FernGully: The Last Rainforest

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FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Ferngully.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bill Kroyer
Produced by Peter Faiman
Wayne Young
Screenplay by Jim Cox
Based on FernGully: The Last Rainforest 
by Diana Young
Starring Jonathan Ward
Samantha Mathis
Tim Curry
Christian Slater
Robin Williams
Grace Zabriskie
Geoffrey Blake
Robert Pastorelli
Music by Alan Silvestri
Edited by Gillian Hutshing
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • April 10, 1992 (1992-04-10) (North America)
  • September 17, 1992 (1992-09-17) (Australia)
Running time
75 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Language English
Budget $22 million[1]
Box office $32.7 million

FernGully: The Last Rainforest is a 1992 Australian-American animated fantasy environmental film directed by Bill Kroyer. It was produced by Peter Faiman and Wayne Young, with the screenplay written by Jim Cox adapted from a book of the same name by Diana Young. The film features the voice talents of Jonathan Ward as Zak, Samantha Mathis as Crysta, Tim Curry as Hexxus, Robin Williams as Batty Koda, and Christian Slater as Pips.

The film was released in the United States on April 10, 1992 and in Australia on September 17, 1992, and received mixed to positive reviews. In 1998, the film was followed by the direct-to-video sequel, FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue. The film takes place in a fictitious Australian rain forest ruled by fairies. Crysta, one of the fairies, accidentally shrinks a young logger called Zak then falls in love with him. Together they rally the fairies and the animals of the rain forest to protect their home from the loggers and a malevolent pollution entity, Hexxus.

Plot[edit]

Crysta is a fairy with a curious nature living in FernGully; a part of the rainforest devoid of human life. As such fairies believe humans to be extinct thanks to Hexxus; a malevolent creature who had drawn them out of FernGully many years before. Crysta is the apprentice of Magi, a motherly-figure fairy who uses the magical arts to grow plants, who warns her of her rampant curiosity. One day Christa leaves the forest to an area she had never been before and meets Batty Koda, a fruit bat who claims to have been experimented on by humans, who stuck a radio antenna to his head, giving him an unstable personality. She does not believe him until she encounters a group of lumberjacks cutting down trees with a leveler. She sees Zak, a young human who is about to be crushed by a tree, and Crysta uses her powers to accidentally shrink him to "fairy size." and Batty rescues them from a spiderweb immediately after. Realizing that Zak is a human, he tries to warn Crysta, but she becomes even more curious about him. After convincing him that she does not know enough magic to turn him back, Zak agrees to go with Crysta to have Magi restore him.

Meanwhile, a tree that Zak had accidentally marked when he was trying to shoo a fly that was bothering him is cut down by Tony and Ralph, Zak's superiors, releasing Hexxus, who quickly begins to gain his powers by feeding on the pollution from the machine. He manipulates the humans to drive to FernGully, in order to eradicate it by the next morning. In FernGully; Zak meets Pip, a fairy male who is attracted to Crysta and earns his ire through jealousy, especially when the human introduces pop music and dance, gaining popularity with all the local life. Zak begins to fall for Crysta, but hides the true reason that the humans had returned to the forest. When the signs of Hexxus' resurrection begin to manifest themselves in poisoned trees and rivers, he admits that humans are destroying the forest in order to expand their cities and he is then shunned by everyone including Crysta. The fairies mount an attempt to defend their homes from Hexxus and the leveler, but knowing their fight is hopeless, Zak convinces Batty to aid him in stopping the machine before it destroys them. When Zak makes his presence known to his bosses, Hexxus takes over the machine and begins to wildly slash and destroy the forest.

Magi sacrifices herself in order to give the fairies a chance, giving them and Zak some of her power in order to stop him. Zak manages to stop the machine, seemingly killing Hexxus by stopping his power at the source, but he manifests himself within the oil in the machine and begins to ignite the forest ablaze. Crysta seemingly sacrifices herself by allowing herself to be devoured by Hexxus and all seems lost, until he begins to sprout limbs and leaves like a tree. Zak and the rest of the fairies rally to the powers they had been given, which causes the seed that Crysta fed him to start growing wildly. Despite his best efforts, Hexxus is made dormant and turned into a twisted tree at the very border of FernGully. Crysta appears after the fight, having survived her ordeal and successfully succeeded Magi as a magical fairy. She gives Zak a seed, begging him to remember everything that has transpired and she sadly restores him to his human size.

