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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2011

ARTICLE INDEX

"The Last Unicorn" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-march-2011-last-unicorn

Synopsis

This movie is based on the book by Peter S. Beagle.  It opens with a Unicorn (Mia Farrow) hearing from a couple of hunters that she is the last unicorn in all the land.  She decides to set out and search for others of her kind.  Along the way, the Unicorn gets abducted by a wicked witch, Mommy Fortuna (Angela Lansbury) who wants the Unicorn for her travelling side show.  A budding wizard, Schmendrick (Alan Arkin), helps the Unicorn escape.  He joins her in her quest to find the Red Bull and the rest of her clan.  Throughout this fantastic adventure, she learns of friendship, love, and most importantly, her true self. Their journey through the kingdom of King Haggard is full of adventure and intrigue, like when the Unicorn meets Prince Lir (Jeff Bridges) and they fall in love.  Will her love for the Prince stop the Unicorn from completing her quest or will she be able to find and rescue the other Unicorns?

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 1982, Color, Rated G, 1 Hr 33 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow and Angela Landsbury
  • Directed by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

The Last Unicorn is a beloved classic to many fans out there.  For my part, I was a little too old and mature to be interested in this movie when it first released in 1982.  Now, after having just watched this new Blu-Ray of The Last Unicorn, I can fully understand why so many people love this movie. It is a great story set in a magical, colorful world of unicorns, magicians and strange beasts.  I found it easy to connect with the characters.  You really start hoping for a positive outcome as the story unfolds.  The movie also involves some humor with the butterfly (Robert Klein) and the Wizard, Schmendrick. It wasn't all good, as a number of the singing performances lacked depth on many levels.  But this didn't seriously tarnish what is otherwise a very engaging and enjoyable movie for kids of all ages.

Technical

The picture shows some film grain and other film-related issues, but it is generally very clean.  The colors are mostly natural, with the brightest colors coming from the characters' clothes and the Red Bull.  Check out the red cape that King Haggard wears.  It is a brilliant, bright red in this transfer.  The picture also presents the background scenery in all its stylized splendor.  On the audio side, I watched the movie with the 25th Anniversary surround mix that's encoded in DTS HD Master.  For the most part, it sounded like a stereo track with a matrixed center channel and a hall effect added for the ambience.  That's not to say it was bad, because I really liked the subtlety of the effect.  The picture and sound are definitely dated, but sufficiently engaging to support the film on a modern home theater rig.

Extras

This is a combo pack that includes a bonus DVD of the movie.  The package comes with a whole host of quality extras: "Immortal Characters" Featurette, an audio commentary with Peter S. Beagle and publisher Connor Cochran, 2010 The Last Unicorn art contest gallery, Peter S. Beagle and his work, The Tale of the Last Unicorn Minidocumentary, Schmendrick's Magical Gallery, the Original Trailer and a trailer gallery.