FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

Genre: Animation, Kids

Cast: Samantha Mathis, Tim Curry, Robin Williams

Synopsis:  A bunch of magical rainforest fairies and a shrunken human battle against a camp toxic sludge monster after humans unwittingly release it from its tree-prison. Nostalgia overwhelms me.

Earlier this week, some work colleagues and I began discussing a case about an oil company drilling for oil in the rainforest and I nonchalantly commented that it was the real-world sequel to FernGully. That conversation set off a spark in my head: when was the last time I watched that movie? FernGully was a childhood favorite of mine. How could it not be? It was colorful, had some great songs, and it had Robin Williams and Tim Curry in it. I wondered how well the movie would translate after a few tokes from Mrs. Peacock (FYI, Mrs. Peacock is my bong’s name; I do not go around inhaling old-lady murder suspects). Curiosity got the better of me and I caved.

There is no doubt in my mind that weed made many aspects of this film more enjoyable. For starters, there’s a lot of trippy shit in the film. There’s a scene where we’re flying through the rainforest, another with a sort of tribal art motif, and then another with glowing fairies creating a tree. These scenes will definitely make you ooh and aah. Weed also made me appreciate Robin William’s awesomeness. Seriously, that guy has been in some great stuff! Unfortunately, weed also made me focus on some of the film’s primary weaknesses: namely the high school play kind of acting and the pseudo-spiritual dialogue which didn’t really mean anything. Although these weaknesses stood out, they were not strong enough to kill the overall feeling of nostalgia that I felt. It was planted like a seed in the pit of my stomach and grew throughout my body, clinging to me, like ivy…see what I did with the nature metaphor? Smart, right?

I have to admit, FernGully can be very heavy-handed with its anti-deforestation message. There are times when we witness the horror of tree rape and it’s almost as if a representative from Green Peace is standing in front of the screen yelling ‘Stop!’ The film lacks a certain finesse that can be found in Studio Ghibli films such as Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both of which have a similar message to FernGully and deliver a final product that is more mature. However, the messages in FernGully are good ones to know, especially for kids who lack the ability to appreciate complexity in films. Also, there’s a surprising ‘don’t force yourself on women’ moment which was completely unexpected but appreciated nonetheless. As far as educational children’s movies go, you can definitely do much worse…I mean, I saw Fritz the Cat when I was five…that kind of explains a lot actually.

High-lights:

  • It’s like 80’s New York grit mixed with the beauty of nature.
  • Did she just do a Nazi salute?
  • Did they just have consensual fairy sex?
  • Magi is awesome. I wish I could control nature like that.

Downers:

  • There’s a lot of semi-spiritual gobbledygook in this movie that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Raining life???
  • Crysta can be kind of annoying at times. She’s like some sort of weird spiritual bumpkin who dances like a ho.
  • Zak reminded me of my mortal enemy so it made him a lot less sympathetic.

Summary:

This is a great movie if you’re looking for a walk down memory lane. It has a cool nostalgic kitsch to it which made for a nice viewing experience. Sometimes you need to revisit the films you loved as a child, even if they’re not all that good. For occasions like these, it’s sativa all the way. Also, it’s probably best to watch them on your own: you don’t want your friends to see you tearing up when a beloved character dies which seems to happen in virtually every kid movie, including this one.

7/10

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10 Comments

Filed under Animation, Good, Kids

10 responses to “FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

  1. Another awesome review. Makes me almost want to watch this again. Not quite, but almost! 🙂

    • I’m glad that my review almost convinced you! Although it’s making me wonder what more I could have done to get you to re-watch it.

      • As much as I loved that the voices were those of Christian Slater & Samantha Mathis, reminding me of how awesome Pump Up The Volume was, I’m afraid it’s not enough to make me truly enjoy Fern Gully again when I have no weed. 😦 If I had some weed, I’d probably do a double feature with the two. That would be cool…!

  2. goat

    I hate how heavy – handed this movie is. But that manic “PRICE check on PRUNE juice, Bob!” monologue gets me every time…

  3. Julia Pepperwood

    I loved this movie, but I haven’t seen it since I was a kid, mostly because of Zak and his blond shaggy mullet, and Hexxus the big pollution blob freaked me out.

  4. Pingback: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) | bakedmoviereviews

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