Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985) poster

Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985)


USA. 1985.


Director – Bernard DeVries & Kimio Yabuki, Screenplay – Howard R. Cohen, Story – Howard R. Cohen & Jean Chalopin, Producer – Jean Chalopin, Andy Heyward & Tetsuo Katayama, Music – Shuki Levy & Haim Saban, Songs – Howard R. Cohen, Art Direction – Rick Rudish. Production Company – Hallmark Properties/DIC Enterprises.


Bettina (Rainbow Brite), David Mendenhall (Krys), Andre Strojka (Starlite/Wizard/Spectran), Rhonda Aldrich (The Princess/The Creature), Patrick Fraley (Lurky/On-X/Buddy Blue/Dog/Guard/Spectran/Slurthie/Glitterbot), Peter Cullen (Murky/Castle Monster/Glitterbot/Guard/Skydancer/Slurthie), Les Tremayne (Orin/Bombo/TV Announcer), Scott Menville (Brian), Marissa Mendenhall (Stormy)


On the planet Spectra, through which all light to the Earth is filtered, the ruling Princess wants to possess the giant diamond that the planet is formed out of despite the warnings of the grave danger this will present to the rest of the universe. The robot horse On-X goes to Earth to gain the help of Rainbow Brite, the guardian of spring, in stopping The Princess before the Earth is plunged into darkness.

This moppet programmer was based on a series of kiddie gift cards. Such is indicative of the cynically exploitative attitude toward children’s entertainment that is conducted these days – film is no longer regarded as an end in itself but rather part of an extended commercial campaign to sell cross-media merchandising product. The cards were begun by Hallmark in 1983, in an attempt to the success of The Care Bears. Mattel released a series of Rainbow Brite toys and then there were four animated tv specials that brought the characters to life, culminating in the release of this feature film.

The film itself is very dull, although has odd moments of interestingly preposterous imagery. Its mythology is peculiarly interesting. The characters of Rainbow Brite and Stormy on their horses seem like a variation on the old mythological animistic spirits – but redone for the tv-raised generation – magical power is, for instance, denoted by rainbow-coloured leg-warmers.

There are times when the film in its odd blend of fantasy and science-fiction almost reaches the grand free-wheeling spirit of the Flash Gordon serials – one can almost imagine the various encounters with mad scientists, robot horses, frog-creatures, hypnotising robots and small friendly furry creatures as being something that Flash, Dale and Dr Zarkov might encounter. It is not much of a film, the plotting has a blank randomness to it and the characters are wooden – the character of Rainbow Brite, for instance, is so blank it is almost impossible to conjure any sympathy. The awful songs are kept down to only two.

The characters were next expanded out into an animated tv series Rainbow Brite (1986), which lasted for only thirteen episodes. Rainbow Brite (2014) was a further animated tv series reboot that aired online.

Trailer here

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