Topia is a 1981 American animated dark fantasy adventure film written and directed by Victor Yearts. The film tells a story of a boy who, after escaping from a horrific prison, discovers a girl with mystical powers who travel together through beautiful environments whilst being stalked by a hunter. The film was produced by Wide Slope Animation, its sixth animated feature film.
Released by 20th Century Fox on June 12, 1981, the film received critical acclaim from critics who praised its animation, musical score, and emotional weight of the story and was a modest box office success.
In the forested of an unnamed land, a rabbit becomes the victim of a hunter and his fox. This rabbit then becomes a bowl of rabbit stew. Meanwhile, we are now focused on a boy who has escaped from his prison once again and as a result, there are two guards after him. As with the other attempts, the guards manage to pick up with him and catch him. He is thrown back in his prison and is threatened by the headman, the gaoler, death if he ever escapes again.
The next day, the boy is shown doing his usual job, mining for precious jewels which according to the gaoler, have been doing this for generations. Another prisoner claims to have found these jewels in question, but turns out these "jewels" are in fact coal and as a result, is thrown off a nearby waterfall.
Then we are brought back to the hunter, who has failed in catching a bird-like creature for his next meal, then we are introduced to a new character, a girl, wondering the forests, she appears to be lost in the vast ocean of trees. she stumbles across the cabin of the hunter, she enters his cabin and encounters the hunter but out of nowhere, he becomes aggressive to her, they seem to have had an encounter before. He chases her around the forest but the girl manages to lose the hunter.
The next day, we are back to the boy, who is mining as usual but during mining, he spots two figures by a far distance in the forest, the hunter, carrying the girl in his arms, who is trying to get free of his grip. The gaoler notices the boy gazing into the forest and scolds him, thinking he's planning another attempt to escape.
Later that day while in his cell, the boy overhears two guards, mentioning something about a guest coming over to visit the gaoler, which perhaps is an attempt by the gaoler to find love. One of the guards foolishly drops their keys to the cell doors and doesn't notice, and the boy takes this chance to escape once again. He gets hold of the keys and once again, escapes.
We are introduced to guest mentioned, she isn't given the best impression after she is greeted by bulky guards instead of the man she was expecting. We are then brought back to the hunter's cabin, where the girl is being held, she is shown to be hung on the wall by rope, all of a sudden, her eyes blow wide open, glowing in a bright white, she proceeds to make a spine chilling moan and her limbs even proceed to elongate.
But before anything else can happen, we are brought back to the boy, who is exploring the prison looking for an exit. He finds a room that happens to be a kitchen, where a chef is shown cooking what looks like a bolognese. Instead of apprehending him, the chef friendly greets him and even offers the chance for the boy to help him cook. During the conversation, a guard injures themselves and the chef heads off to tend to the guard, leaving the boy to the food, after looking through some cupboards, The boy gets the devilish idea of putting chillies in the sauce to sabotage the date. He proceeds with this, and the food is served to the gaoler and guest.
The guest instantly complains about the spiciness, with the gaoler proceeding to make an embarrassed claim he will fire the chef who made it. Quickly and surely, the guest's condition becomes worse and worse, as the guest's face becomes more and more red until it's nothing more then red. The boy is watching this all unfold, the gaoler notices the boy but before anything can escalate, the gaoler faces the guest, who all of a sudden, proceeds to explode into black ash. The boy takes the chance to escape. The gaoler, now completely covered in black ash, requests his guards to hunt down the boy, to which the guard nonchalantly accept.
The boy begins to explore the forest and like the girl, also encounters the cabin, he enters the cabin and encounters the girl, still in the same state as she was last seen, with the hunter and his fox cowering in the corner. Suddenly, the girls goes back to normal and there is silence in the room.
The hunter notices the boy and immediately tries to chase him out, leading into the forest. The hunter does manage to catch him and even almost kills him, but before the boy can succumb to the hunter, the girl steps in and uses her powers to temporarily paralyze the hunter, the boy, thinking the girl is a threat, runs off. The girl runs after him, and manages to find him, the boy is still terrified by the girl but the girl manages to calm him down.
Meanwhile, the gaoler and his guards venture the forests to look for the boy, they run into the hunter, who proceeds to slaughter them.
The boy and girl walk into a cave which leads them to another forest, albeit darker and gloomier then the other forest. They notice how the trees look like they have human faces that leak red sap that makes it look like they're crying, the remaining guards run after them but as always they fail.
Now with the prison behind him, the boy and girl take a quick stop at a cave to get some sleep. The next morning, the boy wakes up and is greeted to the sight of a woman aiming an arrow at him, this turns out to just be a morbid joke by this woman, who turns out to be an archer.
She takes the boy and girl to her own cabin, the archer also mentions an infestation of some undefined creature, only saying she knows they live in a nearby cave. Later that day, the boy goes into this cave but take a wrong turn and is quite frankly almost eaten by a man-eating cave. The boy takes the other way, and runs into a group of small anthropomorphic beans, who go into a song and dance about how they're useless and should be killed.
The next morning, the boy and girl decide to continue their journey, with the archer wishing them a goodbye. While exploring the vast forests, the boy and girl once again run into the hunter with a sawn off shotgun, acquired after killing the gaoler. The boy and girl try to escape, but during the chase, the hunter manages to fire a shot into the girl, the girl does manage to escape with the boy, but progressively she wastes away.
As the hunter thrashes around in anger from failing to catch the boy and girl, he runs into a bug's nest and bee-like creatures exit the nest to attack the hunter, and the hunter begins to undergo a transformation into a more dangerous and powerful being, his pet fox runs away, scared by this new form.
We come back to the boy and girl, with the girl's condition getting worse and worse, she eventually collapses and perishes. Later, the grieving boy, enters a cave covered with large stone head busts, with one resembling the girl. The boy exits the cave and is greeted by the now mutated hunter, with no real chance of escaping, the boy accepts his fate. Suddenly, the hunter's arms begin to crumble away, which then spread to the rest of him, until there's nothing but a shotgun and a pile of dust.
The shocked boy is greeted by an old man, who explains it was him who ended the hunter's life, he then reveals himself to be a god, who is partially responsible for running the universe, he explains he already knew of the girl's death, but offers the boy to take her place. While reluctant, the boy accepts the offer, and the two hold hands and fade away, with the boy becoming an element of the universe.
- Peter Cullen as the Gaoler
- Paul Winchell as the Old Man
- Sherry Lynn as the Guest
- Victor Yearts as the guards
- Don Messick, Peter Renaday and Neil Ross as prisoners
- Frank Welker as the Fox and Animal Vocal Effects
Although in competition with the blockbusters Clash of the Titans and Raiders of the Lost Ark, it performed better in those theatres alone in its opening week than Friday the 13th Part 2, Dragonslayer and The Fox and the Hound. The film ultimately made a profit, grossing $47.9 million in the United States.
Despite having a limited release, Topia received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. It has a 95% "Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 7.11/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 93 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Main article: Topia/Transcript