Australian Animated Movie (1992). FAI/Youngheart. Pr Peter Faiman, Wayne Young. Exec pr Robert W Cort, Ted Field. Dir Bill Kroyer. Screenplay Jim Cox. Based on the FernGully stories by Diana Young. Voice actors Tim Curry (Hexxus), Samantha Mathis (Crysta), Robert Pastorelli (Tony), Christian Slater (Pips), Jonathan Ward (Zak Young), Robin Williams (Batty Koda), Grace Zabriskie (Magi Lune). 76 mins. Colour.
Long ago the volcano Mount Warning erupted, driving humans from the rainforest, whose community has come to regard humans as Mythical Creatures; at the same time the rainforest's good Witch, Magi Lune (seemingly based on Angela Lansbury), imprisoned the local Spirit of Evil, Hexxus, in a gnarled Tree. But now she is old, and wishes to pass on her Magic to her reluctant apprentice, the Fairy Crysta. Now, too, humans – in the shape of a voracious logging company – are threatening the rainforest. Disbelieving this, Crysta goes in company with an escaped laboratory fruitbat, Koda, to see for herself. They encounter Zak, a logger who has just marked Hexxus's gnarled prison for felling; Crysta casts a Spell clumsily, thereby accidentally reducing him to her own size (see Great and Small). The gnarled tree is felled, and Hexxus – a resinous Shapeshifting mass that thrives on oil, smoke and fumes – is released. The rainforest denizens, plus Zak, at last defeat the Monster and save the rainforest. As a piece of animated-feature making, F:TLR competes with Disney on Disney's home territory, and wins. As a fantasy with an ecological moral it works well; it is also an unusually well constructed animated feature, right down to its underpinning: much thought has gone into the "magical ecosystem". [JG]