Monday, June 5, 2017

The Last Unicorn Continues To Stand As An Essential Classic Fantasy

"When the last eagle flies over the last crumbling mountain
And the last lion roars at the last dusty fountain
In the shadow of the forest though she may be old and worn
They will stare unbelieving at the last unicorn"

                                                              ~ "The Last Unicorn" - America

Last year I wrote about Peter S. Beagle's astonishing classic fantasy novel The Last Unicorn at The Silver Petticoat Review. I describe, Beagle's story as "the typical quest story, but it’s full of the unexpected and of contradictions while at the same time employing well-known fantasy elements". I also described his language as "exquisite". No matter how many years pass, I don't think I'll ever change my mind about that. I suppose that's the true mark of a classic.

Beagle is definitely one of the authors who simultaneously inspires and depresses me when I see the genius of his work. I can't imagine attaining his level though of course it's important to at least reach for it.

The movie adaptation by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass is also very extraordinary. They had a unique style that captured the poignancy and beauty and darkness of the tale. They're not afraid to touch on dark themes, something you won't see in most modern animated movies. I wonder if we'll ever see anything like that again in popular children's films. The soundtrack by America is enough to pull the emotions out of you. I can't think of anything more perfect for the theme. 

There's been talk of a live action version of the book for years now. Occasionally there's murmurs about it, but then they die down again, so it seems less and less likely. I think it could be beautifully done if someone was committed to it. 

Let me know what you think of my review  and your views on this essential classic and its movie in the comments. What other fantasy books do you consider essential?

No comments: