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FernGully: The Last Rainforest (G)
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Caution: spoilers!

The movie begins with narration by an old tree spirit (or fairy) named Magi Lune, who long ago sealed away Hexxus (Tim Curry), the spirit of destruction, who had been wreaking havoc on this forest called FernGully. (Apparently, the forest had originally encompassed the entire world.) Humans had been close friends of the fairies, but during the chaotic conflict with Hexxus, they had fled the forest, and ever since then, all the fairies have believed humans to be extinct.

In the present, we meet a young fairy named Crysta (Samantha Mathis), who is apparently Magi's apprentice, or whatever. But so far, Crysta doesn't seem able to do magic like Magi. Anyway, one day, she flies above the forest canopy, and sees smoke in the distance. This is the first time she's seen smoke, or anything outside the forest, because no one ever goes above the canopy. She goes to tell Magi about it, worried that the smoke might have something to do with Hexxus, but Magi assures her that's impossible. Though we soon learn that Magi herself may not be so sure of that.

Soon after that, Crysta, her friend Pips (Christian Slater), and some of the other fairies in the forest meet a bat named Batty Koda (Robin Williams), who has been driven crazy by experiments humans had performed on him in a lab, from which he has recently escaped. He warns the fairies to stay away from humans, who are at Mt. Warning, but Crysta is fascinated by all the stories of humans she's heard, so she decides to go there, against the warnings of both Batty and the very name of the mountain itself.

On the way there, she comes across a human named Zak Young, who is part of a crew that's marking trees to be cut down (using a big scary machine called a leveler, which Crysta thinks is a monster). She accidentally uses a spell that makes him the size of a fairy. At first, he thinks he must be dreaming, because of course he doesn't believe in fairies. But soon he just wants to get back to normal size, which Crysta seems unable to do. So they go to see Magi. Meanwhile, the other humans use the leveler to saw down and cut up a big, gnarly old tree which is where Hexxus was sealed away, and so he ends up being released. He seems to exist only in toxic forms like oil and smoke, but soon he takes over the leveler, and plans to use it to destroy FernGully.

When Crysta asks Zak if he had anything to do with the machine, he lied and said he didn't. Anyway, they head back to FernGully, and tell each other about their respective worlds, and have fun together, and seem to begin falling in love. Of course, Pips is jealous and doesn't like Zak at first. And eventually Hexxus shows up in the leveler, and Crysta has to find within her the ability to use the magic of nature to stop him, with help from Zak and Batty and all the fairies (after briefly being upset at learning that Zak lied). And in the end, Zak has to use what he's learned to try to change the world in his own way, if he can....

So, yeah. It's all a pretty heavy-handed environmental message. Which... I guess is mostly a good thing. Actually, "heavy-handed" might be too strong. There's a lot of humor (especially from Batty), and some fun songs, great animation, decent acting, not a bad story. It may not be Disney-level quality, but still I think the movie deserved to be more successful than it was. Though there was a direct-to-video sequel, which I don't believe I've ever seen. I might like to check it out someday, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be anywhere near as good as the original. But, hey, the main reason I like this movie is because Crysta is such a bodacious babe, so it might be worth watching the sequel just to see more of her....


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