Cels - The Last Unicorn

Cels - The Last Unicorn
This is an especially wonderful production cel from 1982's The Last Unicorn. It's especially great to find a cel that's so dramatically posed and framed. This also happens to be my favorite moment in the film, when a middle-aged woman comes face-to-face with an object of her childhood fantasies, and can only see heartbreak and loss. The unicorn becomes a symbol of her lost youth and lost dreams. Then she erupts in anger and frustration, and you can't help but feel sympathy for her.

This sense of loss, of matching the fairy tale fantasy with the cold realities of adulthood, is what gives The Last Unicorn its gravitas. Peter S. Beagle deconstructs the traditional fairy tale myths without becoming jaded, cynical or nihilistic. He still feels a nostalgic kinship with his characters and his world; an anti-Watchman, when you think about it.

Overall, I thought this was a very, very good movie. I could have done without all the cheesy song numbers; I think Beagle's story works without it. This isn't a Disney fable and it doesn't try to be. If there's an eye towards Walt's classic fables, then it's aimed at the rear view mirror, fading fast.


Jennifer Bennett said...

Oh, SO AWESOME! I adored this movie when I was a little girl, I think I saw it on cable a few times in 84-85 when I was nine or ten.

I also have a Last Unicorn cel, there was a site selling them in the late 90s called "Usagi's House". It's from the end of the movie, where the unicorns are jumping out of the sea. It's one of my most treasured cels, due to the nostalgic value it has for me.

This cel you have posted is indeed from one of the best parts of the movie. Beautiful!

I have one question though: Was "The Last Unicorn" a Studio Ghibli production? I ask since this is a Ghibli blog. ^_^

Also in the late 90s I found the Last Unicorn soundtrack on CD - it was an import from Holland. I always loved those songs by the band America. They really brought a feeling of beautiful melancholy to the film.

Anonymous said...

Lovely cel! I have one myself bought from a user on rubber slug in 2004, it is a lovely close up of the unicorn from early in the film, still in the forest.

Jennifer, 'The Last Unicorn' was animated before 'Studio Ghibli' existed, but, it was animated by studio 'Topcraft' - which had many future Ghibli members including Miyazaki.
Although Topcraft animated TLU, I don't think they owned the rights (they were payed and comissioned to animate it by Rankin/Bass who produced and directed it) TLU had no japanese release at that time

Also - Topcraft both owned and animated 'Nausicaa valley of the wind' before Ghibli was founded, but it is usually included as a Ghibli film unlike TLU.

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