The Unicorn hears that she is supposed to be the last in the world, the rest of the unicorns having been chased by the Red Bull. At first, she doesn’t believe those news and she decides to go looking for the others. But as she scours the lands, she doesn’t find them. Instead she hears more stories about King Haggard and his Red Bull. Joined by Schmendrick, a rather inept wizard, and Molly, a former robber, they make their way to Haggard’s castle to find out about the unicorns.
Despite having seen the film about a hundred times already, I never read the book before. Which can only be described as a damn shame, especially now that I know that it really is one of the most beautiful books I ever read.
The thing that struck me the most about The Last Unicorn is the beauty of its prose. I can’t remember the last time that I so extensively marked bits and pieces I loved in a book, but with The Last Unicorn, in its semi-lyrical, semi-sober language, there was something on almost every page.
But the language isn’t the only thing I loved about it. I loved the plot as well and the way it unfolds. It feels less like a structured, leanly constructed development and more like something that’s organically grown, resulting not in a perfect and symmetrical form, but rather a kind of meandering through the story which sometimes leads to dead ends, but even so, they’re always picturesque and make the charm of the book.
And while the movie is incredibly close and faithful to the book (it pays to have the author make his own adaptation, I guess), I also loved to get the new details that I hadn’t known before, in particular Schmendrick’s backstory, which fits him wonderfully.
Another thing I loved that the movie just doesn’t feature as well as the book features it were all those meta moments where the characters confront their own development as characters in a book, where they talk about storytelling.
I can only repeat myself and sing the novel’s praises. I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.
Summarizing: As close to perfection as you can possibly get.