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Western Animation / Unicorn Wars

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Honor, Pain, Cuddles

Unicorn Wars is a French/Spanish animated film by Alberto Vázquez, one of the directors of Bird Boy: The Forgotten Children.

According to the holy books of the teddy bears, the devil once took the form of a unicorn, and only when the entire unicorn species is wiped out will God return and turn the earth into a paradise. Understandably this has led to a holy war between teddy bears and the unicorns. The main protagonists are a pair of teddy bear brothers who enlist in the army to fight the unicorns, with things going downhill after that...

The English Language trailer is Here, a Spanish trailer with english subtitles is Here, A short commentary by the author can be found Here.

Not to be confused with Unicorn: Warriors Eternal.

Tropes present in Unicorn Wars:

  • Agony of the Feet: When Snuggles takes off his boots and is busy urinating, his toe is bitten by a poisonous lizard. He struggles to keep up with the rest of his unit for the rest of his screen time, and, despite attempts to use first aid to treat the wound, he eventually needs to have it amputated before the toxins spread above his ankle.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Downplayed. Tubby was shown to be made fun of because of both his weight and immaturity in his unit. While all his unit was admiring their bodies, he was insecure about his fat body, and with his brother making fun of him, the unit joined in. Later when Bluey made the unit believe that Tubby had wet the bed, they all made fun of him, and finally, when do unit learned that Tubby was joining them, they were skeptical about how useful he would be on the mission. Despite this, it appears that Tubby is not constantly mistreated and is mostly accepted by the unit; it's notable that even though his unit was skeptical of his usefulness on the mission during the mission itself, he was never mistreated or an outcast from the unit.
  • Animal Religion: The bears have a religion in which the unicorns are seen as the equivalent of demons. At first glance, it looks very similar to the Catholic Church.
  • Annoying Arrows: The teddy bears' ranged weapon of choice seem to be arrows with heart points, but unless hit in a weak spot the unicorns can just shrug them off, several scenes show unicorns with their backs and legs pin-cushioned with arrows that don't seem to hinder them. Notably, this is the first clue that something is very wrong about the Church in the Forest. The unicorns have no way to remove the arrows because they lack the means to manipulate objects like opposable thumbs, so they couldn't have built it.
  • Another Man's Terror: The heroes go through a hellish trek through the forest to find Lone Owl squad only to find their corpses and be ambushed by unicorns shortly after.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The cutesy art style sharply contrasts with the violence and dark elements from the plot.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: For the unicorns, it's a stab in the neck. They can shrug off injuries to just about anywhere else on their bodies.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Bluey and Tubby have a turbulent sibling relationship, but despite this, some moments show that they do love each other. When Bluey asks Tubby if he thinks he could be the Chosen One, his brother assures him that he could be. They hug as they go to sleep together, and Bluey does not push Tubby away as he did before when Tubby tries to comfort him. Bluey stood up for his brother when the unit was skeptical about Tubby joining the mission. A flashback showed Bluey crying on his mother's grave with Tubby hugging him to comfort him, despite previously having a strained relationship with both his mother and brother in his childhood. During a battle where unicorns were massacring the unit, Bluey saved Tubby from a unicorn by pushing him out of the way, saving him from being impaled. Finally, despite Tubby's anger and disgust towards his brother for killing and eating one of their comrades, he grudgingly shares food with Bluey despite abandoning him.
    • Played for Drama. Bluey's complicated and strained relationship with his mother has tragic consequences for both of them. A flashback revealed that Bluey was very close to his father as a child and was devastated to learn that their parents would divorce. During the flashback, it was revealed that Bluey learned that his mother secretly had an affair behind his father's back. Because of that, Bluey greatly resented his mother and refused to spend time with her, and rejected her attempts at getting close to him. It is later revealed that Bluey's mother died when he was a child, and he was devastated, crying on her grave with his brother hugging him to calm down. Later after the battle, where Bluey's entire unit was wiped out except for his brother Tubby and his rival Coco, Bluey snaps and he ends up killing and eating Coco, causing his brother Tubby to leave him. When Bluey and Tubby argue, Tubby reveals that their mother always knew something was wrong with Bluey. Bluey had a flashback when that was revealed and because he was resentful of his mother for having an affair with another man and being close to Tubby, Bluey poisoned his mother. When he gave his mother the poison, Bluey was horrified of himself and regretted giving her the poison when she drank it. It was also revealed that Bluey had jealousy issues of how close his brother was to his mother since birth. It is implied that Bluey causing his mother's death has messed him up even more than he was already, and the guilt is destroying him.
