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Jan 042017
 

For a long time I have really enjoyed fantasy films from the 80s like Legend and Willow. Another one I can remember is The Last Unicorn, which has the same style of animation used in fantasy classics like The Hobbit and Return of the King.

In this story, a lone unicorn, simply known as the Unicorn, (voice of Mia Farrow) discovers that she is the last of her kind. So she goes on a quest in search of other unicorns that were chased off the edge of the earth by a demonic creature called the red bull.

She learns this from a Butterfly (voice of Robert Klein) that talks in riddle, songs, and poetry. Why couldn’t he just tell her straight? I mean, the way the Butterfly was carrying on was like he wasn’t paying attention when the Unicorn asked him about anything.

Throughout the Unicorn’s search, many of the people she meets mistake her for a white mare because her horn is invisible to them. It appears that only users of magic can see the unicorn for what she truly is and hear her speak, like Mommy Fortuna (voice of Angela Lansbury). She is a witch who runs a traveling Midnight Carnival, showcasing mythical beasts. Of course, the Unicorn is caged among them.

There, the Unicorn also meets the magician Schmendrick (voice of Alan Arkin). I can tell by his presence and persona that he is not an advanced sorcerer but is still learning.

After Schmendrick sets the Unicorn free, he joins her on her quest to search for other unicorns. All they have to go on is that the red bull comes from the seaside castle of King Haggard (voice of Christopher Lee), thought the connection between the king and the bull is unclear.

Along the way, they meet up with Captain Cully (voice of Keenan Wynn) and his band of outlaws. Although they seem to be a good group, the only one who joins Schmendrick and the Unicorn on their journey is the cook Molly Crue (voice of Tammy Grimes). She’s non-magical but does believe that unicorns are real and has for some time.

After getting to the castle, the red bull arrives and goes after the Unicorn. The only way to save her was for Schmendrick to turn her into a human girl, but that only causes complication. On the bright side, the Unicorn finally has a name, Lady Amalthea.

Image result for last unicorn amalthea

To make matters worse, King Haggard’s son Prince Lir (voice of Jeff Bridges) falls in love with Amalthea. If only he knew the truth about her.

I should also point out that there is also a talking cat that has an eye patch, a wooden leg, and an earring. It also talks like a pirate, which makes you wonder, but there’s no mention of where this cat came from or if King Haggard is its owner.

This was an interesting movie with exciting adventure and an excellent soundtrack that makes it a true 80s fantasy film. It was a great decade for that genre. Am I right?

Aug 182010
 

In addition to Star Wars Celebration V 2010, I’d like to share some of my favorite highlights about the Star Wars franchise.

Darth Vader has a unique method of deep breathing. If you listen closely, it sounds like he’s saying, “Bummer, bummer.”

Before the Storm Troopers were revealed to be an army of clones, I used to think they were all robot soldiers like the Foot Soldiers from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version) because none of them ever took their helmets off.

And let’s certainly not forget General Grievous. Sure he’s a tough droid, but he coughs a lot, which makes him appear less threatening. I wonder what he’s been smoking? Then it becomes more exciting when Grievous reveals that he was trained in the Jedi arts by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and presents four arms with a light saber in each hand. It’s difficult enough for a Jedi knight to go up against Darth Maul’s (Ray Park) double sided light saber.

The Star Wars franchise has become so big that other franchises wanted a piece of it. For example, did you also know that Mark Hamill was once on The Muppet Show as both Luke Skywalker and himself? That’s right. In fact, C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels) , R2-D2, and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) also made appearances in that episode. C-3P0 insists that he and R2-D2 are not song and dance droids, but they’re actually quite good at it.

C-3P0 and R2-D2 also made an appearance on Sesame Street. The only segment I remember was when they helped Big Bird with his numbers using only a series of beeps. “We are computerized robots. We’re experts in numbers.”

Back in 1997 when the original Star Wars trilogy was releasing its 20th anniversary addition VHS set, there was a two part sketch on Saturday Night Live with other actors at a screen test. Kevin Spacey played Christopher Walken as Han Solo, Walter Matthau as Obi-Won, and Jack Lemmon as Chewbacca. I’ll tell ya, he’s a hilarious impressionist. Other impressionists included: Norm Macdonald playing Burt Reynolds as Darth Vader, Darrell Hammond playing Richard Dreyfuss as C-3P0, and Ana Gasteyer playing Barbra Streisand as Princess Leia. Can any of you image what would’ve happened if any of those actors had actually gotten those roles?

Last, but not least, there’s the Star Tours ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was one of the first motion rides I’ve been to where you’re seated inside a confined room with seatbelts. The pilot is a small droid named Rex-1 that’s out on his first flight. I can’t help but think that ever since this ride first opened in the early 90s, every flight was Rex-1’s first flight. He just didn’t seem to get any better.

There you have it. Star Wars has come a long way since its premiere in the 70s. George Lucas was a real artistic writer/director. Jedi warriors seem to lead interesting and exciting lives. The only part that I dislike is that Jedis are not allowed to have relationships. I’m sure that would explain part of Anakin’s frustration when he became a Jedi.