The Last Unicorn
Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
Okay, seriously, what the fuck is up with this movie? The Last Unicorn is a trip from beginning to end. This film was released in 1982 and with a star studded cast including Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow and Angela Lansbury, you might not expect it to be completely insane.
You would be wrong, this shit’s fucking bonkers.
The plot: There is an evil king (of course) who attempts to capture all of the world’s unicorns and keep hold them prisoner in the sea.
He succeeds in capturing all but one, the Last Unicorn, voiced by Mia Farrow. She hears a rumour from a butterfly tripping on acid that she is the last of her kind and leaves her magical forest in order to find out what’s up. Along the way she is captured by a vile witch, and while in captivity she meets Schmendrick (seriously), an incompetent wizard who attempts to free her. This witch is pretty audacious. She runs a travelling circus and most of her exotic creatures are pathetic animals with illusions thrown over them. However, she has also managed to capture a Harpy, one of the most vicious and terrifying creatures in mythology with three tits.
They manage to escape even though Schmendrick is totally useless, and the Harpy kills the witch as predicted. Schmendrick and the unicorn run away, they have adventures, are waylaid by some forest bandits and Schmendrick is really proud of himself when he manages to conjure some sweet Robin Hood holograms to distract them. The bandits aren’t overly impressed, and Schmendrick’s pride is short lived considering that he ends up tied to a tree about two seconds laster. He attempts to free himself with magic and things…happen.
By this point I’m usually shouting ‘WHAT THE FUCK EVEN IS THIS MOVIE?!’ but you just can’t turn away. The unicorn frees Schmendrick and they move on. They meet up with Molly Grue, who is totally that crazy horse girl everyone knows from elementary school. She looses her shit when she sees the unicorn and decides that she’s coming with them. I kinda like Molly because she’s pretty spunky and calls everyone out on their shit. Schmendrick is obviously not cool with this because he thinks she’s going to steal his unicorn thunder or something.
She’s basically tells him to fuck off because she’s coming whether he wants to or not, and they move on. They finally get close to King Haggard’s palace when they are accosted by the infamous Red Bull. He tries to herd the unicorn into the sea and they all freak out, Schmendrick turns her into a human cause the Red Bull ain’t bout that. Personally I’d be giving props to Schmenny for his innovative and effective solution but Molly and the Unicorn are total divas about it.
The unicorn/girl finally sucks it up and they finally reach King Haggard’s castle. Schmendrick introduces the unicorn as the Lady Amalthea and the rest of the movie is mostly just people whining. King Haggard, voiced by Christopher Lee and guaranteed to make you pee your pants, whines because he hates literally everything in the world. His adopted son Prince Lir, whines because he has a huge crush on Lady Amalthea which his hilarious because she literally doesn’t say a SINGLE WORD to him, and also because she’s a unicorn. Schmendrick whines because he’s stuck being King Haggard’s jester, which obviously sucks. The Lady Amalthea whines because she’s tripping out and starting to forget that she’s a unicorn. Molly Grue whines because everyone whines to her except for the talking pirate cat. Talking. Pirate. Cat.
Finally thanks to the marvellous Molly, everybody remembers why they are in this shitty King’s castle in the first place. Even though it’s really tragic because she has to break up with her super badass Prince bf, the Lady Amalthea decides that it’s time to get shit done and Schmendrick turns her back into a unicorn.
They manage to get into the Red Bull’s lair and the unicorn has a single moment of badassery when she drives him into the sea, freeing all the unicorn’s and bringing magic and rainbows and all that junk back into the world. King Haggard is DISPLEASED:
I’d love to say this movie has a happy ending but it kind of doesn’t. The Unicorn goes back to her forest but she is tainted by her brief jaunt into humanity, which has left her with icky residual feelings. She is immortal once more but now knows the pains of lost love and is no longer the innocent creature she once was. But, you know, whatever.
This movie just seems like such an odd children’s film but sometimes things that make perfect sense to us when we’re young seem totally bananas when we get older. This movie is definitely magical and has some great little nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout the crazy, and everyone should experience it at least once.