Ferngully: The Last Rainforest 30th Anniversary Edition
review by Bobby Blakey
In 1992 director Bill Kroyer brought the world of Ferngully to the big screen. The film featured a great voice cast including Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Jonathan Ward, Tim Curry and the late Robin Williams. Now Shout Factory is releasing a 30th Anniversary Edition of the film through its Shout Kids brand, but does the film still bring the magic fans remember or will it fail to cast a spell?
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest follows Crysta, a fairy who lives in FernGully, a rainforest in Australia, and has never seen a human before. In fact, she is told they are extinct. But when a logging company comes near the rainforest, she sees that they do exist, and even accidentally shrinks one of them: a boy named Zak. Now her size, Zak sees the damage that the company does and helps Crysta to stop not only them, but an evil entity named Hexxus, who feeds off pollution.
I remember seeing this film in theaters, but held even deeper meaning getting to share it with my daughter years later. Diving back into it again after all these years made me wonder if it was really going to still entertain or would it just be my own nostalgia. I loved revisiting this film. Sure its not the best animated film ever or anything, but it has that vibe from the time period that holds up and still manages to entertain with my favorite being Tone-Loc’s Goanna performance of “If I’m Going To Eat Somebody”.
The late great Robin Williams is so great here and you forget that this was actually his first animated film since we are so used to all those he did. In addition this also marked the first full length animated feature for Tim Curry and Elton John contributing the soundtrack. On the surface it’s a great film if not pretty average, but looking back there are
so many firsts from the cast to the technology that really helped to push animation into what we all love today.
To bring Ferngully to life, the filmmakers used what was then brand-new special effects technology for penetrating layers of backgrounds, and to generate the beginning stages of drawings which were then completed by hand. 150,000 cels were created for the film, a total of 38 miles of artwork if they were laid end-to-end. Although many steps were computer assisted, every shot was primarily painted and animated by hand. The key creative team spent time in the Australian rainforest to view first-hand one of the richest natural environments on earth, and drew inspiration from the multi-hued colors of the forest and exotic wildlife.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including a fascinating NEW introduction with director Bill Kroyer, which includes never-before-seen pencil, character and animation tests. Other features include multiple commentaries, featurettes, a music video, a multi-angle scene study, a script-to-scene comparison, and more.
Grab your copy of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest 30th Anniversary Edition available now from Shout Kids.
For more information head over to www.shoutfactory.com