Once Upon a Forest Once Upon a Forest

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Once Upon a Forest

ages 5+ | 70 % Say It's Worth Your Time

Once Upon a Forest is a 1993 American animated film produced by Hanna-Barbera in association with HTV Cymru/Wales, Ltd. and released on June 18, 1993 by 20th Century Fox. Based on the Furlings characters created by Rae Lambert, it was directed by Charles Grosvenor and produced by David Kirschner (creator of An American Tail and Child's Play). It tells the story of three forest denizens that go on an expedition to cure their friend, Michelle, who became sick from chemical fumes. Despite being made for children, it has a few things that might be considered a little too grave for the genre. For example, animals are shown being suffocated by poisonous fumes, and it is more than implied that a very large number do not survive. The film's environmental theme divided critics at the time of its release, along with the animation and story. It was not a commercial success, grossing only US$6.6 million domestically. The story opens in a forest known as Dapplewood where "Furlings," a term for animal children, live alongside their teacher, Cornelius (Michael Crawford). The four Furlings central to the story are Abigail (Ellen Blain), a woodmouse; Russell (Paige Gosney), a hedgehog; Edgar (Benji


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Genre: Drama

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  • No Maturity Rating | Not Worth Your Time

    The movie, which was produced by the famously below-average Hanna-Barbera Productions, is bright and bouncy and full of cuddly-cute talking animals, just the way animated children's movies are supposed to be. Then, all of a sudden, there's all this gratuitous human-bashing and hysterical ecological rhetoric about what a fiendishly evil creature man is -- how dirty and soulless and indifferent to the plight of God's furry pets.

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  • No Maturity Rating | Not Worth Your Time

    Dismally unimaginative, this 72-minute cartoon will be excruciating for anyone endowed with judgment. As for the extremely young, they will have no problem with it. But this is the same audience for whom mashing soggy crackers into the living room carpet is a good time.

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  • (Male) Chicago Sun-Times Critic

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    "Once Upon a Forest" is a children's animated adventure that seems to have been conceived as an anthology of Politically Correct attitudes. The villains are men and pesticides and poison gas and drunk drivers, and the heroes are furry little animals who practice herbal medicine.

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  • (Male) Reel Views

    No Maturity Rating | Not Worth Your Time

    The latest subpar G-rated animated feature to prey upon of parents in search of suitable entertainment for their kids.

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  • ParentPreviews.com

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    This movie teaches children some good things, but not necessarily about the environment. I felt that there was more emphasis placed on working together and sacrificing to help others. That's not bad, but with all of the environmental emphasis, it is unfortunate the message is not clearer. The film shows what can happen if man is not careful, but it doesn't spend much time showing what can be done to help the problem.

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  • ages 6+ | Worth Your Time

    Parents need to know that Once Upon a Forest is a colorful family movie that plays upon a child's deepest fears: the loss of a family or of home. This fact is glossed over while the friends are sent on an adventure. This lighthearted approach to mass destruction seems a little dated and may upset sensitive kids. The animals of Dapplewood forest start as an unruly bunch, but they come together to help a friend in dire need.

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  • (Male) Deseret News Critic

    No Maturity Rating |

    There's no question that Disney is at a peak right now — but even its less notable efforts in the past ("Oliver and Company," "The Fox and the Hound") are better than most of what passes for theatrical animated features these days. Just look at the dozen non-Disney losers we had between "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin." Not to mention the hideous "Happily Ever After," which should be hitting the dollar theaters any minute. In fact, the only non-Disney bright spot last year for animation aficionados was "FernGully." And another environmentally correct yarn, "Once Upon a Forest," is this year's valentine to cartoon buffs. (And kids, too, of course.) "Once Upon a Forest" is a delightful little yarn about three young critters — a wood mouse, a hedgehog and a mole — who have a series of adventures as they travel together on a quest. They are in search of an herb that will heal a friend of theirs who has become deathly ill after a man-made accident — a tanker-truck has overturned and leaked a lethal gas, which is spreading throughout the forest. Their teacher and mentor, an older badger who represents a sort of grandfatherly figure (voiced by Michael Crawford), has sent them on this quest, and the adventures they meet along the way range from comical to scary to musical (Ben Vereen voices a choir-conducting, gospel-shouting preacher in one amusing, toe-tapping segment). In some ways, "Once Upon a Forest" is remarkably old-fashioned, despite a few nods to contemporary thinking. But that's not meant as criticism. On its own terms, the fairy tale sensibility works perfectly in context — and the film is most enjoyable for children and their parents.

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Okfor ages12+