The Last VHS

For today’s Watch This Wednesday, we’re going back to a time of innocence.  A time of novelty and wonder.  A time when VCR’s were brand new.

In the late 1980’s, my two older sisters and I were sick for an entire week.  With only so much Sesame Street on during the day, our parents bought this newfangled device and installed it.  We then went to a video rental store.  This one had brown plastic covers on the movies you rented.  My older sisters surveyed their options, and came to a movie with a beautiful unicorn on the cover.  If there is one thing both my older sisters love, it is horses.  This fact will probably be mentioned in this blog many times.

So, not knowing the fate she had just placed on herself, our mother rented The Last Unicorn.

As children, we loved this movie.  Mom did not.  And yet, as just one of the many sacrifices mothers make, she rented the movie almost every time we went to the video store and my sisters asked for it.  Sometimes, this was broken by a My Little Pony Movie, but this was little better quality.  Mom was grateful for 1989, when Disney released The Little Mermaid, and children’s movies began their ascent into enjoyable for adults too.

If you grew up watching The Last Unicorn, it is a beloved treasure, romanticized in our memories.  The Last Unicorn has great courage she goes alone to find her fellow unicorns, and then faces the world after being transformed into an albino human.  The butterfly was hilarious.  Her companions are goofy and funny, the prince charming and handsome.  I always felt sad when she turned from human back to a unicorn, and he was left pining and alone.  The red bull was frightening and terrifying.  I often covered my eyes in that part, and the part with the creepy monsters in the circus.  Most important, though, was the very end of the movie when LOTS AND LOTS OF UNICORNS come out of the ocean.

This butterfly was hilarious when I was 6. Now, he has nothing on the worm from Labyrinth.

A few years back, I found it on DVD and bought it for one of my older sisters for her birthday.  We watched it, reminiscing on all those days when we were too sick to do anything else but sit on the couch and partake of this film.  It is remarkable how memory and the child mind change a film.

As adults, we still love this movie for the memories of watching it, and for how much it irritated Mom that we loved it.  It’s something we can laugh over.  However, the Last Unicorn seems more petty than remember, and the plot less logical.  The companions seem trying too hard to be humorous, and the prince looks a lot like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.  (His father, the King, still looks like Grand Moff Tarkin, and as a major Star Wars nerd, I still think that’s cool.)  The red bull is still somewhat frightening, but’s it not the same.  Now, I cover my eyes when Shaggy from Scooby is flirting with the shallow hot girl with a weird star on her forehead.  Still, the end LOTS AND LOTS OF UNICORNS in the end of the movie are still awesome.  Why?  Because they are unicorns.

Funny thing, though, the thing I now like best about the movie is the music.  The score is better than the movie itself.

When we watched it for my sister’s birthday, our youngest sister was 7 or so, and she was enchanted by the film.  So begins another generation.

So, here’s the rating scale:

Good: As a child: 15;  As an adult: 4, but I’ll change it to a 5 for the music.

Wholesome: Overall, 8.

The unicorn is scantily clad right after turning into a human, and the Red Bull is scary… and there’s the whole driving unicorns into the ocean.

Fun: As a child: 9, as an adult: 10 – But only if you grew up watching it.  Otherwise, it’s more of a 3 or 4.

So, overall:

As a child: 13/10

As an adult: 7

While this movie has a special spot in my memory, I am grateful that when I have children, we can watch things like the Pixar movies, Kung Fu Panda, and Tangled.

Still, it has left us with this song:

And now VHS has gone the way of the unicorn and is all but extinct.  However, someday, the last VHS will turn into Blu-Ray and call the other VHS tapes back from the ocean of obscurity.  Or, we might just watch them online.

So, what’s a movie from your childhood that you didn’t realize it’s quality until you were older?


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