Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happily Ever After (1993 film) - Part 2

Part 1.

I will conclude the month of November with yet another trip into Happily Ever After, a staple of my video library.

Box office failure or not, this movie will still remain a childhood favorite (and like Felix the Cat: the Movie, I can't bring myself to ever hate this movie), which is basically me saying that this film is a really big guilty pleasure for me. Oh sure, it's bad. I'm not going to deny it. Plot points are unnecessary, and we're about to see stuff that makes the man who can turn into a dragon look sensible, but I still watch this multiple times for enjoyment. It probably doesn't say much about my taste in cartoons, but I get a kick out of movies this cheesy.

And we're journeying into the actual meat of the movie. Compared to the crazy depravity that's going to explode from my disc like an Ecto-Containment Unit in New York City, the intro with the dragon, the He-Man prince, and the rapping owl with a cigar is going to look subdued and downright sane and intelligent. Just warning you ahead of time. We're dealing with Felix the Cat: The Movie levels of crazy here.

Since I can't give too much away, I might as well mention the DVD now that I actually have the DVD of this movie with me. Unless if you really, really, really love this movie, don't buy this thing. The DVD is crap. Oh sure, it's more convenient than the VHS, and I have yet to find a computer that can play VHSes, but this DVD is one of the worst examples I have ever seen of archival quality. There's little things like parts of the screen being out of focus for some scenes, or rings of black surrounding the edges, but it's those little things that just piss me off. From the looks of it, either the movie just hasn't survived that well over the years (and it really wouldn't surprise me, considering Filmation is a defunct company, this movie bombed horribly at the box office, and was critically panned by everybody) and they can't digitally restore the movie, or someone got lazy rushing this thing to DVD.

In short, they did a really poor job and the picture is nowhere near as good as it should be.

Why am I choosing to mention the DVD? Because of the scene selection menu of course.

...yeeeah, what am I supposed to be looking at here? Out of all of the possible stills they could choose for Lord Maliss, they had to go for one where he's trying to be all sensual. The pink curtains in the background certainly don't help.

That being said, don't try to fight it, because you're going to see dragons and feminism aplenty in...

Happily Ever After Part 2

When we last left Snow White, the Wicked Queen's brother, Lord Maliss, decided that having his sister be a corpse was a horrible stain on his reputation and just flipped the hell out and decided he wanted Snow White dead for no apparent reason at all. So he seized control of the Wicked Queen's monster-infested castle, twisted and distorted and changed everything in The Realm of Doom, transformed into a badass-looking dragon, and then attacked Snow White and her handsome prince while they were in the hugest flower field in the history of animation. Unfortunately, thanks to both arrows and smoking owls, Lord Maliss's first murder attempt failed and Snow White managed to get away and she crash-landed on the seven dwarfs' hut because she was so tired after running through a spooky forest. But not before Lord Maliss shot the prince with an eye laser that was supposed to do something very special.

Basically, in other words, the opening of this movie made it very clear that I wasn't watching no ordinary Snow White. This is the Snow White that someone would imagine if they took too much Nyquil while sick with the flu and had a bizarre fever dream after watching the Disney classic. In other words, an accurate representation of a cartoon Snow White as reimagined by the 80's, the era that brought us Care Bears, The Wuzzles, and He-Man. This weirdness is to be expected.

But I need to move on. This part of the film is going to have a ton of character introductions (since we're going to see the seven dwarfs along with some other major players), so bear with me here.

I bet the dwarfs have built a bed just for Snow White to pass out in by now.
Snow White, of course, ends up waking up in the Seven Dwarfs' cottage, and somehow, she's able to fit perfectly on a bed meant for a tiny fairytale creature when, in the Disney movie, she ended up passing out on at least three beds on account she was, you know, a human being sleeping in a house built for dwarfs. Eh, maybe these dwarfs just like the extra room in their beds.

Anyways, what's Snow White's first thought when she wakes up in the house after running around for hours in a spooky forest, images of that ferocious dragon still etched in her mind and the fate of her beloved prince or whether he's even alive completely uncertain?

Why, she's going to smile, look in a mirror, and fix her hair of course!

...Snow White, smothering your emotions and putting on a happy face when you're crying on the inside is not healthy. We won't think less of you if you burst into tears.
"Repressed emotions? What repressed emotions?"
So Future Mental Breakdown Patient journeys out of the Seven Dwarfs' house pretty quickly, not once having trouble moving around in a house meant for creatures half her size. I like how she's polite enough not to snoop around for too long, choosing instead to make her way outside and inform the Seven Dwarfs that she's still alive. And that's when she notices that the cottage has expanded since she was last here, and she thinks it's beautiful.

