The Last Unicorn, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. This beloved cult classic film is based on the 1968 novel by Peter S. Beagle, which premiered in the US on November 19, 1982.
The film follows the journey of a unicorn as she goes on a quest to discover how and why she is the last of her kind. During her journey, the unicorn befriends a magician, Schmendrick, and a woman, Molly Grue, as they encounter the Red Bull, a monstrous fire elemental, that is responsible for the missing unicorns. Schmendrick transforms the unicorn into a human woman to escape from the Red Bull. In this new form, she begins to feel human emotions and falls in love with Prince Lir, which leads her to consider abandoning her quest. But before she can make any decision, she must confront Red Bull once more.
The film stars the voice talents of Mia Farrow, Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Tammy Grimes, Robert Klein, Angela Lansbury, and Christopher Lee. While the soundtrack included music by the group America with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Earlier this year, on July 30th, 2022, the celebration started with an exclusive event at the David Geffen Theater at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. A screening of the film was held, followed by a discussion with author Peter S. Beagle and producer Michael Chase Walker. Sweet Streets debut an exclusive capsule collection at the Academy Museum Store, featuring t-shirts, jewelry, and collaborations from well-known Los Angeles pop-culture designer ONCH, that will only be available at the Academy Museum Store.
The 40th-anniversary celebration will continue at the Corey Helford Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. Over 50 internationally renowned contemporary artists will participate in a group exhibition with art pieces inspired by the film, never-before-seen film production art will be on display, and a pop-up shop. The opening reception will be held on December 17th, 2022 from 7 pm-11 pm and remain on display for 5 weeks into January 2023.
I am not sure if there are any other special events scheduled for the 40th anniversary, as the website only had these two events listed. The shop menu on the site links to the Academy Museum Store and the exclusive items available there.
It has been quite a few years since I saw this film, but I remember it very fondly due to the ending and the animation. The animation had a Japanese anime look and just recently I discovered why. The film was animated by the Japanese animation studio, Topcraft, which produced the animation for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
I also recall meeting Peter S. Beagle at a comic convention where he was signing copies of the DVD and book at his booth. I was wandering around the convention floor and just accidentally came across his booth. There was hardly anyone there at the time, so I was able to talk to him for a little bit and get a signed DVD for someone that is a “HUGE FAN” of the film.
A computer-animated remake of the film has been slated for release on Christmas 2028 with the voice talents of Reese Witherspoon Eddie Redmayne, Chris Pine, Rebel Wilson, Josh Gad, Scarlett Johanson, and Martin Bayfield. The film will be released by 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios.
For more information on The Last Unicorn 40th Anniversary Celebration and art show, visit thelastunicorn40th.com.