Okay, I promised I'd talk a little bit about this hidden gem. OUAF is a charming, though incredibly corny, movie which is brilliantly animated and has great characters that one wishes were developed more by the end of the film, but the animation is solid and so is the voice acting. It is also, unfortunatly, the final piece to ever be published under the Hana-Barbera label.
Essentially, the movie is one of those hippy "Humans are bad, animals are good" movies like Fern Gully, Pocahontas, NIMH, etc. However, it's done in a recognizably dark fashion. Nothing so much like NIMH, but simply by implication of death as opposed to really showing it. The storyline is that there are four young animals "Furlings" in this case, who go to a VERY small school/class with a wise badger known as Cornelius [voiced by Michael Crawford aka The Phantom of the Opera <3] who does an amazing job voicing Cornelius as an old, yet young-inside badger. This is implied by his raspy voice, but mid-age outfit, and a quick animation of how he jumps over a desk, but then has to take a minute to reset his back. Cornilius has spent his life working on a flying machine that he aptly names "The Flapper Wingamathing" [best name ever]. He then makes a toy model out of it and flys it around the room for the furlings. It's really cute and introduces how all the characters get along at first.
Anyways, enough about him. The furlings are Russel the hedgehog, who's always hungry becaues of the number of hungry siblings he has, Edgar the mole, who's a lovable young science nerd, and Abagail mouse, who leads the group but sometimes gets a little ahead of herself. These are the three, essentially, "main" characters. All of whom are fantastic and sturdy save for Abagail who suddenly looses her edge during one scene and makes me loose respect for her as a fearless young woman leader. I figures that the whole "Girl Power" thing hadn't set in to modern culture yet [I'll research this point]. Essentially though, they're a team of three who can't seem to really work out their differences, but learn to do so throughout the course of the film. I guess this is a metaphor for how we should co-operate with nature *shrug*.
Then there's Michelle, the other badger who is Cornelius's niece. Essentially, the plot focuses around Michelle who has been poisoned due to human interference, along with an implied other large population of the forest. Thankfully Abagail hasn't lost her edge at this point in the film and rushes in to save Michelle from the toxic gas which has invaded her house after she ran in to see if her parents were alright.
After a longer time of searching than it took Michelle to run into the gas-filled house and breathing in the gas a bit she finally pulls her overalls over her nose to protect her from the gas when she finds Michelle unconscious and pulls her out to safety [See Corny Moment 1 below]. Cornelius is ever thankful and takes Michelle back to his place and says that she probably only has two days to live without the proper medicinal herbs, lungwort and eyebright *snicker corny moment 1 1/2*. However, the plants in their meadow have been disintegrated by toxic gas and thus the adventure begins for the furlings to go out and look for it themselves because Cornelius just doesn't freaking want to and he more or less takes out his frustration on the furlings [really that's basically what happens, he dares not leave Michell's side, but the way I see it, it would've been better if Russel and Abagail stayed with Michell and Cornelius left with Edgar to find the herbs, but then there would be no movie. Still, it would've been better if Cornelius just said something like "I'm getting to be too old to go out adventuring beyond the meadow so I'll stay here and stay on the lookout for your parents and watch over Michelle" Something that just didn't seem so flat.]. The furlings suddenly act like it's no big deal then and do as their told and set out on an adventure [Corny moment number 2].
[CORNY MOMENT NUMBER 1: Okay, sorry, but Abagail should've passed out or died too after the amount of breathing she had to do while dragging Michelle, PLUS Michelle passed out quickly while only being exposed to the gas for a short amount of time, while Abagail was there for a longer time, and thirdly, your overalls pulled over your nose don't protect you from deadly gas that burn your lungs and EYES. Might want to save some eyebright for the director for missing that one. Doh!]
They then go on this cool adventure filled with freaky owls, gospel birds [Phineas ROCKS! I'll explain why later], and Yellow Dragons. The Yellow Dragons are the coolest part of the whole film because there's total allusion to construction machines being monsters, and it's illustrated perfectly to the point where it amazed me even as a kid and still does to this day.
Eventually after trials of teamwork they come to a meadow where the eyebright is plentiful, but the inhabitants are cynical and the lungwort only grows on a deadly rock ledge. After it seems like all is lost, Russel pulls out randomly [we don't see him pack anything but food], a single blueprint of how to make the flapper-wingamathing. Which they do in a matter of hours.
[CORNY MOMENT 3: Uhh...wow, life's work being carried out by some ten year olds in a few hours based off of one single blueprint with all the books Cornelius has. Yikes, so much for Cornelius's genius. ^^ Just kidding, Cornelius rocks, the writers are just dumb. They should've let the animals [or the mice] in the meadow help them out, as there are many and it would've made more logical sense.]
INTERMISSION [I'll finish the rest of this post later. Just know that the reason things look bad now is because I haven't gotten into the OUAF game, which ties everything that was missing in the movie up nicely and allows one to appreciate the OUAF world in a much more logical sense. Plus, Phineas just rocks, as does Beuford, the other owl who I'll explain, and the rabbit transit system. It also makes sense of the Flapper Wingamathing conundrum from my above corny moment. In essence, the game is better than the movie when it comes to the forest part, but the movie really hits on the death and human bits that the game doesn't such as the Yellow Dragons and the gas, but there IS a secret human settlement section in the game that allows you to let Edgar score one for mother nature.]
Friday, February 29, 2008
Alright, it's time to get this blog show on the road. We've got a lot of great things planned for this place, including art, reviews, retrospects, news, recommendations, rants, features, whatever! I think the first order of business for me (Sunset, I don't know what everyone else has planned) is to make a recommendation and analyze ''Once Upon A Forest'', as I seem to be finding that there's a large lack of people who have seen its greatness, so it's probably a good idea to post it here to kick things off in a couple hours after I wake up from a nice nap.