[Critique film] Unicorn Wars: Cubs versus Unicorns

When Platoon meet the Care Bears

Unicorn Wars is an animated feature film byAlberto Vásquez which, from its cinema poster, looks like a joke on the part of its director. We can see little figures resembling Care Bears surrounded by magnificent black unicorns with a kind of ruined castle threatening in the background. In other words, an iconography worthy of a fantasy epic which seems, apart from a few details (this mauve sky), intended for children.

Big mistake! This animated feature film is in reality, under cover of pretty shimmering colors and rather poetic visual representations, a certainly anti-militarist pamphlet, but also an extremely dark journey into the human spirit.whose avowed references are nothing less than great war films like Apocalypse Now, Platoon and especially the Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick.

After a difficult gestation, in particular due to funding, Alberto Vasquez presents his latest film to us after a stint at the Étrange Festival, which turns out to be as inventive visually as it is from the script. In a fantasy (even spooky) world, cute little bear cubs with the motto “Honor, pain and kisses” constantly train in a military camp to face their neighbors living in the forest – magnificent black unicorns whose legend claims that when the blood of the last of them is shed, he who drinks it will become a perfect being.

The film continues to take the viewer on the wrong foot thanks to its colorful universe and the animal representation of its characters which first suggests that we are going to be dealing with a film for all audiences, but which will quickly lead to a deluge. of violence whose cartoon aspect allows all visual excesses.

The Beauty of Horror

Aesthetically the film is literally sublime. He also has this quality of changing style according to the places and situations, sometimes in aesthetic trip mode, to show the characters’ wanderings by alternating extremely colorful and saturated decorations, on the contrary sometimes in a more visceral or even medieval style to justify atrocious acts of violence. For the tropical forest, on the contrary, the style turns towards watercolor or, of course, cartoonesque for the world of bears. We alternate the different settings with an ease that allows us each time to identify the places in which we find ourselves.

Each decor also has its own music, with esoteric, even retro, lyrical flights that fit perfectly with the image. Despite some scenes in which we notice that due to a lack of budget the animation is a little less licked and some connections not totally clean, we can’t help but admire an extremely convincing end result. screen.

In addition, the impression of living a fantasy story with unicorns, bears and other animals of the forest only accentuates the horror of the situations when violence intervenes.

the soldier cubs attack in the unicorn wars spanish animated film

A highly referenced story

As we said earlier, the film has many references and themes, such as of course the rejection of war because of its violence and its consequences, but also an ecological message when we see that the hatred of the two camps has finally engendered only blind destruction.

It is also impossible to ignore the religious references hammered out several times during the film by a fanatical priest constantly summoning the sky and training his troops as brilliantly as a drill sergeant would do to continue their vendetta against the unicorns because, ultimately, it is the sky that wants it to be so. Another biblical reference: the confrontation between two brothers that everything opposes, Célestin and Dodu, one obsessed with power while the other, of a gentler nature, would on the contrary prefer to avoid combat. It’s hard not to make the connection between the brothers Abel and Cain of the Bible, especially when we witness the emergence of evil through the growing jealousy of Celestine.

One of the strengths of Unicorn Wars is therefore to succeed in deploying a plot in a timeless and universalist myth mixing many themes which, unfortunately, do not all manage to be treated in a balanced way, which generates major problems of rhythm.

However, his religious references and his misanthropic pessimism leave a lasting mark on people’s minds, to the point that we always follow the story with interest until a chilling conclusion to which we can blame its brevity, but which ultimately brings us almost all the answers.

Moments of pure daydreaming alternating with scenes of barbarism, all sprinkled with both social and religious references to the point of reinventing Genesis, that is the original recipe for Unicorn Wars, an animated film the likes of which we rarely see.

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[Critique film] Unicorn Wars: Cubs versus Unicorns

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