|Posted by Brekclub85 on July 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM|
Hey fellow Expressionists! Welcome to the next episode of my Guilty Pleasure. Today, I'll be looking at an animated film from years past, Once Upon a Forest.
Released in 1993, OUAF stars Michael Crawford and in a supporting role, Ben Vereen, who you might know better as Will Smith's bastard biological dad who left him twice in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It was one of the few Hanna-Barbera animated movies that wasn't based on one of their established cartoons. The cast, ast the Nostalgia Critic pointed out, included a young Elizabeth Moss. The plot is 3 young animals called Furlings must get a cure for their friend Michelle after she gets sick from a gas leak that destroys most of their homeland.
Now, the main criticism this movie (and pretty much any non-Studio Ghibli work of the 90s) get is that, like all environmental stories, is that is's overly-preachy. And, to be honest.....I have to disagree with that. The main damage caused by man is established to have been just an accident, and the driver immediately goes for help. In fact, the only character who really believes man is evil (Cornelius), by the end admits he's wrong. Unlike Ferngully, the humans clean up their own mess here, and without any coaxing from the animals, to boot.
To be fair, I can understand why someone might be initially unsure about this movie, being an environmental story, but I think this one is underrated. My personal main complaint is that the movie's short, even by animation standards. Without end credits, the film is 65 minutes long, and it does feel rushed at points. The main journey really ends quickly, and that might even surprise you if you didn't know firsthand how long this was. It would've been nicer if it could have been about 10 minutes longer so we could get more scenes with the main characters, but alas.
Now, onto what I like about this movie. As I just mentioned, it's the characters. I think Abigail, Edgar, and Russell are a likeable trio, with none of them outweighing the other in terms of importance. They even have their fair share of development, with Edgar being at first bery timid, but he finally takes a stand when a squirrel begins rudely insulting Michelle. And, as stated beforehand, Cornelius realizes his "man is evil" view simply isn't true.
The other big point I love about this movie is the soundtrack. I've already expressed my enjoyment for "Once Upon a Time With Me", the end credits song. Michael Crawford's one song in this (Please Wake Up) is very moving, to the point Mr. Crawford has stated he had a hard time getting through the recording without crying. Well, it is about an adult singing to a child who may die in a few days. The orchestra music in Once Upon a Forest I also enjoy listening to, and they add atmosphere to the scenes.
One last point I want to bring up about why I like this film is, while, the environment of the forest itself. Now, one thing I don't like about movies/shows set in forests is that often, all of the places end up looking alike, but OUAF mostly averts it. All of the major scenes take palce in different environments. It's just a small thing, but I can appreciate the film for that.
In conclusion, sorry in advance if using this word is cheesy, but Once Upon a Forest is an......innocent film. It's completely harmless IMO, and it hits that sweet spot where it's not too kiddy but not too adult. I wouldn't call it one of the best animated movies of the 90s, but I think it's a bit of an underrated gem, IMO.
The Duke: The Duke only wishes they would have given more focus on that owl!
Brek: (Sighs). Here we go again....anyways, share your thoughts below! I hope you guys enjoyed this!
Next time on Brek's Blogs: The Top Eight Scariest Marble Hornets Entries.