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Ferngully - A Cult Classic Remembered

Growing up in the early 1990s, public service announcements came in different forms. If live action didn't take the attention of little kids, most likely cartoons did with their message. Ferngully attempted to show its audience what a natural disaster could make of a thriving rainforest. It wasn't well received back then, but has slowly gained a bigger audience over time.

 

What's it about?

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest tells the tale of a group of fairies who look after a rainforest, guarding it over any dangers. After a teenage woodcutter named Zak makes his way over to an unusual looking tree, he gets shrunken down by a fairy in training, Crysta who's still learning her own powers, all while two other unsuspecting woodcutters cut down the tree, breaking free a toxic entity known as Hexxus, that gains more power when exposed to burning oil, and feeding energy on the wood cutting machine, the leveler. Enlisting the help with the fairies, Zak must find a way inside of the leveler to put an end to Hexxus' plan to wipe out the rainforest.

What's great about it?

Obviously for starters, the cast of voices brought in should be a first sign. Tim Curry, Christian Slater, Robin Williams, Cheech Marin and even rapper Tone Loc all helped bring the story to life with personality. Adding to that were the songs in the film as well, Robin Williams' "Batty Rap" easily butts heads with the equally awesome "Toxic Love" from Tim Curry, along with other supporting songs at the time, such as "Land of a Thousand Dances" from Guy and "A Dream Worth Keeping" from Sheena Easton. Of course with the use of state of the art 3D technology, some special effects were done to give extra detail to the backgrounds and setting. The leveler machine animates in full 3D as well!

Did you know? Development of the film began as early as 1990, with the film crew flying all the way to Australia to get an idea of how rainforests looked, visualizing it into animated form.

 

Why did it fail?

Not everyone was keen on environmental messages at the time of the movie's release, seeing it as preachy and leaving a bad taste in their mouths with how forced it felt. Secondly, its release time was overshadowed with another animated movie that soon came to theaters that also starred Robin Williams that everyone knows today, Disney's Aladdin. Although not every critic will agree that it's a great movie, I still think of it as an underappreciated classic.

The (not so stellar) sequel

A few years after the release of the original movie, 1998 saw a rather unexpected direct-to-video sequel that came out of nowhere, known as Ferngully 2: The Magical Rescue with the returning characters (minus Zak, of course) saving baby animals from a group of poachers. The follow up is nothing special though, none of the actors from the first movie reprise their roles to voice the familiar characters and in obvious direct-to-video fashion, the animation budget is that of a Saturday morning cartoon.

Ferngully 2 was a sequel that wasn't really needed, and also lacked the charm of the original.

 

Legacy

In a land of films that people may only recognize with Robin Williams in it, some like to look back on it, others, not so much with how different it felt compared to other animated movies at the time. At the end of the day Ferngully: The Last Rainforest not only tried to send a message, but also is a relic of its time with its early 1990s soundtrack and attempts at early 3D effects while pushing celebrity voices.

What are your memories of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!

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Mr Magic Posted on Nov 13, 2022 at 09:20 PM

I honestly don't remember that much about it. But I thought it was okay for what it was.

Benjanime Posted on Oct 09, 2022 at 12:16 AM

@Julie

and i love you, my honeybunches ❤️

Julie Posted on Oct 08, 2022 at 08:56 PM

I agree with you, my beloved @Benjanime❤❤, The movie is a masterpiece, I love the plot and the technical imagery aspect. And of course, the well-knows actors dubbing this gem. And I wouldn't mind having the sequel in DVD. ;)
Thanks for the passionate, cute article, my sweet love @Benjanime.❤❤ I love you!❤❤

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