I loved He-Man as a kid and I still do. That said, I somehow missed this thing. Maybe I had better things to do on Christmas like play Atari or go outside. Regardless, this thing is 100% real and is currently sitting on my DVD rack. The popularity of this thing has increased on the video market and the producers actually packed a ton of crap onto this. Aside from a special packaging and audio commentary, they also produced two collectible cards to go with. Unlike The Star Wars Holiday Special, the people behind it are actually proud of it! Should they be? Let's find out in my special review of...
Our story begins with the gang from both He-Man & The Masters of the Universe and She-Ra getting together for the holidays. Not our holiday, mind you, since this is another planet. The fact that this is another planet rarely came up in the show, but it does here. It is at this time that you get to meet all the bizarre and random characters from both show. This scene also makes the demographic differences between the two shows all the more clear. She-Ra's cast is full of rainbow-bright characters (most of them literally so), while He-Man's is full of big, burly men. The fact that one of the few guys on She-Ra's show plays the lute should say it all! The Queen talks about celebrating Christmas on Earth, which is another plot point that rarely pops up. At the same time, Man-at-Arms and Prince Adam are working on a device to launch a spy satellite. What is this, Blackwater? To cut a long story short, Orko accidentally sets off the rocket. and is launched into space. Hurray- he's gone!
At this point, I have to address one of the oddest plot points of all time. Man-at-Arms explains that he has a device that can teleport Orko back, but it is powered by a crystal that does not exist on Eternia! A couple things: how did you make it around such an object? Why would you make it based on that object? Plus, how do you know about this object- let alone if it powers your device- if it does not exist on your planet? Once I de-Scanner-ed my head, I learned that this twas just a flimsy pretense to have some of the special take place on She-Ra's world. She flies around, battles a sea monster & comes back. Meanwhile, the limb-less wizard ends up another planet: Earth! He saves some children from a snowfall and they immediately befriend him. It truly is a mark of the 1980s that children can just embrace creepy, floating guys who appear out of nowhere. After telling Orko about Christmas, they get teleported back to Eternia. Um, guys, you just kidnapped those kids...
The remainder of our plot involves Horde Prime, who is apparently a major She-Ra villain. That would explain why I have never heard of him until this movie. He sends both Skeletor and Hordak (basically, her Skeletor) to capture the children because it fears the spirit of Christmas. I am not making that plot point up, by the way. The whole thing gets a bit silly as the children- with Orko in tow- go from being captured, to being saved & back to being captured by different forces. Hordak nearly has them at one point, while Skeletor does at another. Along the way, He-Man and company battle some stock robot villains that feel lifted right out of another '80s cartoon- you know the one. We are also introduced to some silly robot creatures called Manchines, which are obvious attempts at toys. The part most people remember about this special is the bit where Skeletor leads the kids on a march through the snow towards Horde Prime. He somehow gets turned nice by their cuteness and that of a Manchine puppy and saves them. Completely out-of-character moment that never resurfaces- this truly is a Christmas special.
*Yeah, this one is really weird. The whole story is just, well, odd. They take the idea of spreading Christmas to new cultures (see The Nightmare Before Christmas), the idea of children in peril and spaceships & cram them into one story. The thing has so many characters that just appear and don't get to do anything. Between the two shows, you have at least two dozen characters, but the producers decided to introduce a ton more! If you wanted to see the show's casts interact in any major way, forget it. What we get is an odd morality play, some typical Saturday morning fare and fun bits of rotoscope animation. He-Man and She-Ra do get a good amount of screen time, so it does not disappoint. Of course, the movie also features some horrendous songs that make Frosty the Snowman look like Rambo! This odd piece of nostalgia is worth a look if you are both brave and curious, just set your expectations at the proper level.
Incidentally, if you want to see clips from this, check out the Nostalgia Critic's review of it. He beat me to it, sadly.
*Next up, I return to Christmas horror with a film that flips the idea around. Of course, it is directed by Edmund Purdom, so I don't know what to think. Stay tuned...