    • Even though Bluey's mother said to Tubby that something was wrong with Bluey and she had a closer relationship with Tubby than she did with Bluey, she still cares about Bluey as she tried to show him as much love as possible and she was heartbroken when Bluey rejected her attempts to get close to him. She was also happy with Bluey when she asked him to get her some lemonade and after she was poisoned by the lemonade that Bluey gave her, she told Tubby to protect Bluey at all costs while lying on her deathbed. Later on in the film, it's revealed that Bluey's mother gave Bluey a toy. Despite her understandable concerns about his behavior, Bluey's mother truly did love Bluey.
  • Ax-Crazy: Bluey is driven insane over the course of the story, until he usurps command of the Bears and charges them into a suicidal all-out war that leaves everyone on both sides dead, with him bashing his own brother's skull in and then eating the last unicorn, before succumbing.
  • Badass Preacher: The bear preacher seen in the trailers later joins the squad. Undertones that he might be a Sinister Minister wind up being misdirection as he is nothing if not kind, brave, and self-sacrificing.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: One interpretation of the ending is that the Monkeys orchestrated the entire plot by 'gifting' the bears their powers and scripture, knowing they would be corrupted by their newfound power and the scripture's warnings to not perform a dangerous ritual would eventually be ignored. If so, then they clearly won, with them walking alongside their god and everyone else dead.
  • Bait the Dog: Bluey and Tubby have an antagonistic relationship at the beginning of the film, with Bluey bullying his younger brother despite the care Tubby shows to him. It looks like their relationship would improve when going to bed. Bluey asked his brother if he could be the Chosen One, and Tubby assured him that he could. Then Tubby woke up Bluey and revealed that one of them had had wet the bed. Bluey told his brother that he could sneak away and get a new bedsheet; it looked like there would be a tender moment between brothers, only for Bluey to wake up the unit and claim that his brother wet the bed, humiliating Tubby.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Heavily implied with the bears. Despite their cute and colorful design, every bear seen in the movie (sans Tubby) is either horribly flawed at best and cruel, manipulative jerkass at worst. This is a stark contrast to the unicorns’ Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Bluey has a tendency to pee in terror, first when he wets his bed at boot camp and later when they find the decimated Lone Owl squad.
  • Cain and Abel: Bluey and Tubby are brothers, but Bluey is a horrible jerk to Tubby. At the end, Bluey is so pissed about the relationship between Tubby and Maria that he kills his brother in cold blood.
  • The Chosen One: The deconstruction of this trope is one of the movie's major themes, showing how it can be used to manipulate others. Bluey's primary motive for his actions is his need to be the best, and to fulfill the prophecy told amongst the teddy bears. The film also goes into the flaws surrounding this mentality, as it is what causes Bluey to become jealous of Coco when he becomes private of the army, and is one of the primary factors to Bluey's madness towards the end of the film, when the military leaders promote him to lieutenant.
  • Civilized Animal: Encountering the Sacred Book helped give bears the knowledge to create tools, clothing, language, and other wonders. As a trade-off, while they began as regular bears in appearance and build, they have become smaller, weaker, and "cuter" since they were kicked out of the forest.
  • Corpse Land: When Ironstroke's squad find what's left of the Lone Owl squad, all they discover is their massacred remains littered all over the forest.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The Church in the forest is Red and Black and Evil All Over, and that's just for starters.
  • The Dandy: One of the cornerstones of bear society is looking as cute as possible with accessories, fluffiness, and even using makeup to cover up wrinkles. Tubby is shamed for being overweight, with even his own father only giving him a single slice of pie (Bluey got the rest) as a going away present.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Heavily implied with the unicorns. While they look like shadowy figures, they brutally kill bears both to protect their own kind and the woods from the bears’ deforestation. Indeed, whenever there’s no threat, they spend their time to just chill out. This is a stark contrast with the bears’ Bright Is Not Good.
