A Childhood Remembered…

for many years, i had never met anyone other than my sisters who had seen the last unicorn, and this has always saddened me.

upon entering college, i learned that NO, it wasn’t just me, and others had their identities shaped by this somewhat shitty, somewhat beautiful children’s fantasy.

now i know i usually focus on horror movies, but as this scared the bejesus out of me when i was teeny-tiny, i think it counts.

general plot:

a unicorn (mia farrow) overhears hunters in the forest mentioning that she is the last of her kind.  what? she says.  i cannot possibly be the last.  but upon meeting a butterfly (creatures apparently only able to repeat things they have heard before and wearing a graduation cap and john lennon glasses) confirms that, yes, she is.  because “they passed down all the roads long ago, and the red bull ran close behind them” chasing them into the sea.

our unicorn, whom we already love and want to protect, decides to seek them out.

along the way she is accidentally captured by a witch named Mommy Fortuna (awesome, right?) played by Angela Lansbury where she meets Schmendrick, the Magician.  He is a rather bad magician though, only good enough to draw applause at the horrible travelling carnival Mommy Fortuna drags along with her.

normal people are incapable of seeing immortal creatures (as unicorns are).  as the butterfly tells her at the beginning, they are seen only by those who truly seek and believe and are a “fabulous animal resembling a horse” that is generally mistaken for a white mare.

but Mommy Fortuna, being a witch, knows exactly what she is, as does Schmendrick.  And so he frees her.  and she proceeds to free all the animals in Mommy Foruna’s faked carnival, including a harpee with three breasts (see the scary?) who has a wavering voice and begs the unicorn to free her suggesting “we are sisters, you and i.”  it here that we learn that you should never run from anything immortal.  it attracts their attention.  remember that kids.

When the harpee is freed, her primary goal is to destroy her captor, and as she tears apart Mommy Fortuna, you can hear the old woman still upholding her superiority, yelling, “I held you.”  Scary, huh?

Schmendrick and the unicorn leave on their journey to find the rest of the unicorns who have been driven into the sea by the red bull at the urging of King Haggard (a lovely Christopher Lee).  Along the way, they meet Molly Grue–a woman who has been seeking a unicorn all her life, and in her old age, is angry at the unicorn for appearing now, as unicorns are supposed to come to young maidens.  She cries, “How dare you come to me now… when I am this?”  A feeling a  little more and more familiar each day.

Molly accompaies them to the castle of Haggard, but before they arrive, they encounter the red bull, and Scmendrick does all he can to save her, turning the unicorn into a human girl–The Lady Amalthea. Both Molly and the unicorn are devastated at this transformation, as the unicorn says, “I can feel this body dying all around me.”  Do you see the darkness?

Eventually reaching Haggard in human form, Amalthea becomes more Amalthea and less unicorn.  She begins to forget her immortal self, falls in the love with a prince, and nearly forgets to save her unicorn counterparts.

Now, there are some choice moments at the end there, and I won’t ruin them, but you should know, this film, which I watched for the 3000th time last night, is the absolute foundation of my identity.

this film taught me what it means when women age.  It taught me what regret was.  it taught me about depth in film.  it taught me more than i can say.

a few years ago there was talk of making a live action version of the film, starring the same cast (in different roles, of course).  the preliminary art for it was absolutely beautiful, and i write this blog this morning to convince the acolytes of the film to take up its cause.  can we do this together?

from the live action film… hopefully….

See, you wanna see it, right?


~ by acaseofyou12581 on June 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “A Childhood Remembered…”

  1. i love this move i have loved it since i was like 3 yrs old.. 🙂

  2. It’s amazing how few people have actually seen this movie. It took me 19 years (I am not kidding) to find anyone outside my family who had seen it.

    As a result, this person is one of my best friends.

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