Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a DVD I own and blog about it.  Simple as that.  I know it's summer, but I wrote this down on January 7, 2018, because that's when I finally got my DVD copy of He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special.  Let's dive in!

And this was the other Christmas special that I spied in that Discount Bin and had to pick-up.  How this one escaped me when I was a kid is baffling.  It's He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special  Because who better to teach us about the true meaning of Christmas but the most powerful man in the universe and the princess of power?

Granted, a lot of Christmas specials can come across as cynical and cash-grabby, and I'm sure that's what you'd expect out of a cartoon designed to sell toys.  But this one has so much campy charm that it's become fondly remembered, especially once the 1980s nostalgia hit. 

I was nuts for He-Man when I was a kid, so how this one escaped me, I do not know.  Maybe it's because it came near the end of He-Man's run, and me, like most kids of the 1980s, had already moved on.  Or maybe the Edmonton TV stations just chose not to buy in to it.  All in all, it's crazy, and not quite what you'd expect from a Christmas special. 

It's the holidays on Eternia.  But not Christmas holidays.  It's an alien world, of course they don't have Christmas on an alien world.  Well, except for Queen Marlena of Eternia, who says that this celebration reminds her of Christmas back home on Earth.  For those who don't know Queen Marlena's secret origin, she is Lt. Marlena Glenn of the United States Air Force, who went on to become an astronaut.  On a deep space mission, she got sucked into a wormhole and crash-landed on Eternia, where she was rescued by King (but back then, just Prince) Randor.  With rescue from Eternia seeming nigh-impossible, she started building a life for herself, settled down with the royal family that nursed her back to health, and became queen. 

Anyway, the holiday that's being celebrated is Adam and Adora's birthday.  Except Adam's nowhere to be found, as he's helping Man-At-Arms prepare a new spy satellite that'll help them keep tabs on Skeletor.  However, Orko climbs inside the satellite to play, and accidentally launches it, because Orko is a dumbass.  Adam becomes He-Man, Adora becomes She-Ra, and they go off to rescue Orko.

But they're too late, because Orko falls into a wormhole and crash lands on Earth.  Here, Orko meets two kids, Miguel and Alisha, who got lost in the woods looking for a Christmas tree.  Orko rescues them, they seek shelter in the crashed satellite, and to pass the time, Miguel and Alisha started explaining Christmas to Orko. 

In a way it's hilarious, because they actually do attempt to tell the story of the birth of Christ.  It goes like this. 

Miguel:  Well, it all started a long time ago in a town called Bethlehem....

CUT TO, He-Man, She-Ra, and Man-at-Arms planning their rescue mission. 

CUT BACK TO:  Orko, Miguel, and Alisha in the downed satellite

Miguel:  And then the three wise men showed up bearing gifts.  The end. 

Hey, you tried.

Anyway, after an exciting action scene with She-Ra to get the parts Man-At-Arms needs to finished his long-range transporter, Orko is beamed back to Eternia...with Miguel and Alisha in tow.  This whole experience has deeply traumatized Miguel and Alisha.  Not because they've been transported halfway across the galaxy to planet where dragons and magic and Stinkor are real...but because they're gonna miss Christmas!  Getting them home is easy -- Man-At-Arms can use that transporter, after all -- but it'll take a couple of days to recharge.  So, Queen Marlena quite logically and motherly goes, "Well, let's have Christmas right here!" and suddenly Adam and Adora's birthday party becomes a Christmas celebration! 

Oh, but we're only halfway done.  What are our villains up to?  Horde Prime is concerned.  Again, for those who don't know their He-Man and She-Ra lore, Horde Prime is the most evil being in the universe.  He's the Emperor Palpatine to Skeletor and Hordak's Darths Maul and Vader.  Anyway, Horde Prime has felt a great disturbance in the Dark Side, and has summoned Skeletor and Hordak.  There is a new power in this section of the galaxy, and it could undo Horde Prime.  So Skeletor and Hordak are given a mission:  they must bring Miguel and Alisha to Horde Prime so Horde Prime can learn the secrets of this new power...this "Christmas spirit." 

Now this is where it gets good.  Skeletor manages to kidnap Miguel and Alisha, but a jealous Hordak shoots down their transport.  Trapped in Eternia's arctic, Skeletor makes Miguel and Alisha mount a death march through the snow to get to Horde Prime.  Along the way, they start telling Skeletor all about Christmas.  And Skeletor starts warming up to these kids and starts to feel the Christmas spirit, giving the kids warm winter clothes and saving their puppy from freezing to death.  Man, they even manage to animated Skeletor's toothy face into an awkward grin, which is just hilarious to watch. 

Oh, I forgot the puppy.  Along the way, He-Man and She-Ra have to rescue Miguel and Alisha from the Monstroids...robotic warriors that can actually change into vehicles.  As She-Ra's steed Swift Wind exclaims, "Robots that TRANSFORM?  What evil creatures!"  Gee, Mattel, showing no chill whatsoever towards your distinguished competition over at Hasbro.  Anyway, Miguel and Alisha are rescued with the help of cute little cyborgs called the Manchines, and a Manchine puppy then accompanies Miguel and Alisha for the rest of their journey. 

Anyway, it all climaxes in a gigantic three-way battle between He-Man and She-Ra, Skeletor, and Hordak, as Horde Prime descends to collect the children.  Overwhelmed with the Christmas spirit, Skeletor switches sides and  helps He-Man and She-Ra save the kids from Hordak and Horde Prime.  The lucky kids get to have two Christmases -- one on Eternia, and one back home on Earth, because Man-At-Arms still gets them home in time. 

Aw, man, as I said.  He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special is good clean campy fun, and nowhere near as cynical and cash-grabby as it could have been. 

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