The Horror Honeys: #nostalgiabarf ~ FernGully: The Last Rainforest

#nostalgiabarf ~ FernGully: The Last Rainforest

A Spooky Kid Saturday Review by Kat

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

In 1992, I was eleven; eleven is that magical age so often used in "coming of age" movies to symbolize the departure from childhood into the terrifying 'tween years - although, when I was eleven, 'tween wasn't a classification yet - you were just a weirdo who didn't know what the hell your body and brain were doing. People were treating you differently, and adults were starting to talk to you like you understood what they were saying... well, some adults anyway. For me, and many kids my age, the early 90s were all about coming to terms with the fact that there was a thing called the Rainforest, and that it was royally fucked, and that it was our fault.

I grew up in a forestry family. Lumber put food on our table.

Cue the trauma.

And the major influx of kids movies intent on turning the newest generation into the most vehement of supporters of the new Green Movement.

We all yelled at McDonald's employees for serving us our burgers in styrofoam containers... didn't we? Guys?

Crap.
I wanted to go to there.
Wait... doesn't that look like Home Tree in Avatar?
Naaahhhh

Confirmed by my mother, in 1992, I was obsessed with FernGully - I sang the songs, I cast fairy spells on my brother, and I really, really, wasn't a popular person at dinners where my father's lumber industry co-workers were in attendance. I was also in love with Hexxus... but we'll get there.

Hit me twice... 
The story: The magical inhabitants of a rain-forest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus. I don't even have to alter this synopsis... logging bad, humans bad, animal testing bad, "progress" at the cost of nature bad... BAD BAD BAD!

Enter Zak, a typically entitled human for the time (yay 90s!). Zak is blissfully unaware that all around him, nature is a wondrous thing that he is literally killing all in the name of a paycheque. And not a very good paycheque either. Through a marvellous set of circumstantial accidents, Zak sets in motion a really awful plotline, and comes face to face with the magical world of the fairies as Crysta rescues him from certain death. *sigh* As any true teenager, Crysta (a LITERAL Manic Pixie who's totally bad at faerie magic btw) has always wanted to meet a human because despite the awful stories she's been told about them, she's fascinated with these weird creatures - which is, obviously, bad for everyone, but hey... no big deal as long as everyone learns some lessons along the way, amirite?

The demure female lip bite. Giving me rage since 1992. 

 Things we learn and why:
  • Animal testing is wrong, wrong, and WRONG - who the fuck thought up that bullshit anyway? That still makes me angry. Why do we learn this? Because of Batty Coda - voiced by a suddenly super popular voice actor known to the younger kids merely as The Genie. *I'm not going to cry* Batty also acts as comic relief, but like much of Williams' comedy, the performance is tinged with sadness, anger, and little nuggets of educational information that would typically slip by most viewers. 
  • Pollution is BAD. Why do we learn this? Thanks to Hexxus, the physical manifestation of human greed who is intent on destroying the jungle in the name of progress. 
  • The power of teamwork! What is the way to grow? TOGETHER. *barf* Why do we learn this? Because kids movie. 
  • Humans can alter/amend their destructive behaviors through education. Why do we learn this? Because Zak has been SO altered by his experience in the jungle that he has to spread the good word. Plus... dat faerie booty.
  • Don't judge a book by its cover - an essential lesson in every kid's movie/tv show/brainwashing event. Why do we learn this? It's easy for the faeries to distrust Zak because of all the horrible stories they've heard about humans, but, because what's happening affects him personally, he suddenly has a textbook change of heart and joins forces with the magical creatures of the forest. Also, if we didn't learn this all important lesson, there wouldn't be Avatar.  
90s kids be like "What the actual fuck!?!"
Can we talk about Hexxus for a minute? It's been said by many a meme that you may judge a person by their earliest recollection/association of Tim Curry with a particular character - for me, it's Hexxus, and I've been in love with that voice ever since. Can I blame Hexxus for my love of bad boys with a penchant for world destruction? Maybe not, but I will anyway. As a creation/manifestation of the greed of "civilized" man, Hexxus is the obvious Big Bad, because that's what children need to focus on when it comes to brainwashing propaganda - his goal is the destruction of FernGully, to punish them for imprisoning him the *last* time he tried to get all up on himself. But last time, he didn't have the help of modern forestry technology, and the blind greed of mankind to assist him. Do we ever get to understand where Hexxus came from in the first place? No, but that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of the movie.

Dat cape tho.
Hexxus had a seriously fierce classic villain dramatic flare. 
Re-watching FernGully as an adult is admittedly something I do on a regular basis, but watching it with a mind to review it is a different thing all together. The film follows a typical children's movie formula complete with the classic milestones: good vs evil with clearly defined good and evil, learning lessons, friendship, teamwork... and even a bit of a love story, but not enough of a love story that we feel creeped out by the fact that children are watching it. However... seeing Zak immediately hit on Crysta was a little cringe-worthy. When I was younger, the feels I had about nature and the evils of mankind seemed like practical things to be angry about - but the iron fisted delivery of these messages while watching as an adult is a little disconcerting to say the least. However, you could do worse than teaching your children about respecting nature.

I also wanted a boyfriend like this.
Forget Zak, gimmie some early 90s Christian Slater ass.