A midsummer night's dream on Elm Street.
March 7, 2011 2:38 PM   Subscribe

A hapless painter is endowed with the ability to understand the speech of forest creatures. Little does he know that the evil King Cactus is planning to destroy the forest using his monstrous grinding machine and an army of magically animated polearms, or that he will play an instrumental role in thwarting the scheming xerophyte. Released in 1986, Čudesna šuma ("The Magical Forest") is Yugoslavia's first feature-length animated film. Created in collaboration with a US production company, it's available in English as (hold on to your hats, folks) "The Elm-Chanted Forest."

The Elm-Chanted Forest is well-known to viewers in eastern and central Europe, but is not without fans elsewhere. It's a straightforward children's fantasy, filled with endearing characters, bright colors, and strong emotions, and complete with musical numbers. US viewers may be reminded of Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears and Rankin/Bass productions like The Flight of Dragons, although the animation is somewhat less polished. One might also get a kick out of the random bits of 80s kitsch, like break-dancing mushrooms and cheesy electric guitars in some of the more intense scenes.

You can watch The Elm-Chanted Forest on YouTube in nine parts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). The English voicework is not altogether bad, although for full effect you might also take a look at the film in the original language (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

P.S.: The tree in the title is originally an oak, not an elm. They really, really wanted that pun.
posted by Nomyte (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Doro Vlado Hreljanovic presents ...

I'm already excited! Everything he touches turns gold!

But in searching for who Doro Hreljanovic might be, I found Milan Blažeković, the short animated film The Man Who had to Sing (1970), and fond memories of seeing the short cartoon.

And now I will watch the film of topic. Thanks for the history and links!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:56 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some relation of mine taped this for me as a child and I watched it a billion times. Which was weird because I actually had nightmares about it. And loved it anyway. Go figure. I was sad to discover that I no longer remember the songs; I did still a few years ago, though. So, to fix that... off to Youtube!

This is the second time one of my peculiar nightmare-inspiring childhood favorites has showed up on MeFi--well, the other was on AskMe, where someone was looking for Unico in the Island of Magic.

I don't know why I didn't just watch Disney videos like a sensible little girl.
posted by gracedissolved at 5:25 PM on March 7, 2011

The translation to English is not so bad other than the cheesy pun for the title. Pretty cool, I will ako Bog da, share the English version with the grand kids.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:43 PM on March 7, 2011

The Man Who Had To Sing is excruciatingly funny!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:57 PM on March 7, 2011

Holy. Shit. I have been trying to remember the name of this movie for YEARS. Just last week I was scouring the web using every fractured memory of it I have. I've been meaning to see if AskMe might have any clue, since I haven't had luck with any other route.

This makes me indescribably happy, and managed to salvage an otherwise miserable night. Thank you so very much, Nomyte.

I kept feeling certain that the movie was called The Enchanted Forest. I see what they did there.
posted by Stunt at 8:37 PM on March 7, 2011

Holy crap, I watched the HELL out of this when I was a kid and had next to no recollection of it until just now. Never had any idea it was Yugoslavian, tho!
posted by FatherDagon at 1:18 PM on March 8, 2011

Thank you thank you thank you! This is a great show.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:35 PM on March 9, 2011

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