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Headscratchers / FernGully: The Last Rainforest

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  • Why did the scientists do so many unrelated experiments on Batty? Aside from being horribly unethical, it's just bad science. Have they never heard of confounding variables?
    • It's to play up on the whole Humans Are Bastards element of the film. Remember, this is a movie that tries to pound the whole "save the rainforest" message down the throats of children. It has to be over-simplified for the kiddies to understand it. Go figure. Kind of like how the villains in Captain Planet wreck the environment for no reason other than to be evil. It's bad business (Let's face it, I highly doubt Dr. Blight is making billions by dumping oil into the ocean), but it's little more than a means to show kids why pollution is bad and nature is good without going into how complex the ethics of saving the planet really are.
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    • Related to the above oversimplification, whether it promotes scientific accuracy or not, it's a very simple way to get through to kids just what happens to animals during testing. Cosmetics, carcinogens, testing effects of electricity. It's a very brief but solid way to get through all the things that can happen to animals. Even if it's unlikely that all of that will happen to just one.
    • In fairness, all we know of the experiments (the lyrics of the "Batty Rap") are coming through a seriously Unreliable Narrator. The whole experience was clearly traumatic, but who knows exactly what was going on when not viewed through Batty's eyes?
    • Animal testing still goes on, and it's horrible. Look it up on the Internet sometime - makeup testing is particuarly common. It depends on where you are whether it's legal or not - but I assumed that while Batty was clearly experimented on, that doesn't mean all he related happened to him - perhaps he witnessed other animals being tested on too. Which would make it worse to escape but not get anybody else out with him.
      • He may have seen others, but Batty Rap has far too much "I" and "me" to be about anyone else. Which leads to another Headscratcher — where are the scars?
      • I believe it was stated in the original book that he did have scars from experiments, but this is a kid's movie and it's not surprising that they wouldn't actually incorporate scars into a character's design.
  • Doesn't sealing away Hexxus make the Fern Gully fairies massive hypocrites?
    • To clarify, Hexxus is never portrayed as something unnatural, even his introduction in Magi's opening story shows him being birthed from a volcano. If anything, he's shown to be a guiding force of natural destruction, where the fairies are shown to be a guiding force of birth and growth. Magi even goes on to say that life in the forest is a constant battle between the forces and death and doesn't essentially locking up the God of Death (twice!) make them, well, liars?
      • The god of Death is often locked away in Mythology. It's part of the Good/Evil Eternal Battle. Besides, Hexxus had become so twisted that he was no longer a God but a Demon, Miyazaki style.
      • WTF mythology are you reading? in most mythology death is True Neutral.
      • One way to look at it is that sealing him away is part of the battle between what Magi called the "forces of creation and destruction". Raw, destructive power, left unchecked, is usually bad, and Hexxus, if left unchecked, would probably cause a full-blown Class 5 Apocalypse.
      • Hexxus' Villain Song specifically states his intentions. His intent is to destroy all of nature. Yes, destruction had it's place in the grand circle of things but Hexxus is out of control destruction, he destroys everything in his path and leaves nothing left behind. While he is a natural entity, he doesn't fit into the natural order, he doesn't destroy in a natural manner. He destroys in a completely unnatural manner, through pollution. Thus he represents uncontrolled destruction.
      • Does this movie really need anymore of the naturalistic fallacy? Natural or not, Hexxus is harming others and that's reason enough to stop him.
  • How does a several millennium old Smoke Demon know about heavy machinery? Did the cursed tree have cable?
    • I don't think he knew what it was so much as that he reconstituted himself inside of the machine, only to realize that here is a thing that not only lays waste to the landscape, but produces an insane amount of pollution while doing so. How could he NOT take advantage of such a device?
      • And why does said piece of heavy machinery have a chamber deep in its bowels with a big "Possess Here" sign? It's too small to be the main engine.