...there's just one small problem with this scene. When they do the pan-out to show the giant Zelda dungeon that is the Seven Dwarfs' cottage, look closely at the door. Snow White is standing with her back away to the camera, meaning she's not actually looking at the expansions, but rather the beautiful craftsmanship of the door frame. Plus, even if she was looking in the right direction, how the hell could she see the parts of the house implanted into the tree from where she's standing?

Incidentally, this expanded tree cottage, with some parts of the building extending onto a tree trunk over three stories in the air? Never comes into play in the movie, never is mentioned again, and never appears again. You'd think a house this beautiful would have some purpose to the plot, but nope, we quickly forget it exists once we find out who lives here.
The Seven Dwarfs bought out the Keebler Elves' Hollow Tree Factory.
She finds this all just delightful and whimsical until she looks a little bit off to the side and discovers something shocking. Women's clothing!

With many "Oh!"'s and "Oh my!"'s, the audience is immediately clued into the thought process that's going on in Snow White's head, and it's not exactly kid-friendly. This scene is just amazing in the way it's set up, because for a brief and terrifying moment, the audience can't help but wonder just which of the dwarfs honest to god took up crossdressing as a hobby. My money's on Bashful, personally.

And those clothes look way too big to be dwarf clothing.

Yeah, Dopey has some issues, but don't worry. He's currently seeing a therapist about it.
But instead of the movie taking a frightening new spin on the franchise, that's when our hero discovers two strange, short-looking women. I know this is funny hearing me say this after we just saw a man with blue skin transform into a dragon and then have a smoking owl rap about us about badness, but here is when the movie gets weird. Because we find dwarfs, but instead of the bearded dwarfs with names that tell us their personality right off the bat, we get...a fat woman rubbing mud into her armpits while a fat woman with a painful-looking sunburn watches her do this in sheer amazement.

...I guess that's a unique way of presenting the Snow White story. Gotta love the change from shapeshifting wyverns to a bright red fat lady watching her sister apply a strange form of deodorant. This movie has everything!

By the way, get used to these two. Because, without spoiling too much, these two get more screentime and character development than their sisters. The one on the right even has her own catchphrase.

"They say a mud bath helps remove toxins and impurities from your body!"
"I don't buy into that New Age crap, sis."
Snow White is understandably confused about these malformed ladies loitering on the Seven Dwarfs' property until the one bathing in a mud puddle happily informs Snow White in the instantly recognizable voice of Carol Channing (aka, the mouse that sung "Marry the Mole" in Don Bluth's Thumbellina) that the Seven Dwarfs opened a mine in another kingdom and have since moved out. How nice of the Seven Dwarfs, the reason why Snow White fell in love with the Prince, to just move away and just plain not tell her, because the whole reason the royalty got attacked by Maliss in the first place is because they were traveling to invite the dwarfs to their wedding. Rude little assholes. They're so off her Christmas card list.

Instead, what we have here are their cousins, the Seven Dwarfelles. The chubby little mudswimmer happily chimes in that the dwarfs gave them their cottage, which makes me wonder what their living arrangements were before they got the widely expanded fairytale house. Considering the fact that one of them is swimming around in a shallow mud puddle for entertainment, I bet it involved landlords, leaky indoor plumbing, and the red one flaking out on the month's rent multiple times.

She's pretty happy with her filth.
But we can't focus too much on housing issues. Snow White hears some sniffling behind a tree, so she looks over and spots Strawberry Shortcake trying to make rainclouds with her fingers. With a "It's no use, I just can't get it right!", we get to see a little girl dwarf manifest a giant thundercloud that shoots a lightning bolt so powerful that it splits a tree in two offscreen, because animating the tree actually get destroyed would've been too hard. And not once is Snow White horrified with the fact that a little girl can't control powers that can potentially electrocute or kill someone., I'm guessing in this universe, magic powers are just readily available to the public. No wonder the prince didn't so much as bat an eyelash when a dragon transformed into a man that can shoot eye lasers; apparently little girls in this kingdom have powers that would make them a great addition to any superhero team. Doesn't explain why Snow White or her prince don't have any powers, but I guess magic is for commoners.

