FernGully: The Last Rainforest

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FernGully: The Last Rainforest
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
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 $22,000,000[1]
Box office $32,710,894

FernGully: The Last Rainforest is a 1992 Australian-American animated fantasy film directed by Bill Kroyer, produced by Peter Faiman and Wayne Young, and written by Jim Cox based on a book of the same name by Diana Young. It is a film with a strong environmental theme. 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.


A curious fairy girl named Crysta sees a part of the world she has never seen before beyond FernGully, a rainforest near Mount Warning, Australia. She believes humans dwell on Mount Warning, but the wise sprite of the forest and Crysta's motherly figure, Magi, says humans are now extinct, driven away by Hexxus, the spirit of destruction and all that is toxic to nature, never to return and presumed dead; Hexxus was defeated by the fairies and imprisoned inside a tree. Crysta mentions a black cloud that she saw rising near the mountain, and Magi identifies it as smoke, but dismisses her speculation that the smoke might be Hexxus.

Befriending an uncoordinated and comical fruit bat named Batty Koda who has been experimented on by humans and now has wires and antennae fused into his head, Crysta heads to Mount Warning where she finds dead trees all marked with red aerosol paint crosses, which mark them for cutting. The source of the smoke is the exhaust from a huge tree leveler. She finds male humans, and accidentally shrinks one named Zak in trying to prevent him from being crushed by a tree. Batty swoops in and rescues Zak and Crysta caught in a spider web on that tree.

Zak goes on a wild adventure with Crysta and Batty, dodging a hungry Goanna lizard named Lou, and begins to fall in love with Crysta. Meanwhile, Zak's superiors, Tony and Ralph, cut down an enchanted baobab tree that Zak had inadvertently painted an X mark on as he tried to spray a fly bothering him, discovering too late that Hexxus has been released from the tree. Seeking revenge upon the fairies of FernGully for imprisoning him, Hexxus gains power by feeding on the pollution, specifically the energy and smoke produced by the leveler. He manipulates the lumberjacks and their tree leveler into tearing down the rainforest in the direction of the fairies by the next morning.

Eventually, Zak tells the truth about who he is and how the humans are destroying FernGully. The fairies join forces and fuse their powers together, creating a protective tree cage. Magi sacrifices herself, giving her power to the fairies and Zak, leaving Crysta and the other fairies to defeat Hexxus. Zak turns off the leveler, making Hexxus lose all the energy he was gaining from it and disappear, but he soon rips out of the machine as a giant fire-breathing skeleton creature made of oil. Crysta seemingly sacrifices herself like Magi did by allowing Hexxus to devour her completely, and uses her powers from inside him to grow a seed she had with her, imprisoning both Hexxus and the leveler inside a new tree with help from the fairies led by Pips, (a friend of Crysta's who is both romantically interested in her and jealous of her relationship with Zak). Soon afterwards, she emerges, unharmed and alive, from a flower. Crysta sadly resizes Zak to normal size and he sets off with his fellow lumberjacks to try to stop the destruction of the rainforests. Crysta takes Magi's place after finally learning how to control her powers.

Voice cast[edit]


The making of the film took place from August 13, 1990 to October 1991. Earlier, characters voices from Christian Slater as Pips to Samantha Mathis as Crysta were recorded from August 4 to 11; before the film went under shooting nine days later. 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 "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.


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[3] 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:

The score of FernGully, consisting of 14 tracks and running just under 44 minutes in length, was composed by Alan Silvestri.[4]


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).[5] 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."[6] The Austin Chronicle added that the film was "funny, pretty, touching, scary, magical stuff."[7] 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".[4] FernGully grossed $32,710,894 worldwide, including $24,650,296 from the United States.[8]

Some reviewers have commented that the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar plagiarized thematic and plot elements from FernGully: The Last Rainforest.[9][10]


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. Also, the film premiered at the United Nations General Assembly in the United Nations 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.


  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. ^ "FernGully: The Last Rainforest – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". moviemusic.com. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (April 10, 1992). "Ferngully: the Last Rainforest (1992)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 10, 1992). "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 14, 2010. 
  7. ^ Chacona, Hollis (April 17, 1992). "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved January 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ Schwartzberg, Joel (January 4, 2010). "What Did 'Avatar' Borrow from 'FernGully'?". IVillage. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ Quinn, Karl (December 17, 2009). "Don't just watch Avatar, see it". The Age. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 

External links[edit]