Summary: When a trio of Baby Ponies become enamored of a singer called Knight Shade, things take a turn for the worse when it becomes clear he’s just a front for an evil wizard bent on gaining power through magical means.
…whoa, déjà vu! Wasn’t I just here, recapping about a giant puppy? These back to back recaps are brutal.
Okay. Welcome, once again, to the masochistic recapping series where Dove and I rewatch My Little Pony and Friends cartoons and question our memories and choices, a lot. We’re only four episodes away from the halfway point of Season 1 (Dove gets the honor of recapping that episode, #25/50) which means we have hit BRIGHT LIGHTS.
(Sadly, no, it is not Bright Lights, Big City, which I could be watching right now. Alas. This also has MUCH LESS cocaine use then that movie, but the clothes in this could very easily be worn by any character in the film. Weird.)
Out of… well, the series as a whole, this four-parter is one of the ones I have concrete memories of. Mainly because of Knight Shade and the plot twist, which I’ll get into during the recap. Things in this episode clearly date it to mid-1980s (oh what a time to be alive!) bu they don’t hold up well. I was made in the 1980s and I’m not holding up well, either.
[Dove: I have more memories of this, because I’ve watched this one several times. Not deliberately. I misread our schedule and thought I was doing parts 1 and 2, I set them going just to remind myself which story this was, but got involved in coding something, and background-watched them. Then I realised what I’d done, and started over. Just in time I checked the schedule and realised that I was doing 3 and 4. But then my brain went: “Watch them again, so you can start parts 3 and 4 now.” So I did. But I didn’t start my half of the recap because life. Then I watched them again when bat made the draft page for her recap – I assumed she’d finished it, but she hadn’t. So I only watched part 1. I still haven’t retained much though.]
This will all eventually make sense, so, let’s just get to the recap.
Summary: Based on the classic novel, Dumas’ story of the young Gascon d’Artagnan who goes to Paris to become a Musketeer and serve the king, and how he befriends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and they have to save the king of France from being assassinated. Only this version is extremely Disney-fied!
Tagline:All for one and one for all!
Though, honestly, the other two that were used for a poster and video packaging, respectively, crack me up:
A place of betrayal. The fate of a king. A time for heroes. (Considering this movie wasn’t even filmed in Paris, let alone in France…)
They’re Scoundrels, Playboys, Outlaws . . . The Greatest Heroes Who Ever Lived. (This literally sounds like a MCU tagline. All those things describe Tony Stark.)
Book!Aramis was a complete playboy scoundrel and the Musketeers technically turn outlaw… I’m lost on the “place of betrayal” part, though.
Note: I have seen this movie many more times than an average viewer. Something like 75 times, at least 3 times in an actual movie theater, during its original release. Yes, I have a problem. A problem named Sutherland.
Oh, and I will likely make the distinction of book!CHARACTER to keep them separate from the film version, through out the recap. Because book vs movie is rather important to understand how much different the version you’re watching is compared to the actual novel.
The 1990s were a weird time for movies churned out by Disney. Instead of a bunch of animated films (this was just when Pixar really kicked into gear, but who really remembers A Bug’s Life?) they were releasing a bunch of family-friendly live-action films. Stuff like White Fang, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, The Rocketeer, Newsies, [Wing: Newsies is one of my favourite movies!] The Mighty Ducks (and its subsequent sequels [Dove: Bagsie I get to recap them!]), and Hocus Pocus, to name a few. [bat: Okay, Wing recap Newsies, Dove recap Mighty Ducks, and I’ll recap Hocus Pocus! THEN WE CAN CROSS-COMMENT ON EVERYTHING!]
The first three years of the 1990s saw only four animated films released compared to 14 live action films. Granted, animated movies take longer, so that’s probably why. Even today that’s still true, although computer animation is much more widely used compared to the tiny bit we were all dazzled by during the ballroom sequence in Beauty and the Beast in 1992.
