Ah the 80's; a magical period when wallets were big, hair was bigger, and Muppets were actually cool. A time when Cabbage Patch Kids were the hottest toy, 8-bit video game systems were all the rage, and little girls longed to own the entire cute and huggable Care Bare collection. Feeling nostalgic yet? If you are, then you probably remember a little cartoon character known as Rainbow Brite; the perky, confident, colorful little sprite who used the power of the rainbow to save the day from the gloomy evils threatening the happiness of Rainbow Land residents and mortals alike. Along with the help of her fuzzy sidekick, Twink, and her trusty (albeit cocky) steed, Starlite, she cast away the stresses of the world and stormed into our hearts. Well, at least the hearts of us young enough to watch her show.
Having been a faithful watcher of Rainbow Brite as a child, I had very low expectations for the feature length movie titled,
Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer. I believed the movie would be padded with overzealous heroes entirely caught up in their own obnoxious cuteness. After all, rainbows aren't exactly the fashion statement they once were. (Yet ironically moon boots are?) But after watching this DVD I found myself completely thrown for a loop. For not only did the plot take a different and bizarre direction, but the movie kept the "rainbow cuteness" to a minimum, and actually focused more on action, than fluff. Color me shocked.
The most striking thing about this movie was how different it was from the regular series. The movie starts off in the disgustingly cheerful Rainbow Land, and after the over-the-top musical number signifying Rainbow Brite entrance, you start to think this could be a very long headache. But the mood is changed with the arrival of a cool looking (and sounding) robotic horse named Onyx. Soon Rainbow Brite and Starlight find themselves heading out into outer space to uncover the brightest diamond in the universe (it's a planet) in order to end winter on Earth (thankfully without the aid of the rest of the Rainbow Gang).
In addition to the offbeat outer space plot, the villains and landscapes are more menacing, which include giant brainwashing
robots and gothic industrial-like castles. It's most definitely a different Rainbow Brite than I remember, and in my opinion, it works. With cooler characters (including an almost hysterically insane super villain), more interesting locations, and a positive message,
Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer is a surprising gem in what could have been a horrid extract from a decade long since past. Even children who have never heard of Rainbow Brite will love the funny characters and suspenseful action. If you're looking for an obscure present for the young one that has it all, you might want to check this out.
Presented in 4:3 full screen, this DVD looks like something from the 80's. The print is littered with spots, scratches, and streaks that quickly flash on the screen, although it isn't overly bothersome. Edge enhancement is visible, and the colors seem to bleed together when the picture becomes soft. But given that the source material was probably in rough shape to begin with, it looks decent. It doesn't look as clean and pristine as newer cartoon DVD's, but children will enjoy it nonetheless.
Naturally this feature comes with your standard Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track. Dialogue is easy to understand despite the frequent lip-synching mishaps. Sound effects come across as uneventful and deflated. Although I doubt it sounded much different in 1985. Audio separation is infrequent; so don't expect anything special in the sound department. This is an 80's cartoon, and it sounds as such.
Brand New Day Sing-Along Music Video: This is a replay of the opening credits song, complete with words so people can sing-along.
Find The Missing Color Belt Challenge: Here you'll find some games that involve matching up colors and memorization.
More suspenseful, more daring, and more action packed then the television series from which it's based,
Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer is a pleasant surprise among some of the more recently revived children shows of the 1980's. Children will love the offbeat humor and exotic settings, and will probably appreciate the fact that they've never heard of this strange little girl who dresses like Mork from Ork
(although they won't know who Mork is either). So if you're looking for something new that's really something old, this one might be the jackpot at the end of the rainbow.