My story that goes along with this special isn’t all that interesting, but I’m sharing it anyway. I swore I saw this ball of confusion around Christmas on the Disney Channel, and I was ecstatic to find it on YouTube. Then I gradually realized that I was mixing it up it with a very different Christmas special involving these characters.
People who watched the Disney Channel in the 1980’s might have vague memories of “The Raccoons”. I can only assume they were much more popular in their native Canada, as there does not appear to be much nostalgia for them here in the U.S. I recall it as being rather confusing for me as a kid, perhaps because Disney ran episodes out of order. Therefore you could see an episode (like the aforementioned Christmas episode) where the characters are cute little cartoony raccoons whose adventures were dreamed up by two little kids living in a log cabin with their ranger father one day, then an episode from the later, stranger seasons where the characters are basically anthropomorphic, the main villain is suddenly on the protagonists’ side because there is a worse guy now, and so forth.
This kind of stuff clearly never bothered the creators of the show, because this special has one of the lead animal characters go to space and meet doppelgangers of all the other characters. And they have to rescue a non-anthropomorphic puppy who happens to have a fallen magical star on his collar. A star that the bad guy needs to power all the weapons he has built so that he can conquer Earth. Because it’s there.
In short, Canada would like for us to have another trippy Christmas. (I think…?)
The Best Parts:
19 seconds in – What in the hell is Cyril Sneer anyway? This special seems to posit that he is an alien?
2 minutes in – “And crash into a planet, killing millions and millions of life forms in a horrifying mass extinction event! Well, g’night kids.”
3 minutes in – Um… Huh. This was the scene that made me wonder if this was the aforementioned Christmas special I saw as a child, that involved these same characters. It definitely was not, and that special wasn’t half as crazy as this one.
5 minutes in – Here is the first of many, many late 70’s-esque soft-rock songs.
8 minutes in – Aww, it’s just like “Avatar”! Except that James Cameron would look at their anthropomorphic animal alien girl and weep.
And here’s yet another Existential Mystery I Never Thought I’d Hear Addressed.
10 minutes in – Ah, Furry Confusion. Apparently my memory is right according to TV Tropes, and the series just kept getting worse with this as it went on.
16 minutes in – He will get to fly something by the end of this movie, I bet.
17 minutes in – “You don’t know what children are? So you are alien doppelgangers of my friends who reproduce through fission then?”
19 minutes in – “OH, thinkin’ about our younger years!”
28 minutes in – This sequence is actually pretty neat. I wish more utterly mainstream television animation would do something experimental for mood more often.
33 minutes in – Aw, but it’s Christmas time, guys! Right? I do have this confused with the Christmas special.
37 minutes in – “Inception” sound. “Inception” sound everywhere!
38 minutes in – “Here-a we go-o!!!”
40 minutes in – What did I tell you?
43 minutes in – So… Sophia’s boyfriend blew up with the mountain I guess… Bummer.
44 minutes in – I am sure this wasn’t confusing to the children watching at all.
45 minutes in – “When you wish upon a star! / Please don’t sue us Mickey Mouse!”
47 minutes in – D’awww… Wait?
SOPHIA: “I’m Sophia Tutu!”
SCHAEFFER: “Why, that’s exactly the name of my friend from Earth!”
“Don’t try to appeal to my conscience! I don’t have one!” – Cyril Sneer
Things I Learned from this Movie:
* – Biplanes are capable of interstellar travel.
* – Sheep sound like elephants.
* – It takes more fuel to land and take off than it does to fly back to another planet to look for more fuel.
* – Somewhere there is a planet populated entirely by identical doppelgangers of everyone you know.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? The characters are all ridiculously cute… save one. (See “Hot Guys” below.)
Good Soundtrack? I mentioned the late 70’s-esque soft-rock songs, right?
Hot Guys? No. And for the guys, there is only Sophia. She is essentially the cute animal-girl character gone horribly wrong.
Pretty Scenery? Yeah.
Nifty Animation/Effects/Art Direction? It does take some interesting turns.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when you start wondering how confusing this must have been for the kids watching.
Head Movie Potential? Let’s start with the biplane in space and go from there.
It’s a strange ride, that’s for sure, but it’s kind of a fun one.
An Evergreen Raccoons Television Production released in 1983. Written and directed by Kevin Gillis, based upon his characters.
Rich Little, Carl Banas, Michael Magee, Sharon Lewis, Len Carlson, Bob Dermer, Dottie West, and Fred Little
TV Tropes page