    • Well it's not explicitly shown, but I guess Hexxus snooped around the Leveler for quite a while before launching his plan, enough to establish some things. First of all, he managed to label it correctly as a machine, unlike Crysta who refers to the Leveler as a "monster" (see Good is Dumb, but also Hexxus sees the thing from inside, rather than outside like Crysta does, and you gotta admit the Leveler does have a monster-like appearance with two "arms" and a "mouth" that grinds trees). He also establishes where he needs to go to gain a maximum of energy (I guess the door he enters leads to the exhaust pipe or something, and was created for maintenance. He does not exactly "possess" the Leveler as the previous troper said, he merely connects himself to it to gain energy from the toxic waste it produces. The Leveler is still run by humans, at least at the beginning. It appears he becomes able to control it by himself towards the end, as long as it's activated (which shows that as he gains in power, he probably infiltrates the machinery). Finally, the last thing he learns is that the Leveler is controlled by humans, who in turn receive orders from higher ranked humans, which ultimately allows his scheme to work.
      • Another possibility is that Hexxus may have an innate sense that instinctively allows him to understand anything that causes destruction, just like fairies can feel a tree's "pain".
  • And if Hexxus eats pollution, why exactly is he a force for destruction, anyway?
    • He's a force for the destruction of nature. Doing so would pave the way for decadent civilization, with its factories and cars and industry, and with all that, gallons of pollution for him to gobble up.
    • It's implied that Hexxus doesn't "eat" the pollution as much as he assimilates it. When he consumes the Leveler's exhaust, he doesn't destroy it, he bulges and grows with it. What the Magi and her folk are trying to do is keep him from reaching a "God" level amount of pollution. After that, he'd probably be able to blanket large areas, choke wildlife with poisonous gas and taint rain water to the point of 1-PH Acidity. More or less allow the Toxic Love song to come to a dark and grimy fruition.
    • I always felt like he was like Hedorah, he consumes pollution but it just makes him more deadly and is ultimately much worse than the pollution itself.
  • Further, if Hexxus is strengthened by pollution and has a fair understanding of machinery, why not just go: "New orders're going directly back to the factory." Release himself into the production plant/ship yard (either would be a far greater source of carcinogens or whatever powers him), then go back against Ferngully as a super-charged Smog God with an army of Levelers beneath him?
    • Because, while he can instinctively figure this one out, he doesn't know if there are more, or how much pollution there is elsewhere. He's spent the entire Industrial Revolution inside a tree; as far as he knows, other than that one machine, all there is is the smoke of campfires. He may want to go and find out what pollution is available elsewhere, but he wanted to take Fern Gully- the only threat to him- out first, on the off chance that there isn't anything else available- if that was the case, he'd just be giving Fern Gully time to prepare, and he doesn't want to risk that.
    • Not to mention revenge. He's been trapped in that tree for hundreds or thousands of years. Plenty of time to get upset and want to kick a little ass in return.
  • Probably an unanswerable question, but what exactly happens to Hexxus after the Leveler gets shut down? A millenia of hate gave him a power up?
    • I always thought that he drawed upon all the pollution he already caused (if you look carefully when he's rising, you can see him "inhaling" some sort of fumes). He might have also directly drained the Leveler from its fuel instead of sucking its wastes.
    • Also, just because it was shut down doesn't mean all the pollution had left the Leveler. Also, he might have just eaten the entire supply of oil from it to go One-Winged Angel.
  • Why is Zack marking all the trees to be cut down? Quite a waste of spraypaint, that is.
    • Checking for the trees with the "purest" lumber. A mecha-monstrosity like The Leveler must take unheard of sums of fuel to run, so you need to get the best lumber as quickly as possible, and with as little dead time as possible (like turning).
      • Yea, but since it just destroys all the trees in front of it indiscriminately, there's still not much purpose to singling out trees one at a time.
    • I always thought the marking was for the benefit of Those Two Guys driving it, so they could point it at the best stands. Or possibly it's so the PR people in the leveller's home Mega-Corp can tell the media they make every effort to target harvest.
      • I just always figured the marks were guiding the leveller through safer grounds, perhaps marking the trees by species, as there might be extremely rare trees in the forest that are protected by governmental order of the nation the forest is in...?