Also of note would be the part where Disney was pulling from classic literature and interesting life stories. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken is based on a true story; White Fang is a Jack London novel. There were real news boys in NYC and they held a strike in 1899 but I don’t think they sang and danced while doing it. [Dove: I have only just got a copy of this, because it’s called “The News Boys” over here. I have no idea why the name was changed, but Dean Portman from Mighty Ducks will sing!] [Wing: His role is fairly small but completely delightful. Oh, god, I could talk about Newsies for hours. Carryin’ the banner, y’all.]
Alexandre Dumas’ The d’Artagnan Romances, which is the encompassing name given to all the stories Dumas penned about the 17th century musketeers and their adventures, is really, really long. Most people are familiar with The Three Musketeers, the first of the stories that runs sometimes over 700 pages in length, which introduces us to d’Artagnan and tells the story of how he becomes a member of the King’s Musketeers.
Like Disney was going to actually stick to the actual story. Based on real events and persons, it is not… shall we say… “family friendly”. There’s a ton of intrigue and romantic/sexual affairs, and murder plots, all set within the court of King Louis XIII of France.
There’s also about a billion and a half (slight exaggeration) characters with enormous French names and titles. Keeping track of it all is only slightly less harder then knowing who’s who on Game of Thrones. It’s taken me a long time to really understand it, and that’s just based on half-hearted effort to read wiki articles and such, and admittedly it interests me to a fault. Your average reader? Probably not so much.
So, Disney being Disney, stripped the story line down to its basic and most “family friendly” elements. Gone are the Musketeer’s menservants, gone is Kitty and Constance’s husband, no one needs you Monsieur de Tréville! (Who is actually awesome in the BBC’s adaptation, The Musketeers.) Everyone else was either toned down or given amped up traits: Athos is the serious broken-hearted alcoholic, Porthos is the larger-than-life comic relief (although he is in the book, as well), and Aramis’ philandering ways are severely reined in.
Which, in light of what happened with Charlie Sheen, is rather funny in a dark way. Sutherland’s legal troubles with DUIs would happen after this film, so again, life and art have many blurred lines.
There’s a lot more I could get into about all this but I’d rather incorporate it into the recap, so there’s some reference that can be of aid to you, readers. It’ll help, trust me.
One last thing: most of the main cast had either previously worked for Disney at some point or subsequently went on to do something else with them after this film. Basically, once you get in bed with the House of Mouse, you never really get out again. (Well, Sheen might be the exception…)
Onward! To the recap!
[Dove: I love this movie. Oliver Platt is awesome, and I swear to god, he played this role as if he knew that gifs would be a thing one day. Also, Michael Wincott is probably my longest-running crush. He’s wonderful.] [bat: Dove, you REALLY must see Forsaken. Wincott saves that movie from being a total bore.]
[Wing: This movie is so much cheesy fun, and also full of attractive people, or at least people who are attractive in this movie even if not elsewhere.]
Summary: When the Ponies discover Clifford the Big Red Dog a huge puppy has mysteriously been dumped on the doorstep of Paradise Estate, they set out to make the animal abandoner pay! No, no they don’t. They make friends with said puppy and build it a huge dog house for the winter.
Grade: Read to Find Out!
Welcome back for another installment of My Little Pony‘nVarious Characters-of-the-Week That You’ll Never Remember. I swear, Dove and I are fervently slogging through these, regret clouding our minds every single step of the way. THE EPISODES ARE NOT GETTING ANY BETTER, PEOPLE. [Dove: This episode may be the greatest example of “you can never go home” in history.]
We’ve finally reached one of those single episodes, a one-shot that doesn’t require us to split it between two recaps. A quick glance tells me there’s four more one-shots after this, but about a billion multi-part episodes on top of that. Oh mysterious creators of Dream Valley, be merciful and end my suffering quick.
(It’s kinda hard to go from a rewatch of all seasons of Vikings to pastel-coloured talking cartoon horses but here I am. If only Floki would show up and yell nonsense about the pagan gods and blood sacrifices at Shady. I would watch that.)
After that misleading GLASS PRINCESS crap, I am not holding out hopes for this episode being any good. Setting the bar low early on! Let’s watch.
