: : : The Elm-Chanted Forest

Story

"The Elm-Chanted Forest" typifies the bland, low-budget animated features cranked out for the American children's market. When artist Peter Palette falls asleep under the enormous elm that is the spirit of the forest, he acquires magical powers, including the ability to talk to animals. He learns from them that the evil Emperor Spine, a cactus, is planning to reduce the forest to a desert. Spine burns down a large section of the woods and floods a lot more of it by annoying King Neptune, but all the damage somehow vanishes. Peter decides that Spine is unhappy because he's never been able to fulfill his nature and blossom; he slips the Emperor a magic potion that causes him to burst into bloom, and all ends happily. Visually "The Elm-Chanted Forest" borrows heavily from "Bambi," "Sleeping Beauty," and other classic features. Directors D.V. Hreljanovic and M. Blazekovic ape the musical comedy format of recent Disney films, but the script is needlessly talky and the forgettable songs only impede the story's progress. The result is an innocuous diversion for very young children, but the story is too thin and the characters too uninteresting to hold an older child's attention. --Charles Solomon
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