  • When Hexxus goes into Full Power Mode at the end... what's the point? I mean he's still bound to the Leveler and the Leveler is inactive. He would have remained stuck there until the end of time, or maybe even he would have died as soon as the fuels on which he feeds ran out.
    • I don't think he was bound to the Leveler at all. He probably could have left when ever he wanted. He basically found it, thought it was cool and decided to use it as a weapon against Fern Gully. When that fails he gathers up all his power to attack the place himself. Unfortunately for him, they react faster and seal him away again.
    • Also, there was probably still pollutants in the Leveler at the time, since it'd just now shut down. Thus, he was still feeding off of it and getting stronger every second. Until it was completely drained, he had no reason to leave it.

  • If the fairies and humans of Fern Gully lived in perfect environmentally-sound peace and harmony until Hexxus showed up... how did Hexxus show up?
    • He was released from inside the earth by an exploding volcano.
  • Why are the humanoids native to north-east Australia all Caucasian? And why does everyone have an American accent (except Hexxus, who, being the bad guy, is a Brit)?
    • It never really says they're native to the area, just that they're logging there. As for the accent, they probably just didn't care enough to get it right, so they decided not to bother.
      • Zak isn't Australian at all, something the movie confirms in a way that is so subtle it's been missed by most viewers for years. The ID in his wallet that Crysta sees says "WORK PERMIT" at the top, partially hidden by the wallet itself. It also confirms his name is spelled "Zak," not "Zack."
      • Anyways, what kind of accent would fairies have anyways? You'd think they'd speak their own language rather than English, and that Hexxus would probably not be able to speak at all.
      • I always figured Zack and the other two guys were American immigrants to Australia, and Zack being able to understand the fairies and the animals sorta came with the 'fairy sight' package.
      • If they couldn't be bothered to hire Australian actors, I wonder why they didn't just set the film in America?
      • Because there aren't any rain forests in America?
      • Well, there's the Great Pacific Northwest, but it's cold and mostly filled with Neo-Nazis instead of Fairies.
      • No, most of the Neo-Nazis are in northern Idaho, not the PNW proper. My guess would be because not only is it a completely different type of rainforest, but most of the Olympic Peninsula's forests are on national park land and thus safe from logging. Also, it would be a lot harder for fairies living in any of that forest to not know humans actually existed—even if they never personally saw anything, they'd still probably see planes or something.
    • The humans have Australian accents in the sequel. Including Zack's skinny co-worker who gets a short cameo.
  • When Crysta walks upside down, why doesn't her skirt go fall down?
  • Crysta never seems really surprised when Zak kisses her. In fact, why does she seem completely nonplussed once they get out of that cave thingy?
    • The Fae are notorious for having loose moral standards. Check out A Midsummer Night's Dream for LOADS of examples.
    • It's also possible that her little fairy tribe doesn't kiss, but after Zak kissed her and with the expression he gave, she knew why he did it and felt happy about it.
  • In the scene where they find the Walkman or whatever that thing was, wouldn't the loud music blast out their little fairy (and tiny human) eardrums? At least, the faeries reacted, but Zac's still tiny, so wouldn't that have affected him too?
    • Eh, it's the same reason why giant monsters are able to run around without being crushed to death in the movies. Lack of physics.
    • The music is still coming out of a pair of cheap, early 90's head phones, I doubt it was actually that terrible loud. The fairies weren't expecting the noise at all, which is why they all reacted to it, while Zak knew what would happen when he hit play, which is why he didn't react.
  • Say, Hexxus, you want to destroy the rainforest, right? You got yourself a big ol' machine to cut down the trees too., might I suggest an easier plan? You, uh, you know trees are kinda flammable, right?
    • Hexxus started off as a tiny black ooze thing with almost no power. It's unlikely he would have been able to burn down the forest until he had fed on a lot of corruption, which is why he was using the Leveler.