  • Dirty Coward: Ironstroke dies trying to run away from the fighting.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The panda bear soldier is named "Pandi".
  • Downer Ending: Both the bears and unicorns are completely wiped out by the war, and Bluey kills both Tubby and Maria in a fit of rage before being swallowed by the blob that forms from Maria's corpse. The last thing seen in the film is the monster taking on a human form before walking through the desolate wasteland, with the monkeys following behind.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: But of course, he later leads the squad on the mission.
  • Dub Name Change: The English version more or less directly translates some of the characters' punny names.
    • Azulín to Bluey
    • Gordi to Tubby
    • Sargento Caricias to Sergent Ironstroke
    • Gemelos Mimosín to the Cuddly-Wuddly Twins
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Blob Monster in the church.
  • Eldritch Location: The Church in the forest, it's made from black brick, the sky over it is blood red, it is guarded by demon monkeys and both the unicorn leader and some kind of Blob Monster live inside it and judging by how some shots from the trailers show the blob and the unicorn leader standing on the same pedestal in the center of the church and in some shots the blob has a unicorns head and limbs sticking out of it the thing could be using A Form You Are Comfortable With.
  • Enchanted Forest: The place where the unicorns live is called the Magical Forest.
  • Enfant Terrible: Bluey poisons his mother via lacing her lemonade, all just because he grew resentful of her when he found out that she was having an affair and was going to divorce his father.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: All of the bears and unicorns are wiped out by the war, with Bluey being consumed by a giant blob monster from Maria's corpse that eventually takes on a humanoid form.
  • Evil Cripple: Bluey near the end of the movie gains horrific facial scars and loses a hand and an eye after attempting to kill a unicorn. He's also insane, having already killed his mother, and ends up leading efforts to kill all the unicorns, destroy the forest, and murder his own brother.
  • Eye Motifs: The Holy Symbol for the Fantastic Catholicism the bears practice is a heart with a single eye notably, the Blob Monster in the church has a single eye too which has interesting implications.
  • Eye Pop: There are several situations where the characters eyes stretch out from their eye sockets. For example: When Snuggles gets bitten by a poisonous lizard, his eyes cartoonishly pop out to emphasize his pain.
  • Facial Horror: Bluey's face after being impaled by a unicorn and falling into the river does not look pretty, almost looking Two-Faced and with a big gaping hole where his right eye used to be. It's partially the reason why he's given a mask to wear.
  • Fantastic Drug: One of the species in the forest is a colorful bug that causes trippy hallucinations when eaten.
  • Foil: The Cuddly-Wuddly Twins to Bluey and Tubby, with their co-dependent affection contrasting Bluey and Tubby’s codependent love-hate relationship.
  • Foreshadowing: The murder-suicide of the Cuddly-Wuddly Twins in the first act parallels what happens between Bluey and Tubby at the end of the film.
  • Freudian Excuse: Bluey's deep psychological issues stem from his mother having an affair and showing preference for Tubby, and his father cautioning him never to be mediocre otherwise he'll be left behind by everyone else.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Maria and the unicorns more generally. All the animals in the forest (except the apes) are friendly towards them and even speak.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: A criticism that the primary religion of the bears frequently has to deal with is that praying to its god doesn't seem to have any measurable effects. In a mural depicting their exile from the forest, the floating, one-eyed hand symbolizing their deity can only watch as the bears are driven out.
    • This is then played for drama; for most of the movie, God doesn't have hands, let alone a physical form. The prophecy is revealed to be a dark ritual to create a physical vessel for God, and when Bluey commits to his ambitions, killing and eating Tubby and Maria to fulfill the prophecy, God ends up devouring Bluey in turn to complete the ritual. Then he utterly abandons what is left of the Bears and Unicorns and leads the Monkeys instead.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The bear military commanders elevate Bluey to hero status purely as a ploy to raise their troops' morale. However, this backfires heavily on them when Bluey uses his newfound popularity to instigate a military coup, executing the commanders and seizing control of the bear army himself.
  • Great Offscreen War: The first war between bears and unicorns (described in short at the beginning from the bears' perspectivewhich later turns out to be riddled with propaganda) which took part many years before the events in the movie and set up the current status quo. The unicorns have won, forcing the surviving bears out of the Magic Forest.
