Brimming with extras on the process of how this movie was made and a bunch of games, Ferngully should be a bargain for both the price and the content.
Sadly, this is another DVD in which the supplemental features supplant the actual movie. While technically I don’t think there is anything wrong with the film, it’s story just hasn’t grabbed me in the two separate decades I have screened it. Maybe the third time will be the charm?
I actually saw Ferngully in the theater back in 1992. I owed a friend of mine a favor and when the movie was about halfway over, I leaned over to my friend and said, “If I ever owed you anything... we’re even.” We both laughed. This laugh was the highpoint of my viewing experience. I don’t know what it is, but this film about a magical rainforest in which the inhabitants have to band together to stop the evil Hexxus from destroying it, was just not my cup of tea. While I think that this movie looks great and they have done some cool things to further enhance the picture quality, I just found that rescreening this movie back in 2005 still left me wanting. Even with my new found admiration for animation (this stemming from me working on my own animated film 1985-1986), I wasn’t able to really become engaged in Ferngully.
Commentary Track and Seed of the Story - Script to Screen Comparison with Optional Commentary
The commentary track features Director Bill Kroyer, Coordinating Art Director Susan Kroyer and Art Director Ralph Eggleston. This was very interesting simply because I really liked the “technical” take these people brought to this commentary track. While I think it might be too technical for a “kids” DVD, they also brought a sense of levity to this commentary when they discussed their inspirations for the characters and the look of Ferngully. “Seed of the Story” was really cool (although a tad hard to follow) because they would show what was happening on the screen and what was written in the script, and they’d put them on them screen at the same time. I toggled in and out of the commentary track and that helped to further explain why the scenes explored here look the way they do.
From Paper To Tree - Featurette; Behind The Voice - Toxic Love; Music Video - "If I'm Gonna Eat Somebody It Might As Well Be You” and 8 Games
The “From Paper to Tree” featurette was my favorite part of this DVD. It essentially shows how this movie was made. As someone who has spent the last couple of years alone in a room doing all of this, I really got a lot out of seeing how this movie was made. “Behind the Voice” shows us how this particular voice was created and captured for this movie. It was interesting in that it gave us multi-angled shots of the character recording it. The “music video” for "If I'm Gonna Eat Somebody It Might As Well Be You” is awful. First of all, it’s pretty much out of synch. Second of all, seeing Tone Loc doing this is just embarrassing. Third, the song he is singing is terrible. Lastly, the “8 Games” that come with this DVD seem to be the only concession that is really for kids. There are 8 games which are pretty much the same in that you are asked questions and you’ve got to answer them using the remote control for your DVD player. Still, I am sure that younger people will have a good time with this.
1.85:1 - Widescreen. This movie looks great. A rainforest is naturally suited for animation simply because an animator’s mind can run wild in creating one on screen. All the colors, the greenery, everything about it is a terrific setting to bring alive in this medium. I also thought the DVD transfer and the way this movie looked when it was compressed was also really well done. While I think it was bold for the creators to go with some darker tones, on the whole this movie has a very lively feel to it and it comes across in how it was drawn.
Dolby Surround - Stereo. Honestly, the audio for animation should be given credit simple because ALL of the soundtrack is created later. They record the voices separately, then add the music and sound FX to give texture to each scene. Ferngully sounds great. The music employed here really does capture the magic and splendor of the images on screen. Also, the voices of the main characters are pretty perfect. As good as all this sounds, it doesn’t really separate itself and maybe that’s my biggest problem with Ferngully? It doesn’t really stand out to me in any way.
The characters of Batty and Crysta are in the forefront of this cover that really captures the look of this film. The colors are all so detailed and different looking. This movie isn’t overly bright and I think that shows on this cover. The back features some pictures from the movie, a description of this film, a “Special Features” listing, credits list and technical specs. This 2 disc “Family Fun Edition” is very economically housed in one amaray case. I think this packaging will appeal to parents and kids alike.
I am really surprised that this movie didn’t resonate with me more. After spending almost two years now working on 1985-1986, I would think I would be bowled over by this film? This was one of those times when a movie looks right, it sounds right... everything about it aesthetically is right, yet, it fails to truly have any kind of lasting effect on me. I will say that I did like this movie a bit more than when I originally screened it, but that is probably just because I have a lot more perspective on animation in general.
While I don’t care for this film, I am sure that there are many young kids (much younger then when I initially watched this film) who will appreciate all the splendor or fun that is Ferngully.
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest was released April 10, 1992.