Front Blurb: Life was bliss for Zoey and Lucas until Aaron showed up on the island. Now Aaron wants Zoey. Claire wants Aaron and Zoey’s got a secret that EVERYONE is talking about. How long before Lucas finds out that Zoey Plays Games
Back Blurb: Zoey plays games with Aaron and sets off a wave of broken hearts. Because Lucas is in love with Zoey, Claire has vowed to make Aaron her own. But the island is too small for big secrets.
I don’t remember this book. It’s Zoey story, so that’s probably why.
Fun fact- this is the first Making Out book that wasn’t written by Grapplegate – they handed the series over to ghostwriters from book 9. Also, there are also no more reprints for these later books, so it’s firmly nostalgia from here onwards.
[Dove: Oh good, a Zoey book. You know how highly I regard the Passmore family in general, and Zoey in particular. This is the point where I really got sick of her nonsense, I think.]
[Wing: I’m pretty sure life wasn’t bliss for Zoey and Lucas, book, but cool. Coooool.]
Summary: The Ponies finally remember that, hey, The Moochick gave us a wonderful play set of condos named Paradise Estate! We better move into them! (Dream Castle who?) But, of course, because this is Ponyland, there’s a ghost haunting Paradise Estate and that ghost wants the Ponies OUT. But when is anything ever as it seems in Ponyland? And what should be a simple fix is never the case! (Magical powers? How don’t those work!)
Hello and welcome back, that is if you’ve actually decided to return after the nightmare that was The End of Flutter Valley, the never-ending saga that kicked off this series of G1 MLP cartoon recaps by Dove and I. THANKFULLY Flutter Valley has been “saved” (boo, hiss) and we’ve moved on to… well, just as stupid things. This is the My Little Pony cartoon series. Don’t set your bar too high. But no more Flutter Valley. I think?
I just want to point out that, unconsciously, we somehow manged to near-sync this recap with the original air dates! Which were September 29 & 30 and October 1 & 2, 1986. Yeah, it’s super weird and entirely unintentional. Can’t say this will happen for the next batch but hey, celebrate when you can, amirite?
Thus begins the “spooky” 4-parter, The Ghost of Paradise Estate! (BUY OUR MERCH!) Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Title: Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton
Summary: Spook trains in the dead of night! And they seem to vanish into thin air – but where do they go? The Famous Five are on to it! But discovery of an unusual underground tunnel system, and a secret train-service, has them puzzled. If they follow the tracks, will they solve the mystery?
Spook trains, secret, underground tunnels, and a mystery? Sounds like a typical Blyton holiday. And also like an A++ story for me to recap. Halloween season starts 1 September and so we are well into it. SPOOK TRAINS AND GO.
[Dove: I always wished that we could have a supernatural Famous Five – like the way Sweet Valley would leap off into the supernatural and then do an Etch-A-Sketch reset.]
Title: Making Out #8: Aisha Goes Wild by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Summary: Aisha goes wild when a chance encounter rekindles all her old feelings about a guy named Jeff, who was her first great crush. She’s promised her whole heart to Christopher, but will a part of it always belong to Jeff?
Tagline: After Zoey breaks up with Lucas, and Jake breaks up with Claire, Aisha and Christopher are the only couple left on the island–until Aisha’s old boyfriend, Jeff, comes back into her life. Everything changes on Halloween night when… Aisha Goes Wild. [Wing: UMM. Nina and Benjamin say WHAT THE HELL.] [Rosey: RIGHT?]
I am still shook that Jake is my favourite of the Island boys this read through. Also, I remember basically nothing about the plotlines in this book even though I know I’ve read it more than once. [Rosey: This is the one where Claire Gets “Catfished”. ]
[Dove: This is the last of the Grapplegate books, after this they are ghostwritten. Also, I have to admit, this is my least favourite for the “lead” story. I’m sorry, I don’t really like Aisha’s story – the amnesia plot does not work for me. At all.]
[Wing: WHAT I DID NOT KNOW THAT EITHER. Ghostwritten? My heart is broken.]
Grade: This will be given when Dove and I finally reach the end of this 10 part epic.
