Plot: What’s it about?
Crysta (voiced by Samantha Mathis) is a tree fairy with a curious nature, so even the lush, wondrous world of FernGully can’t contain her imagination. FernGully is a tropical paradise though, loaded with trees, plants, and inhabitants of all kinds, but of course, Crysta wants to explore beyond even all of that. Her friends try to convince her to remain inside FernGully, but she ignores them and heads off into the world, where she encounters Zak (voiced by Jonathan Ward). Zak is a human who seems like a good person, but his job involves tearing down the rainforest around the area, which means FernGully could be in serious trouble. She soon manages to shrink Zak down to her size by mistake, which begins a chain of events that will change the fate of FernGully forever. Once Zak discovers what his work has caused and can still cause, he decides to protect the rainforests instead, starting with FernGully. So Zak joins forces with Crysta, her radar impaired friend Batty (voiced by Robin Williams), and some others, but even with their combined forces, can they overcome the evil Hexxus (voiced by Tim Curry)?
Although Disney ruled the world of animated features when FernGully was released, it still found an audience and has become a popular home video selection. It might not have the shine & polish of some of Disney’s more refined efforts, but FernGully sports some good animation and music, as well as solid voice talents. The characters are brought to life by such stars as Robin Williams, Christian Slater, Cheech Marin, Tim Curry, and Samantha Mathis, plus additional workers and on the whole, the voice work is terrific. The music and songs aren’t excellent per se, but they’re still adequate and some are quite memorable, so kids should fun with them and adults won’t be annoyed with the tunes. I had some doubts about FernGully at the time, as it makes no bones about packing a message about the treatment of the environment, but I think it is delivered in fine fashion, just enough push, never too much. So yes, we understand what the filmmakers want to say with FernGully, but they never cram it down our throats and as such, the film itself remains entertaining and worthwhile, as it should. If you’re a fan of the flick, then dive right in and if you’re a first timer, the price is low enough to take a chance, so don’t miss FernGully!
Video: How does it look?
FernGully is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition included on the disc’s flip side. The image here looks as good as expected, though of course, I would have liked a cleaner, sharper overall picture. The print used here has no serious flaws, but does have some minor defects, which add some age to the experience. The colors look bright and rich, but not quite as vivid as I remember from the theater. No problems with contrast either, as black levels look smooth and well balanced throughout. This treatment has some flaws, but on the whole, this is a terrific and more than acceptable visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option packs more of a punch than I expected, with some great & very creative use of the surrounds. I wouldn’t call this a reference track, but it does create ample atmosphere and with a rainforest backdrop, that means some cool effects placement and neat ambient noises. The surrounds aren’t used all the time, but do get a lot of action and it never hampers the other elements, even for a second. The music sounds clean and well mixed, while dialogue is sharp and always easy to understand. This disc also includes English & French 2.0 surround options, as well as English & Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.