Osamu Tezuka strikes yet again with yet another interesting experimental short movie. Legend of the Forest is interesting for its concept and not for its story or characters. What you practically get here is an excuse of a story used purely to show the evolution of animation. Each segment of the movie is done in a style that is reflecting a different decade, and as the story progresses you see the animation methods as they evolved over the decades. Starting from static pictures, to granny black & white, to color, to the use of computers in order to make objects look more real. It is all quite interesting from an artistic point of view.
On the other hand, there is not much of a story or interesting characters in it. Even the few specks of those make little sense and are there as plot devices and poor excuses to keep the plot going. It starts as the tragic life of a squirrel but after a point on it turns to some ecology-pro story, showing evil humans destroying the forest and the creatures living there try to find a solution. Where did the squirrel go??? Where did these mythological creatures appear from??? And what kind of a co-out ending is that, throwing tree-hugging messages at my face like that? Is this movie supposed to be for the family and offers politically correct messages? I thought it was an experimental movie for the elite so why did it perform such a turnaround and became a mediocrity towards the end?
Anyways, the aesthetics of the movie in terms of production values are very eye-captivating while story and characters plain suck, not just because they are simple and political correct but also because they are poorly written and directed. It is an interesting shot but it could have been a lot more if it weren’t so easy going.