Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985)

The universe is growing dark and on Earth it is eternal winter all because a selfish princess is trying to keep the diamond like planet Spectra to herself. Rainbow Brite, a girl in charge of changing the seasons and keeping the universe colorful, steps up to stop the princess. All of her friends help, including a brash, overconfident new acquaintance called Krys. If Rainbow does not free Spectra (and if she and Krys don’t stop arguing) everything will turn gray and die”

– Max Vaugnh, IMDB

Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer is brought to us by DIC Entertainment and Hallmark Cards and is based off the 1984 animated TV series. The film was the second feature film produced by DIC and was produced in three months. The film’s music was produced by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, also composed music for shows such as Inspector Gadget, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and She-Ra: Princess of Power.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below…)
I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a Rainbow Brite fan, but I don’t mean that in a negative way though! The series is one of those that I was always vaguely aware of thanks to cultural osmosis, but I personally never got into the show. I went into this film pretty blind on the recommendation of a friend who loved Rainbow Brite as a kid, and after having watched the film I agree that it’s actually pretty charming!

The fun thing about this film is that the main character isn’t a Princess, although Rainbow Brite as leader of her magic world definitely does come off as Princess-adjacent. Instead it’s the villain who’s the Princess, and she is utterly delightful. The type of villain who’s just so smug and haughty that a part of you secretly root for them. The unnamed Princess wants to steal Spectra, a diamond planet that is crucial to the existence of the universe. All of the universes light must pass through Spectra, and should anything happen to the diamond-planet the Universe would grow dimmer and dimmer and eventually die. You’d think that would stop the Princess but no, she loves gems and decides that universe be damned, she wants that diamond for herself!

My favourite thing about the Princess is that she has an enormous gemstone that she treats as like a pet. It’s a completely inanimate emerald, but she pampers it throughout the movie, going so far as to walk it on a leash like you would a dog… which makes her betrayal of it actually kinda shocking! The Princess’ ends up throwing her pet diamond into her spaceship’s furnace to power it, and I honestly felt bad for the lifeless lump of carbon.

The main grievance I have with this film are the characters of Murky and Lurky, who are Rainbow Brite’s usual antagonists who end up following her into space in the hopes that they can steal Spectra for themselves. Lurky in particular is just insufferable, he’s everything I hate in a villainous character. He is the cliche bumbling lackey who never actually provides the villain any real assistance. He constantly messes things up for Murky to the point that I wonder why Murky keeps him on the payroll. Maybe there’s just a complete lack of any other options for henchmen in Rainbow Brite’s world.

The film cuts to Murky and Lurky on occasion to catch the audience up with their shenanigans, and that quickly became my cue to get up, go to the bathroom, or go get a drink. It’s harsh, but I just couldn’t stand these two. I just wanted to see more of Rainbow Brite and her actually pretty interesting fight to save Spectra! The fact that Murky and Lurky’s shenanigans never really impact Rainbow Brite’s adventure makes it even worse in my opinion, if you’re not going to incorporate them into the plot then why give them the screen time? I would’ve preferred it if they were written out of the film like Twink was (Twink being Rainbow Brite’s sprite friend who ended up staying behind while Rainbow Brite and Starlite went off to save Spectra).

That said, I would definitely recommend checking this one out. Sure Murky and Lurky got on my nerves, but the rest of the story is pretty well done. There’s a bit of a rivalry between Rainbow Brite and her Spectra counterpart, a young boy named Krys, and while it’s a bit cliche at this point to have a girl vs. boy conflict you have to appreciate where the film was coming from (And he, it’s not like we’ve completely conquered gender stereotypes in this day and age).

So take a look at this one if you can track it down, it’s another good palette cleanser film in-between the really horrendous Princess Movie offerings.

References

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