Once Upon a Forest
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Four young animals - Michelle Skunk, Abigail Mole, Edgar Hedgehog and Russell Badger - attend the forest school taught by Michelle's Uncle Cornelius (voice of Michael Crawford). Cornelius teaches his "furlings" about nature and how to get along in the forest. Mischievous, energetic and fun-loving, these youngsters are constantly challenging Cornelius' patience. Suddenly they are faced with the grave responsibility of saving Michelle's life. Deadly fumes escape from a wrecked truck carrying a load of gasoline and permeate the tree trunk she lives in with her family. Cornelius commissions the other three furlings to find the special herbs that can save their friend's life. The herbs grow in a meadow beyond the place where the yellow dragons (bulldozers) are. Abigail, Edgar and Russell must use everything Cornelius has taught them to successfully complete their life or death mission. Michael Crawford, famous for his role in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, sings a lovely song, and Ben Vereen's voice as Phineas, a blackbird preacher conducting a funeral, adds to the fun. This is a delightful animated film for children.

Viewers are reminded that human carelessness causes serious problems. It is unfortunate, however, that once again Hollywood shows only one side of environmental issues. The gasoline truck is wrecked because a bottle thrown from a car breaks, and its jagged edge blows out the truck's tire. The fumes kill plant and animal life. A little bird is trapped in a tar pit created by humans; bulldozers clear land and destroy trees where animals live. Why is development "bad" if it creates jobs, housing and industry? The scary scenes are not too intense for small children. As the furlings make their way to the meadow, they encounter buzzards, fly through a lightening storm, and dangle perilously from the wings of a crude airplane - just enough danger to create excitement. There are no offensive elements except some misleading messages about environmental issues. ONCE UPON A FOREST runs circles around the other animated film reviewed, HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience:

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