Filmation (December, 1985), Classic Media (October 12, 2010), single disc, 51 mins, 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Dolby Digital 2.0, Not Rated, Retail: $9.99


He-Man and She-Ra commemorate Christmas for the first time when two children from Earth accidentally end up on Eternia. Hordak and Skeletor are then sent out to capture the children and prevent the Spirit of Christmas from spreading.

The Sweatbox Review:

He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special begins rather innocuously with both Adora and Adam back on Eternia planning their first big birthday party together. Their parents, the king and queen, are excited to see their twin children together again and want to celebrate in a big way. Meanwhile, Man-At-Arms and Adam are working on a giant space shuttle called the Sky Spy which will be used to spy on Skeletor. However, as soon as they leave it unattended, Orko breaks into the ship and ends up launching it accidentally. Skeletor, seeing the ship launch into the sky, quickly begins pursuit, but is stopped by the combined forces of He-Man and She-Ra. Unfortunately, the ship is lost in space when Orko, trying to use magic to land it, ends up transporting the ship to Earth. It is on Earth that Orko meets up with two young children named Miguel and Alisha who he saves from an avalanche using his magic powers. Excited about meeting an alien and completely lost from their parents, the kids go back to the shuttle with Orko and end up telling him all about Christmas.

Meanwhile, back on Eternia, it doesn’t take long before Adam and the others notice and realize that Orko is missing and that he was on the Sky Spy. Man-At-Arms discovers the coordinates of the ship which Queen Marlena recognizes to be located on Earth. However, before they can retrieve him, they must find a powerful crystal that will generate enough power to transport the ship and Orko back to Eternia. She-Ra then sets off to Etheria to find the magical crystal. After a brief adventure to obtain the crystal where She-Ra encounters giant robot monsters called Monstroids, Orko and the children are transported back to Eternia. While the kids are excited about being on a magical planet, they soon realize that they are stranded for a few days while Man-at-Arms recharges the crystal to send them back home. This means they will miss Christmas. In order to cheer up the children, the Queen then suggests celebrating Christmas on Eternia together with the twins’ birthday.

The children’s presence does not go unnoticed and Horde Prime, the mastermind behind Hordak and Skeletor, comes to the conclusion that the Christmas Spirit the children are spreading will hinder his plans to take over the world. He quickly summons Hordak and Skeletor and tells them to capture the children and bring them back to him in exchange for a handsome reward. The two villains then set off to capture the children, but they must first battle each other and the Monstroids who also decide to capture the children. Ultimately, it is Skeletor that is confronted with the true meaning of Christmas when he spends time with the children. He then faces the ultimate test when he must turn the children over to Horde Prime.

I’ve always found sci-fi fantasy and Christmas to be a strange mix. The whole point of the genre is to somehow transport you into another reality. Christmas, on the other hand, is rooted into some of our most basic traditions and beliefs. By mixing the two, Christmas always ends up bringing the more fantastic elements of a story into the familiar setting of the holidays, which is oddly disturbing for me. The two genres tend to clash and one makes the other look very silly. It’s ultimately strange to think that this fantasy land that you’ve been watching and suspended disbelief for is now somehow rooted in your own reality. Don’t get me wrong. I love animated Christmas specials. But I can’t say I was ever excited about the strange mash-up of this He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special.

Is This Thing Loaded?

There are no special features included in this release.

Case Study:

The movie comes in a standard white DVD keep case that features both He-Man and She-Ra prominently on the cover over a green background. The back of the case features two still shots from the movie. The same image from the cover is also used as the disc art. No inserts are included inside the case.

Ink And Paint:

The Christmas special is featured in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio of its original television broadcast. The image looks relatively clean for a 25 year old special with few scratches and dust fragments found on the final print. Overall, the image quality is good and very similar to the print used in the previous 2006 BCI release.

Scratch Tracks:

The release comes with one standard Dolby Digital 2.0 English track. There are no subtitles or alternate language tracks included with the release. Overall, this is a very basic track, but it does the job.

Final Cut:

This is not my favorite 80s Christmas Special. As previously mentioned, I have always found fantasy and Christmas to be strange bedfellows. The two genres rarely mix effectively and this is not exception. I find it hard to believe that Horde Prime would really feel threatened by the “spirit of Christmas”. How is it any different from any other message of hope found in either shows? It’s a stretch and never really works, which is probably why this special was only re-broadcast a handful of times since its original debut. Sure, there is some campy nostalgia related to the fact that He-Man gets dressed up like Santa, but it goes away once you have to follow a story. Overall, with a bare-bones release, this DVD really is for true fans of the show that must have their He-Man and She-Ra fix.

Animated Classic or Back To The Drawing Board?