed with unicorns. In fact, I “convinced” my friends that the scar on my forehead was merely the result of a horn removal surgery. So you’d be right to assume that THE LAST UNICORN was a must-watch and re-watch for me. But no matter how familiar I made myself with this cinematic masterpiece, it never failed to scare the living sh*t out of me.

First, there was Mommy Fortuna (read by ANGELA LANSBURYFOR REAL) with the tree-stump for a head and her menagerie of abused and ill-willed animals. The Harpy was particularly menacing, what with its flesh-eating ways and all.

Next, there was the belligerent Skull with his red-glowing eyes (the more drunk he got the brighter his eyes would glow! WTF???), his riddles, and his costume jewelry. Nothing is scarier than a mean-spirited alcoholic skeleton dangling from the rafters….except for maybe….

The anthropomorphized, hyper-sexual, psychedelic tree that goes after Schmendrick the Magician like a total perv! And this, my friends, is only the tip of the creepy-probably inappropriate for children-iceberg.

But these days it’s the universal themes of this movie that freak me out, as opposed to the characters themselves. Themes like life, death, genocide, jealousy, abuse, failure, materialism, opportunism, and all the typical sh*tty things that humans tend to do. Compared to the overall message of the movie the Skull seems like your average creepy, yet harmless, drunk cousin at Christmas dinner and the tree is now a mere cougar who has failed at Weight Watchers. But that Harpy is still freaky as hell. “Set me free! We are sisters you and I!”

Violet R.

Tags: Traumafessions

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // Nov 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Oh, I do so love this movie, even if the animation is on the cheap side (typical of Rankin-Bass) and it couldn’t hope to quite capture every delight of the book (Prince Lir is so poor his “armor” is made up of folded-over soda-can pull-tabs–this being written back when those things came away completely). Christopher Lee’s performance as King Haggard is wonderful, and if I could I would’ve given him an Oscar just for Haggard’s soliloquy about his collecting fetish.

  • 2 turnidoffNo Gravatar // Nov 5, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I’M ALIVE!

  • 3 Eric EddyNo Gravatar // Nov 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Grok, I’ve never seen a Rankin-Bass animation project (aside from the stop-motion) that ever looked “cheap.” The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, not to mention their TV projects such as Thundercats always amazed me with the quality of animation. I don’t know where you’re getting that from.

  • 4 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    The Rankin Bass animation is ‘limited’… meaning they try to shave corners on time and budget by not having painterly images and free flowing movements to the same degree as something like ‘Snow White’… so yeah, it’s cheaper to do. But I think their stuff shows a lot of thoughtful design and attention to atmosphere.
    Compare that to something that really does look ‘cheap’ like bottom rung Hanna Barbara cartoons or ‘Clutch Cargo’.

    I’ve always hoped some of Peter S. Beagle’s other books would make it to the screen… ‘A Fine And Private Place’ could be a nice little indie film.

  • 5 Eric EddyNo Gravatar // Nov 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

    That sounds to me like complaints that they didn’t have a budget like Disney… Which is pretty common knowledge. In fact, comparing anything to the absolute best in any department is going to pale in comparison, so maybe you should find something a little less remarkable to compare it to.

    Their character designs and art are always beautiful and they always have the designs well rendered from any angle, which shows a great attention to detail that ONLY a company like Disney can top.

    Also, compare that to half of the programming on Cartoon Network now and tell me which looks cheap… Oops… knob beat me to it.

  • 6 Eric EddyNo Gravatar // Nov 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

    And this:

  • 7 JillSandwichNo Gravatar // Nov 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I don’t think Rankin Bass animation looks cheap at all. Of course it’s not up to the level of Disney, but the STYLE is fantastic. I remember being little and really responding to the animation, especially since all the other animated movies I saw were Disney or Looney Tunes. Last Unicorn is one of my favs!

  • 8 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // Nov 20, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Christ save us all from butthurt fanboys and girls. When you have to cite Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons and “Clutch Cargo” as inferior examples in defense of a theatrical release that came over a decade later, you’ve already lost your argument.

    Jill confuses the visual design with the animation, but that’s okay: a lot can be forgiven because that design is so beautiful. The actual animation is, as Knobgobbler points out, slappy, sloppy, and cuts every corner it can.

    H-B released “Heidi’s Song” the same year as “The Last Unicorn;” feel free to compare THOSE two on animation quality. Nelvanna slung out “Rock & Rule” with marginal TV-quality animation posing as a theatrical film. They were all made to compete with “The Secret of NIMH,” which, while genuinely superior in every way, is itself not above ALL reproach. (And each fanboy’s best-to-worst list will be different. FIGHT!)

    Again, I love TLU but the movie–and Rankin-Bass–are not immune to criticism by any stretch of the imagination. I just made myself sit through R-B’s “The Return of the King,” which is one of the most excruciating pieces of offal ever committed to film or video. R-B’s “The Hobbit” isn’t much better. (Before Peter Jackson’s films saying that out loud would result in a lynching.) TLU is better than both put together but it is not flawless.

    Deal with it.

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