I ho, ho, haaave the powerrr!
Publisher: AV Channel
Wed, 28 December 2005
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I don't know whether it is a good thing, a bad thing, or whatever, but, as far as "western civilization" goes, my generation (I'm not referring to the classic song by The Who), often labelled "Generation X" (some advertising/marketing wanker probably came up with that one), was the first one to really become obsessed with "popular culture".
Sure, people before us grew up watching quite a bit of TV, going to see movies and that kind of thing. But our predecessors were never saturated with these things to the extent that we were/are. MTV (and similar), home computers, video game consoles, videos (followed by DVDs), celebrity-packed magazines, the internet and some form of advertising seemingly everywhere you turn. All this kind of stuff has featured prominently throughout our lives.
Those who are teens or younger now (are they called "Gen Y"? If there are any marketing people reading this- please pass on the correct label for them) will probably be even more that way. You see these 10 year olds walking around with mobile phones and wearing all the same clothes as their favourite "stars".
Anyway, we "X-ers", in general, love reliving the things that entertained us growing up. Partially due to our strong bond with pop culture, there exists a huge market for "nostalgia based" products. Even when they were initially intended for children, old TV shows, movies, action figures and more tend to sell extremely well to adults, so that's often who they are most strongly marketed towards.
Sometimes when you re-visit things you were into as a kid, you are pleased to discover how well they've aged and find that they stood the test of time. Other times they disappoint you by being nowhere near as good as you recalled them. Or, perhaps they just don't amuse you now that you're older and they should just be left to children, as was probably the original plan.
This DVD- He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special, features characters that I loved as little tacker. So, let's see if they still work for me, now that I'm all mature and grown up (hey, stop laughing!).
I noticed a while back there was an updated version of the He-Man cartoon, I'm not sure if that's still going or not. Anyway, it is this 80's version that I watched as a wee lad. The basic purpose of the show was a thinly veiled commercial for the He-Man, or "Master's of the Universe" action figures. The Transformers cartoon did the same basic thing. It worked too; apart from the Star Wars figures, the He-Man and Transformers toys were definitely my favourites, and the ones I had the most of. I actually still have a few of them.
|Collect them all! |
The Masters of the Universe show would basically just introduce a new baddy for He-Man to conquer each episode. Then the kids watching would want to go out and buy that figure, so that they could re-enact the action for themselves.
They came up with some really inventive and cool looking villains too. The thing that always bugged me a little about them though, was that, despite looking really mean and nasty, the villains were always bumbling idiots. He-Man rarely seemed to be in too much danger. Even as a child I could see that they were a highly ineffectual mob. As the old saying goes: "Luke Skywalker wouldn't have been such a great hero if Darth Vader wasn't such a great villain", or something along those lines.
The "Christmas Special" sees He-Man team up with his sister She-Ra. The She-Ra character had a whole separate cartoon series of her own. I assume that came about because they wanted to make even more money by selling toys to girls as well as boys.
What happens here, is that the annoying little bastard of a wizard called Orco (mind you, I liked him when I was little and thought he was cute), through a series of wacky events, winds up on planet Earth around Christmas time. He saves a little boy and girl from an avalanche and they tell him what Earth's celebration of Christmas is all about. Then...ah, screw it. The story is ridiculous for anyone over the age of about 11, so I can't be bothered explaining the rest.
Here are some random observations I made whilst watching:
*I find She-Ra disturbingly sexy for a children's cartoon character. But that might just be me.
* There's this little robot thing called "Zipper" and he talks like Bill Cosby.
* The two kids stay remarkably calm throughout, despite the bizarre circumstances they find themselves in.
*He-Man's "secret identity", Prince Adam, is an even worse disguise than Superman's Clark Kent. He doesn't even wear glasses or anything; both He-Man and Adam have the exact same face. Maybe he throws people off from figuring it out by dressing in that outrageously camp ensemble of mauve tights (with some lovely furry undies on the outside) and a pink vest.
|You damn well better be tough, if you're going to get around in that outfit |
* She-Ra battles a creature called "The Beast Monster". That has to be the laziest name I have ever heard.
* I kept waiting for the "token black guy" to show up, but he never did. In fact, aside from the goofy sidekicks, everyone has a perfect body and is white (mostly with blonde hair and blue eyes). Was this planet populated by steroid loving Nazis or something?
* In this episode at least, Skeletor is the most pathetic pussy of an arch villain ever.
* He-Man's jokes are almost as crappy as Jay Leno's.
*She-Ra's theme song is hilariously awful, but it also got stuck in my head for ages, which made it far less funny before too long.
Okay, that'll do. This Christmas Special (and the Masters of the Universe cartoon in general) does not hold up for viewing by adults. But that's okay, as I strongly doubt it was ever supposed to. There's some brief kitsch appeal, a touch of unintentional humour and a short lived feeling of nostalgic charm, but this is a children's show, plain and simple.
To be honest, I had a tough time sitting through the whole thing. However, if you have kids, they'll probably love it. So perhaps you could watch it with them and reminisce about more innocent times, or some such bullshit. There are some decent messages about peace and love in here though, and possitive morals like that won't do children any harm.
I'll have a couple more reviews of "retro 'toons" soon, when I take a look at some episodes of the original black & white Astro Boy and a DVD of Kimba the White Lion, once again courtesy of our fine friends at The AV Channel. Those two characters are also both old favourites of mine, so we shall see if I still enjoy watching them now.
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That score is for kids. For adults I'd give it about 4.5