      • Also, the Leveler was pretty much an all you can eat buffet on wheels. He benefited two fold, he has a huge weapon of mass destruction and all the food he could possibly want rolled up into one. It shows because he goes from being a tiny black blob to a One-Winged Angel by the time the Leveler is disabled. Had he gone right to causing havok himself, it'd have been easy for the fairies to reseal him. That's another point, inside the Leveler, he was protected to some degree from them, it wasn't till he emerged that he could be sealed away.
    • But destroying it with fire wouldn't get rid of the rainforest forever, especially with the magic of the fairies helping to speed up growth. In reality, some species of plants will grow back faster after a fire. As Fern Gully is in Australia - where bush fires occur constantly - all species of plant there are adapted to not only grow faster than usual but drop more seeds to increase the number of plants regrown as it's being burnt. Hexxus wants the rainforest destroyed for good, not temporarily then in a few years later have this rainforest regrown into something even bigger. Also, it wasn't like Hexxus knew of the humans' plan to build over the cleared out forest, so he couldn't have expected that nothing would happen to intervene with the forest regrowing while he was off causing destruction else where.
    • Hexxus is a poster child for Evil Is Hammy; he's got an overblown sense of style and showmanship. Which is more dramatic: a flamethrower, or a giant metal monster with bladed claws and chainsaw elbows, hmmm?
    • The fairies can likely counter and heal damage by fire with their magic. Fire occurs in nature after all. Machines however do not and as such they have no direct power over it or anything it does.
      • More to the point tree rarely burn completely. They die, rot and fertilize the soil. Even the ashes are good for the soil. The Leveler takes the majority of the tree with it.
      • Beyond that, even, virgin tropical rainforest is not very flammable. The dampness and density prevent fires from spreading very far. It's when secondary forest grows after logging that fires become a bigger problem.
  • When Zak tells Crysta that there are "not much" trees in cities, she responds by saying "How can you live without trees?" when the right response should have been "How can you live with so few trees?" "Not much" is not the same thing as absolute zero. Also, Crysta comes out as kind off dumb for asking that question. Its akin to asking a penguin how he can live in such a cold climate.
    • 1) Crysta is simplifying something because it had an emotional impact on her, to her worldview "not many" is essentially the same thing as "none", this is a thing that people do, 2) it's actually more akin to someone from a sprawling urban area asking someone from, say, an Amish community "How can you live without motor vehicles?" which is, again, a thing that people do.
  • Remember how the radio antenna on Batty was a large role on what the character suffered? Well, what exactly happened to it in the sequel? It just disappeared without any explanation. It was connected to his brain, so they couldn't just cut it off of him. So what happened to it?
    • This is just one of the many, many reasons the sequel was so bad - a Lazy Artist. There's no reason other than that.
    • Maybe there is another reason; the fairies have magic! MagicHealing is what got rid of the antenna.
      • I respectfully disagree - the sequel still plays up on the 'switching radiowaves' humour of the first film, which was a direct result of the antenna. If it was removed via fairy magic, why would Batty still experience that? Seems most likely that it was just a lazy artist. (Though magic would be a super sweet reason, honestly)
  • In the beginning, Crysta asks "What's smoke?" and is told it's "like a cloud". So these fairy people who apparently never travel above the canopy know what a cloud is, but they've never seen smoke, which can occasionally occur in forest fires?
    • Remember that you're talking about a movie with a Captain Planet and the Planeteers approach to environmentalism. Only HUMANS can cause forest fires!
    • Maybe she was simply too young to have encountered fire yet.
    • Forest fires in virgin rainforest (which FernGully is in) are actually very small. They tend to burn very little besides some small seedlings and dry leaves.
  • I know it's a small, tiny, insignificant little detail but... Is anyone else going to question how and why Hexxus randomly forms into a skeleton right at the start of Toxic Love?
    • Rule of Symbolism meets a Voluntary Shapeshifter.
    • Hexxus's final, presumably true, form at the climax is a giant fiery skeleton covered in sludge, so presumably the skeleton is his true form and his smog form is just a form he's more comfortable in (and also likely more mobile).

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