THE RAINBOW OF LIGHT IS AT THE END OF THE DAMN TUNNEL! All the harrowing hours we’ve spent neck deep in this never-ending saga – what was originally just a stupid day trip to freaking Flutter Valley – are finally drawing to a close! Well, okay, these two episodes to go, then Dove has the last two to recap, so we’re not as close as everyone (ie: ME) wishes we were. But we’re getting there! At least the action picks up speed in parts 7 & 8… if you can call it “action”…
Front Blurb: Zoey’s parents broke up, and it rocked her world. Then Lucas watched miserably as Zoey was comforted by her old boyfriend, Jake. Now Lucas tries to hold off Claire, his old love, who says she’ll do anything to get Lucas back. Whatever happens… Lucas Gets Hurt
Back Blurb: Lucas gets hurt when he watches Zoey, the love of his life, drift back into the arms of her old boyfriend, Jake. That’s when Claire appears, wanting to help Lucas forget his problems. But if Zoey finds out what happened between Lucas and Claire, will she ever take him back?
I wonder who is doing the Making Out recap this month? Oh… Fuck… Is it me? Messages Wing and Dove. Oh Fuck… it is me!
This is the one where Jake’s becoming an alcoholic and we meet Secret Sister. I can’t remember what hurts Lucas, though and I really doubt that he is having to “hold Claire off.”
Summary: The Famous Five are having a wonderful caravanning holiday. And when they discover a circus is camping nearby, they hope there’ll be plenty of entertainment.
But two of the circus performers are strangely sinister. The children soon realise that they’re not clowning around — but can they get help in time?
That title is a lie. They go off in two caravans. [Wing: I appreciate your attention to this detail, a la my annoyance over that whole Smuggler’s thing last time.]
Which brings me to perhaps the most disturbing news of the entire series to date: I THINK JULIAN KNOWS WHAT SEX IS. I mean, at least vaguely. He knows it exists. I think. (He may also be having it with a series of farmers’ wives and daughters.) [Wing: Wait, is this not what we’re supposed to assume with him popping off to talk to the wives and daughters as they travel?]
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Initially, when I asked to recap this book, I only remembered the caravan part (not the significance of there being two caravans, just that they went off without adults in a caravan, which I was enormously envious of). The amount of freedom these kids have is mind-boggling to me. I mean, I am old enough to remember when it was normal for children to leave home in the morning in summer and only go back home for meals and when it got to be dusk, so we were basically away from adults for hours and hours at a time in the summer, but that was with the understanding that we were somewhere nearby. Like, in town, and preferably in the neighbourhood. Not off up the highway to some other town, or parked out in the country somewhere in a horse-drawn vehicle.
I really do love this series. It achieves a strange mix of cozy, meal-driven comfort and outrageous, I-would-never-have-been-allowed-to-do-that adventure.
[Dove: This is one of my favourite stories in this series. This is exactly the kind of thing I’d have loved to do as a kid. I didn’t go camping until I was in my late twenties, and when I did, I loved it. Tiny and I were incredibly resourceful in how to make tea without a kettle.]
[Wing: I was taking a drink when I saw the “Anne should just poison them all” tag and nearly choked to death.]
Summary: That great maguffin aka the Sun Stone has been stolen by Queen Bumble and her Bees, putting Flutter Valley in dire straights. The witches are on the verge of claiming their new territory, the Flutter Ponies are captured (and recaptured, in Morning Glory’s case), and the Ponies somehow manage to stumble into Furbobia, where Baby Cuddles gets steamed.
Grade: This will be given when Dove and I finally reach the end of this 10 part epic.
You have now reached episodes 3-4 of this harrowing 10 part, 2 hour struggle through this Flutter Vally-centric nightmare. I don’t know; I’m pretty sure Flutter Valley was covered in the major motion picture that had been released three freaking months prior to the cartoon’s debut, but Hasbro gotta make that merch money! Anyway, Dove will cover Parts 5-6 in the next batch recap.
Title: Making Out #6: What Zoey Saw by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Summary: Zoey broke up with Jake after she fell in love with Lucas. Claire used to go out with Lucas, but now she’s with Jake. Are Zoey’s feelings for Jake really gone? Is Lucas totally over Claire? Their hidden desires are about to explode, all because of…What Zoey Saw.
My god, the front of book summaries are kind of terrible and terribly dramatic, too.