The film I have chosen for this project is the 1982 animated film, The Last Unicorn, directed and produced by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). A short summary: A unicorn hears rumors that she is ‘The Last Unicorn’ in the world and she must discover what has become of the others. Along the way she is turned into a human and it distracts her from her objective. While watching this film, I watched it at a high speed; It was fast enough for me to take in all the dialogue and I was even able to make out some dialogue I couldn’t figure out what the characters were saying before! The speed that I was watching it in, was what I believe to be, is the speed in which animation is like during the early stages of production; when the images are just drawings and the artist is wanting the pictures to move (ex: flipping through a book of images)! This speed is also what I think is the exact pace as the early films of cinema, like Vertov’s, Man with a Movie Camera. Watching it at a fast pace, the characters still could show personality and the story can still make sense.
I also tried watching it with the audio synchronization messed up and something that I would consider useful about that is that it can remind the audience what is going on in case the viewer is slow in understanding what is going on.
Another way that I viewed the film is with an audio visualization, throughout the whole film it seemed like I was watching pure surrealism, I payed close attention at the visualization that was produced during important and intriguing scenes in the film. When the viewer thinks about it, some films are just images that don’t make any sense at all and that’s an easy way to define surrealism. During one scene, I see this beautiful ball of gold as the audio visual, it was of course during an scene of impact! A whole film of surrealism can have its own meaning to each individual viewer.
One last way I viewed this film was that I watched it mute and at a fast speed. I believe that this movie can be seen without voices and still can be understood. The images themselves can tell the story and are self-explanatory. Once the climax takes place the viewer will know that the objective of the unicorn has been accomplished.
This is what the audience had to rely on during the early days of cinema, pictures, no dialogue. While viewing it this way I noticed some new things, such as seeing the characters differently. When its muted I can focus purely on the picture and the picture only. I consider this film to be quite the spectacle and it strongly focuses on just looking. All the characters besides the unicorn herself are all about the pleasure of looking, with the assistance of magic. A few characters come to tears when they meet the unicorn for the first time, its very common in the movie for a spectacle, a pleasure of looking happens or are at least in awe in what they see.
I want to mention in closing that this movie would fit very well with our few most recent classes. Also, women are depicted as what has been mentioned earlier. When the unicorn has been turned into a human, she’s not treated as a human but an object to be lusted over. The villain, known as King Haggard collects unicorns and does nothing but looking, especially at unicorns. When Haggard meets the unicorn in human form for the first time, named the Lady Amalthea; he looks at her constantly and has a good idea about her secret. As I said earlier, when the unicorn has been turned into a human woman she loses the focus of her goals but also fails to communicate with the people around her and is an object; she is silent, just as women in early cinema are silenced, just like the actress character in Singin’ in the Rain.
When the Lady Amalthea is turned back into a unicorn the sequence that takes place would encourage the heterosexual male gaze; I guess it would fit the term we discussed in class the other day “The Ideal Eco-Image”, Haggard would suit that, along with the viewer. Its sad that she was treated better as a unicorn than she was as a human woman.
There is a scene that I will share that is all about looking, it fits like a glove! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrnd086ObDo
The Last Unicorn is a film I would recommend to check out especially after the last class we had; also, it can prove that animation is capable to fulfil what we have learned in class and it shouldn’t be underestimated.