The bears, believed to be superior beings having found God, were driven out following their defeat by the unicorns. But guided by the legend, which says that drinking the blood of the last unicorn leads to eternal beauty, a commando of bear cubs launches into the magical forest, determined to do battle with the unicorns. Among them, Célestin, a blue teddy bear with blue eyes obsessed with his own beauty, and his brother Dodu, a paunchy pink teddy bear with pink eyes, more interested in blueberries than war…
“Unicorn Wars“by Alberto Vázquez, who competed at the last Annecy Animation Film Festival, where his author was awarded for his short film”Decorated“in 2016 and caused a sensation with his first feature”Psychonauts“(Goya winner of the best animated film in 2017), is an animated film apart. Extending in a way the universe of one of his short films, “Blood of Unicornio” (2013), which already featured two bear brothers chasing unicorns, whose blueberry-flavoured flesh had the effect of an elixir of youth. This new feature film features two brothers, Célestin (in the original version Azulin – or “the little blue”) obsessed with beauty, determined and bellicose, becoming the rival of the sturdy Coco (the yellow bear), a real war machine, and his brother, the greedy and peaceful Dodu (in the original version Gordi ) also nicknamed Mewheren (in VO), because he still wets the bed.
From a pictorial point of view, the author develops a universe of his own, of undeniable beauty, sometimes tinged with childish colored references (the bear cubs, the large innocent eyes, the unicorn playing with a rabbit, the rainbow sky…), sometimes gloomy (the vision of a church in ruins, the tomb of the mother…). Not hesitating to voluntarily gore and excessive violence (some will necessarily think of “Happy Tree Friends“), there seems to be no limit to the author’s imagination in the way of killing or mutilating various characters here, whether during moments of hallucination or fight. In any case, we will enjoy the small details (heart-shaped talisman, teddy bears’ obsession with beauty, anticlerical peaks, etc.), cinematographic or cultural references (Darth Vader, “Princess Mononoke“…), and some of the most delirious passages.
If the scenario as a whole will prove to be quite confusing at times, mixing elements of childish trauma and ecology, Alberto Vázquez confirms here his particular gift for a displayed darkness and his taste for a certain cynicism, having fun knocking down myths and imagery religious or military. He thus plays with the codes of the war film (training camp, virile rivalries…) while displaying an anti-militarist background (Célestin’s extremism, the belligerent discourse of the genre “a good unicorn is a dead unicorn”…) and anticlerical (the portrait of the priest bear, the affirmation that “to have faith is not to question”…). The result is a fierce and surprising fable about the endless cycle of hatred, and about the emergence of real monsters.
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UNICORN WARS animation film review – Abus de Ciné
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