  • Green Thumb: One unicorn is shown standing in a barren, dead part of the forest and slowly making it bloom with moss and fresh shoots of leaves in previously dead trees. It's implied that the war with the unicorns is causing the forest to suffer and die as less of them are around to restore the dead parts.
  • Grew a Spine: Tubby gradually begins to acclimate to living in the forest, learning how to gather food and other necessities on his own, and gaining a willingness to stand up to his Big Brother Bully.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The dead Tubby and the still alive Bluey are turned into one after the latter drinks the blood of a unicorn.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Heavily implied to be this when Bluey and Tubby are devoured by the blob monster that spawns from Maria's corpse and it transforms into a human-like being, with the now ascendant primates following its lead.
  • Immortality Seeker: Some of the bears wish to wipe out the unicorns due to an interpretation of their religious texts (ignoring that it's worded as a curse) that whoever drinks the blood of the last unicorn "shall become a beautiful and eternal being". (Others just want them gone because they want to take control of the forest.)
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: This is the most common way to being killed by a unicorn.
  • It Amused Me: During their ranged practice, Sergeant Ironstroke is clearly amused by Bluey's outrage over being upstaged by Coco. When Ironstroke promotes Coco and gives him a medal, he does this partly because he rightfully points out that Coco is the best of his unit, and partly because he sees this as a way to further spite Bluey.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Padre is against consuming the colorful insects the team finds in the forest because they're not kosher with the religion he promotes. While his objections were entirely theological, and Ironstroke's argument that using these critters for food would take a load off their limited supplies was sound, the bugs wind up having hallucinogenic properties once eaten, which indirectly lead to the deaths of the Cuddly-Wuddly Twins.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: A mask is given to Bluey to conceal his Facial Horror and to make him a propaganda figurehead. It also marks the point where Bluey becomes a lot more ruthless and evil.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Church in the forest is guarded by demonic looking monkeys.
  • Matricide: Bluey felt vengeful of his mother having an affair and planning to leave his father, so he poisoned her, giving her life-long issues which eventually lead to her death. The present shows that he's extremely guilty of his actions.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Coco is the first unfortunate victim of Bluey's burgeoning insanity, who kills him as revenge from an earlier slight and then proceeds to feast on his corpse.
  • Mushroom Samba: The teddy squad finds some rainbow colored centipedes in the forest. Despite the priest's protest, the squad eats them and have vivid hallucinations. Tragically, the Cuddly-Wuddly twins end up killing each other because one confused the other for a monster, then hanged himself once he realized what he'd done.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • In the flashbacks of his childhood, whilst he initially relished in poisoning his mother as an act of revenge, Bluey immediately becomes incredibly remorseful for having committed the deed, and becomes a sobbing wreck once his mother falls ill and eventually dies.
    • Sergeant Ironstoke has this reaction when he realizes his decision to allow his men to eat hallucination-inducing centipedes (despite Padre's protests) has led to the deaths of Cuddly-Wuddly twins. Padre's "Reason You Suck" Speech certainly doesn't make him feel any better.
    • Come to that, this trope also applies to one of said twins, when — after his hallucinations wear off — finds out that he murdered his own brother.
  • The Neidermeyer: Sergeant Ironstroke is a Drill Sergeant Nasty and bully who is extremely reluctant to actually go to deep into the forest for the mission that kicks off the plot. The stresses of the trek and the deaths of the Cuddly-Wuddly Twins turn him into a blubbering, unhelpful apologist, leaving Coco and Padre to take command.
  • Never My Fault: Bluey gets tackled and punched in the gut by Coco and the former swears vengeance on the latter. It never occurs to Bluey that Coco tackled him to prevent him from continuing to savagely maul Snuggles, and he only got punched in the gut because he charged at Coco from behind after initially claiming to have calmed down.
  • Older Than They Look: The bears the movie focuses on are at least old enough to be of conventional drafting age, with Coco already being married with a child on the way.
  • One-Gender Race: All the unicorns seem to be female, having feminine voices and names.
