A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated movie, originally released in 1985, was the only feature-length film in the Rainbow Brite product line. The brand sold greeting cards, books, toys, and clothing and made a TV series designed to appeal to little girls. Rainbow Brite herself is a cute, heroic protagonist with a beautiful white horse who lives in Rainbow Land and is charged with "saving the colors" of the universe. Although this may sound pastoral and gentle, the movie is far from that. It's an adventure with nonstop cartoon action, loud sound effects (the shooting is unrelenting), and a confusing array of villains: drooling and toothy ogres, a cackling wicked princess, sea serpents, menacing robots, and more. The heroes are either captured or are in grave danger many times, and the stakes are high: If Rainbow Brite and her friends are not successful in their quest, all life in the universe will be extinguished.
What's the story?
In RAINBOW BRITE AND THE STAR STEALER, the universe is in danger of being stuck in an eternal winter -- dark, stormy, and colorless. Ultimately, without light, all life will be destroyed. It's simply because a selfish, vain princess wants to own Spectra, the planet-sized diamond through which all light must pass. Rainbow Brite and her trusty rainbow-steed Starlite are the universe's only hopes to thwart the Dark Princess' evil plan. The colorful heroes set out from their wonderful, peaceful world of Rainbowland and are met by an assortment of villains and perilous events that threaten them. It's not only the princess and her horde of soldiers, robots, and ogres who are after them but also Rainbow Brite's perennially jealous antagonist Murky (with his dimwitted henchman Lurky) as well. But scores have a way of being settled; Rainbow Brite finds her own allies (including a wise sprite and her own magic powers) to even the odds.
Is it any good?
This is a dizzying array of ugly baddies, with little humor, little warmth, and, despite a female protagonist, little to recommend it. It appears that this brand was created in 1985 by Hallmark in an effort to fill a need for merchandise and programming that might gain traction in a predominantly boy-oriented "action" marketplace. This cartoon adventure, however, is a disaster. Other than a perky, brave heroine and some appealing sidekick characters, this is an overlong (even at 85 minutes), super-loud barrage of action sequences that place the heroes in constant danger. Starlite (the horse) alone is captured, goes over a waterfall, gets trapped in an elevator, is hurled from a cliff, is lassoed, and is shot at, chased, and pummeled by rocks. Every other likable being is subject to similar treatment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the partnership of kids' movies and the makers of kids' products. Does a movie have to be good to help sales? What can parents do to help kids be thoughtful consumers at an early age?
Talk about or make a list of all the bad guys in this movie. Was it confusing to do so? Could you keep track of everyone? Or did you like watching many different villains?
Krys was surprised by Rainbow Brite's talent for heroism. What did he expect "a girl" could do? How did she change his mind?
- In theaters: November 15, 1985
- On DVD or streaming: November 2, 2004
- Cast: Bettina Bush, Patrick Fraley, Peter Cullen
- Directors: Bernard Deynes, Kimio Yabuki
- Studio: Hallmark Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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