My childhood lies in ruins around me.
I loved FernGully: the Last Rainforest as a kid, though if I'd realized they'd smashed two words together like that while keeping the capital letters I might have reconsidered. And so I thought it would be fun to give it another viewing tonight while the love of my life worked on his NaNoWriMo word count and I knit him a scarf like the good fiancée I am.
And yeah, the pushy environmentalism is still there, and and yeah, fairies, and I had forgotten all about the unfortunate Robin Williams turn as a rapping experiment-abused bat, but still. The biggest surprise -- and remember, we just had us an election where domestic partnerships were very much on the table -- FernGully hates teh gays.
No, I am not making this up, I swear.
Exhibit A: the swishy queen of a lizard voiced by Tone Loc, who threatens in (a distinctly techno-ish) song to eat our hot young douche of a protagonist. (Seriously, he is the prototypical early 1990s movie douche: distant, mildly abusive, easily cool, uses words like "tubular," the whole bit.) The song's lyrics include: "I just can't control this hunger / I just can't seem to cut it back." And do you know why he ends up not eating the hot young douche? "Any friend of a fairy is a friend of mine." I mean, come on.
Exhibit B: As a kid, my favorite part of the movie was the song Hexxus sings about being evil. The villain's songs in an animated movie are always great -- and if you don't believe me, consider Ursula, Scar, Rasputin, and Gaston. And it's just as great and big-bandy as I remember. And it occurred to me that Hexxus was voiced by someone whose name I knew. And then it turns out that somebody is Tim Curry, and he's gasping and writhing and splooging his essence all around.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? This number is right out of Rocky Horror. Our antienvironment villain who gets poisonous gunk all over everything is Dr. Frankenfurter.
At several times during his song, Hexxus eats himself. At one point he holds up a chainsaw that looks more like a cartoon penis since any cartoon penis outside of The Little Mermaid.
The movie was released in 1992 -- one year after Magic Johnson admitted he was HIV positive and Freddy Mercury died of AIDS. People were freaked out about AIDS, and rightly so, but very wrongly considered it a specifically gay problem.
Add to this the fact that our film's douchey hero and our really preternaturally stupid heroine essentially save the world with their douchey, stupid heterosexual attraction. Fertility is everything in this movie -- FernGully is basically one giant, teeming vagina (think of the name!) where nobody wears underwear -- and yeah, I suppose it makes sense that nonreproductive sexuality would constitute a threat. I mean, we all know nothing is gay in nature, right?
And maybe the homophobia comes about because FernGully obviously thinks women are magic. Sure, who can't make plants grow instantly just by cupping their palms over a seed? Whose hands don't glow blue when they want their significant others to share their powers of flight? Oh, that's right, everyone. And check out this screencap from the big romantic number. They swim through a long dark tunnel (!) and then kiss in the magical cavern on the other side, complete with giant boobs:
It would be easy to argue that this was a simple gender breakdown along familiar lines (nurturing female sexuality versus destructive male sexuality), were it not for the fact that we have a couple of heterosexual males firm in their defense of FernGully and its bass-ackwards inhabitants. But it's true this movie is also obsessed with the power of seeds and fertility. Representative quote: "All the magic of creation exists within a single tiny seed." This is first said as the elder female fairy hands over a magic glowing seed, while the other fairies fly around them, glowing green, but only from the waist down. At the end, it is echoed in the heroine's memory when she defeats Tim Curry by taking a seed from here:
And our heroine can only perform plant-growy-magic after she's fallen in love with the hero. No, hetero sex is just fine with FernGully.
Admittedly, that's Elton John playing over the end credits, so maybe I'm wrong about all this. But then, the soundtrack also features Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sheena Easton, and Raffi. Tone Loc's number is written by Jimmy Buffett and Mr. Utley. The music's a big old mess, is what I'm saying.
Maybe it just bugs me that our idiot heroine ignores hot redheaded Christian Slater in favor of a blond condescending asshat who impresses the stupid, stupid fairies with his Walkman. God, fairies are morons.