  • Parental Favoritism: Downplayed. When Bluey and Tubby unit stop by a town to see their family and friends before leaving to go to war, their father expresses Pride in both his sons, saying that their mother would be proud of them and give each of his sons a pie that was made from there mother's recipe. Bluey received almost the whole pie, while Tubby just received a slice, and he was shown not to be happy about this. Despite that, Bluey and Tubby's father was praising both of his sons; aside from that moment doesn't seem to favor either of his sons and shows love for both of his sons. It's possible he gave Tubby the shorter piece because he was concerned with his weight problems, as others pointed out that Tubby is overweight.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Sonrisas, who keeps his wide grin all the way until his death.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Bluey's decisive plan to wipe out the unicorns involves destroying the very forest that the bears have been fighting for generations to take back.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Every single person Padre sacrificed his life to protect winds up dying in the second half of the movie.
    • The growing friendship between Tubby and Maria, which could possibly end hostilities between bears and unicorns is ultimately for naught since both races wipe each other in battle. Afterwards, Bluey kills them both in a fit of rage and gets killed minutes later.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: This movie features adorable looking multicolored bears in a violent anti-war tale.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: A bloody war between teddy bears and unicorns.
  • Taking You with Me: Seeing no other way out of the situation, Padre uses a grenade on himself to take out three aggressive unicorns to protect what's left of his flock.
  • Talking Animal: It's unclear if the unicorns understand the forest animals, or if they only speak to them.
  • Token Good Teammate: Played with. While the rest of the crew aren't really jerks — with Bluey and General Ironstroke being the most unambiguously antagonistic — Tubby is easily the most kindhearted out of them all, as has been nothing but kind to his teammates and he is the first and only one to make peace with the unicorns.
  • Tone Shift: The movie starts off as a Black Comedy/parody of sorts, to being straight-up dark and more serious in the latter half.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Despite becoming obsessed with the Sacred Book, Bluey chooses to ignore the blatant warning in it that drinking the blood of a unicorn is a really bad idea.
  • Total Party Kill: Most of the squad is wiped out by a quartet of grown unicorns save for Bluey, Tubby, and Coco. The first goes crazy, kills the third, and falls off a cliff, while the second goes AWOL.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: The teddy bears like blueberries, one of them asks for some after being given gruel at the bootcamp cafeteria and one of the drill sergeants rants mentions the recruits coughing them up when the unicorns shove their horns up the recruits' butts.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Enraged over learning that she was having an affair, Bluey rashly poisoned his mother, causing her longterm health problems that eventually claimed her life.
  • Unicorn: They prominently feature in the film as the opposing force to the bears, envious of their progressing civilization. Their mysterious yet dangerous nature is given special emphasis.
  • Unicorns Are Sacred: Double-subverted. In this movie, the unicorns are referred as demonic and evil. This is a blatant lie, but the unicorns are spiritual guardians of the forest, and aggressive ones at that, rather than servants of a holy power. Making this more tragic is that their demise was orchestrated by a holy power.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The story about the first war between bears and unicorns is told at the beginning of the movie from perspective of the former. According to them, the unicorns are evil and demonic beings who attacked them and exiled them from Magic Forest because they were "jealous" of their newfound intelligence and ability to create tools and build civilization. Later it turns out it is all a lie and the real reason the unicorns waged war against the bears and exiled them is because they brought devastation to the forest while building said civilization.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bluey's father and mother as well, while both well-intentioned, are somewhat responsible for him being a maladjusted.
    • His father told him that he should always strive to be number one so that people will respect him always. Bluey however, developed an Inferiority Superiority Complex because of that and can't stand the very idea of being second place.
    • Bluey would probably be a kinder, saner person if his mother never went through with the affair.
  • Uplifted Animal: The lore of the movie involves bears finding a "Sacred Book" in an abandoned church through which they "gained knowledge, progress, morals and laws". Their attempts to create a civilization in the forest through mining it for resources (lumber, farmland, etc.) drew the ire of the unicorns who drove them out.
  • War Is Hell: The film pulls no punches in showing that the war between the bears and unicorns is ugly, violent, and rewards only evil men before betraying them as well.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: (Or non-Bear) The multi-colored bugs in the Magical Forest have expressive, anthropomorphic faces, and react with terror to being picked up and handled by the troop. This goes completely unnoticed by the Bears, who proceed to eat them later.