Remembering the seed in his hand, Zak promises to remember his adventure, and buries the seed in the soil before telling his superiors that things "Gotta change." before leaving the forest with them.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The making of the film took place from August 13, 1990 to October 1991. It was originally scheduled for release in November 1991; however, it was delayed to avoid competition with Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Production time was greatly reduced by the use of computer animation to create elements such as flocks of birds that would have taken much longer to animate traditionally.[2]

The film marked Robin Williams' first animation role. He provided the voice of the Genie in Disney's Aladdin later the same year.[3]

The "FernGully" forest depicted in the film was actually based on Australia's rainforests. The cartoonists who worked on the film spent time in the real rainforests to help inspire their drawings.

Soundtrack[edit]

FernGully: The Last Rainforest Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released March 31, 1992 (1992-03-31)
Length 31:18
Label MCA Records
Producer Thomas Dolby
Teddy Riley
David Foster
Bruce Roberts ...

The soundtrack album was released by MCA Records[4] with the following songs:

Track listing[edit]

FernGully: The Last Rainforest – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Life Is a Magic Thing"   Johnny Clegg (written by Thomas Dolby) 4:30
2. "Batty Rap"   Robin Williams (written by Thomas Dolby) 2:52
3. "If I'm Gonna Eat Somebody (It Might as Well Be You)"   Tone Lōc 4:01
4. "Toxic Love"   Tim Curry (written by Thomas Dolby) 4:39
5. "Raining Like Magic"   Raffi 3:18
6. "Land of a Thousand Dances"   Guy 2:58
7. "A Dream Worth Keeping"   Sheena Easton 4:18
8. "Some Other World"   Elton John (written by Elton John and Bruce Roberts) 4:42
Total length:
31:18

The score of FernGully, consisting of 14 tracks and running just under 44 minutes in length, was composed by Alan Silvestri.[5]

Reception[edit]

The response for the film from both critics and the public was positive. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 71% based on 14 reviews (10 positive, 4 negative).[6] Film critic Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars, saying the film was visually "very pleasing," told a "useful lesson", "and although the movie is not a masterpiece it's pleasant to watch for its humor and sweetness."[7] The Austin Chronicle added that the film was "funny, pretty, touching, scary, magical stuff."[8] Janet Maslin of The New York Times had an unfavourable impression of the film, describing it as "[a]n uncertain blend of sanctimonious principles and Saturday-morning cartoon aesthetics".[5] FernGully grossed $32,710,894 worldwide, including $24,650,296 from the United States.[9]

Some reviewers have commented that the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar plagiarized thematic and plot elements from FernGully: The Last Rainforest.[10][11]

Release[edit]

The world premiere of FernGully: The Last Rainforest was on April 10, 1992 in the United States. Two months before its release across the United States, the film was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany as a work in progress from February 13 to 24, 1992, however, was out of competition as the first animated feature. The film was shown at the United Nations General Assembly on Earth Day, April 22, 1992, twelve days after it hit theaters across the United States.

4% of the film's gross expected to fund projects that address the issue of rainforest preservation.

Home media[edit]

Four months after the theatrical release, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released FernGully: The Last Rainforest on VHS and Laserdisc on August 26, 1992. The film's first video release included a free promotional Forest Adventure set which came out with the video. Also, it includes a teaser trailer for the next Fox feature Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, released on November 20, 1992, before the feature presentation. Fox also re-released the film on VHS and DVD as under the Fox Family Feature label in 1995, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

The film was continually re-released in a 2-disc Family Fun Edition in 2006 (in widescreen) and 2008 as a single disc with Horton Hears a Who! (2008). Fox again released FernGully: The Last Rainforest on DVD and together, for the first time on Blu-ray Disc.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Computer Graphics in the production of "FernGully: The Last Rainforest."". ftp.funet.fi. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Rickitt, Richard (2000). Special Effects: The History and Technique. Billboard Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-8230-7733-0. 
  3. ^ http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/ferngully.php
  4. ^ "FernGully: The Last Rainforest – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". moviemusic.com. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (April 10, 1992). "Ferngully: the Last Rainforest (1992)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 10, 1992). "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ Chacona, Hollis (April 17, 1992). "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved January 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ Schwartzberg, Joel (January 4, 2010). "What Did 'Avatar' Borrow from 'FernGully'?". IVillage. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  11. ^ Quinn, Karl (December 17, 2009). "Don't just watch Avatar, see it". The Age. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 

External links[edit]