Hey guys, today we’re doing a little throwback Tuesday and looking at one of the quintessential 90’s movies: FernGully. FernGully has some obvious applications to illnesses like multiple chemical sensitivity, but let’s dive in and take a deep look at all this classic has to offer.
In the opening narration we discover that fairies and humans used to live in harmony until a force of destruction, called Hexxus, “rained poison” over the land, killing many things. The fairies don’t think that humans survived this rift in the balance of nature. The fairies were able to trap Hexxus in a tree and stop the spread of his poison, thereby putting a stop to further loss of life. And so we’re all set up for a classic tale of man vs. nature, with the villain literally being a noxious cloud of toxins and poisons. So anyone with MCS or a silimar illness is going to immediately see their own daily struggle being waged on screen here as well. We can’t actually remove poison from the world, but it can be contained and controlled… for now.
Well our protag, Crysta, is not super interested in her lessons from the local old sage woman warning that if young fairies like Crysta don’t care a lot, it’s not going to get better, it’s not.
Wrong 90’s kid material.
Anyway, Crysta sees a black cloud rising above the canopy. Could it be…?
Well it sure looks like it, ’cause right after that a Robin Williams bat shows up, performs a very white rap, and proclaims that, yes, MAN IS IN THE FORREST.
But pretty much everyone writes him off as crazy because humans all died in the poison. Also, he’s acting… really really crazy.
And how did Batty get this way? Why it was COSMETIC TESTING! Which everyone with MCS knows it a truly toxic regimen. And I don’t want to come off like I’m saying this lightly, because I really mean it: makeup and fragrances are one of the most common ways people systematically poison themselves in daily doses. It is BAD for you. REAL BAD. But when I say things like that, I sound as crazy as Batty, no?
But Batty’s right, y’all. Man’s coming, and they have poisons galore. And you know who likes poisons?
But it’s ok ’cause he’s stuck in a tree.
BUT WAIT OH NO–
You know who loves cutting down trees??!
So yeah, one thing leads to another and soon Hexxus is not only out of his tree, but sucking down poison and getting super strong off MAN’s polluting, tree-destroying hellbeast of evil.
And he’s also TIM CURRY!
Truly, the most formidable of all foes.
But meanwhile, there’s a romance subplot between a fairy and a human because IT WAS THE 90s. And having an interspecies couple was pretty cutting edge.
I’m willing to forgive the cliche here for… obvious reasons.
I have a thing for shaggy blondes who need repeated and thorough education on why we need to take better care of the environment.
Anyway, Crysta is trying to cast a helpful spell on this human but instead shrinks him so that shenanigans can ensue. This shaggy blonde who needs to learn to love nature is named Zak. Zak Mc90’s probably.
Well Zak quickly falls in love with Crysta and Fern Gully and thinks that his part in chopping down the rainforest was totally uncool, man. So now he’s on the fairies’ side. But he’s got a lot to learn. FOR INSTANCE: he does the most totally romantic thing he can think of: carve Crysta’s name into a tree. But then she’s horrified as fairies can literally feel the pain trees feel, so… oops.
I like this scene though, honestly. Because the pain of that tree is so real to Crysta. And Zak clearly doesn’t feel it the way she does. But he believes her, and respects her enough to change his behavior so as not to cause any more pain.
And as someone who lives with chronic pain and who has a thing for these dumb scruffy blondes, it means a lot.
So Zak brings human music to the fairies in the form of “Land of 1000 Dances,” he and Crysta go on a magical cave tour where they definitely canoodle.
5 minutes in to the cave tour and she gives you this look…
Post canoodling, Crysta wants to go tell her grandma all about her new boy toy (as any young girl would) and while she’s gone, Zak discovers… OIL IN THE WATER?!
Aw man! See he thought they were just gonna chop down some loser trees and not come to FernGully, but no, MAN IS TOTALLY COMING TO FERNGULLY.
And Hexxus is at the helm, more powerful than ever before. MAN has brought so many toxins and noxious fumes and poisons that he was able to grow big and strong, like some kinda poison Popeye.
Meanwhile, Magi (the wise old lady of the village) has found the stump of a tree cut clean away by man’s technologies. This is destruction beyond her healing.
The fairies prepare to run. Really REALLY cute animals cry and run with their babies away from MAN and all his evil and poison. And can I just say I really love the way “pain” is visualized in this movie?
And now, with Hexxus and Man closing in on FernGully, it’s time for some inspiring quotes that also happen to be profoundly applicable to fighting chronic illness.
“Look for the hero inside yourself, Crysta. Look to the good and loving heart in you and all others. For just as every seed holds the power and magic of creation, so, too, do you…”
“We all have a power, and it grows when it is shared.”
And of course, Hexxus is reimprisoned, and FernGully can never be harmed again.
Well… except by humans. That’s why Zak decides to return to his life as a human, and leave his fairy girlfriend behind. We see Zak reunite with his fellow men and say a very promising “things have gotta change” before he leaves Crysta’s life forever.
Honestly I gotta respect a kids movie setting the romance aside for the greater message of people need to stop being so poisonous and destructive. What is Zak gonna do exactly? As a young dude with little to no education or influence? Well… let’s just go with it’s a message that even one person can make a difference. Remember: even one tiny seed holds all the power of creation inside it. That means Zak does too.
AND SO DO YOU, my chronic illness warriors!
Ok so FernGully is far from a perfect movie. But it still gives me the feels. And it’s still got some good moments in there for people struggling with chronic illness and environmental illness. Were there any I missed? Leave ’em in the comments below and stay tuned for more spoonie movie reviews right here on doilooksick.com.