"Aww, The Lorax is going to be mad..."
Her wanton, uncontrollable destruction and slaughtering of Mother Nature's children saddens her so much that she breaks out into song and starts to sing the most recognizable song in the entire film. Chances are, if you've seen this movie, then you've had Thunderella's song (helpfully named just "Thunderella's Song") stuck in your head. It's painfully, achingly, utterly, unmistakeably 80's, from the synth instrumentals and the slightly digitized, echoy voice to the Phil Colins-esque drums, but it manages to be an extremely catchy tune about how Thunderella is going to shine and one day get it right. It's not the most original, memorable song in the world, and the visuals mostly involve the little girl skipping around on a fence, but it is pretty uplifting. 

The best part? It's the length of an actual song. After suffering through the severely shortened "Face to the Wind" song and having "Who is the Boss?" drowned out by background noise, the fact that there's an uninterrupted song in a non-Disney musical makes me very, very happy. That "I'm Bad" song that Scowl sung earlier was only like 30 seconds long but this song clocks in at a little bit over two minutes.

"Big and looooud!"
In addition to the really great facial expressions Thunderella makes while she sings in a voice that would not belong to a girl her age (although she is a dwarf, so who knows how old she actually is), the song also gives us cameos of the other dwarfelles before we're actually introduced to them. It turns out that in addition to having the fairytale equivalent of a giant Malibu mansion, they also have a really nice landscaped backyard that the other dwarfelles hang out and do random things like brushing bunny fur and sniffing flowers. Geez, this family must be loaded with cash.

This might be one of the few times an animated musical acknowledges the fact that one of the characters just burst into song and is dancing around to catchy music, because quite a few times during Thunderella's song, everyone will stop what they're doing, sit down, and listen to her as she's going through her routine. Kind of leaning on the fourth wall there, ladies.

Although now I find it kind of sad that none of them are joining in.
That's all fine and dandy, but the best part of this sequence hands down is the sunburnt dwarfelle's face while this is going on. Unlike her sisters, who are enchanted by the beautiful notes that fall out of the little one's mouth, she's just really pissed off and spends the entire song number just glaring at the camera and wishing that Thunderella would just shut the hell up already. But hey, maybe this is a regular occurrence and she's just fed up with it. Considering how Thunderella never messes up a lyric and she has this fantastic choreography  to go with her song, it wouldn't surprise me.

"I should've never showed her Glee."
The song ends with Thunderella literally raining on everybody's parade, which causes the future skin cancer victim to get irrationally angry and tell her that she's absolutely worthless and should go die in a fire instead of wasting oxygen. This then leads to Snow White, possibly in an attempt to play peace maker before the orange demon can start massacring her flesh and blood, to ask for everyone's names. Boy howdy, it looks like we're going to get seven introductions!

But before I get into that, I have to mention one thing. I love how the red dwarf is like the least feminine thing in the history of animation. She makes the Queen of Hearts from Disney's Alice in Wonderland look downright dainty.

I'm Mister Green Christmas
I'm Mister Sun
I'm Mister Heat Blister...
Also, during these introductions, not only do we learn the Dwarfelles's names, but we also learn what they're "in charge of". Remember those Dwarfs from the Disney film who just had one character trait they were named after and nothing more? Well, unlike them, the Dwarfelles are apparently elementals, actual honest to god aspects of various portions of the world for they are the representations of what they control. They have incredible magic abilities, report to Mother Nature herself, and if they weren't so cute and cuddly, they'd be terrifying foes to behold.

I have to wonder if they control absolutely everything under their power (meaning that Thunderella is responsible for why the temperature got brutally cold all of a sudden) or if they only have control over the various elements in this one kingdom, but really, this is making them look hideously overpowered compared to their cousins, who just had "the power of sneezing" or "the power of being sleepy" under their belts.

I like that Snow White just patiently accepts the fact that she's surrounded
by creatures that harness abilities no mortal is meant to behold.
But anyways, we're here to learn what the deal is with these Seven Dwarfelles the movie gave us, on account they wanted to distance themselves from the Disney classic to avoid angry lawyers. First we get Muddy, that fat little dwarf from earlier who has a weird obsession of smearing dirt underneath her armpits. No, seriously, she does this like fifty other times in this cartoon. Muddy's got problems.

As you might have already guessed, Muddy is in charge of the Earth itself. That's why she has a big wet mud fetish. In addition to liking the feel of silt underneath her arms, you can also consider her the pseudo-leader of the little trolls, if only because of the way she likes to shove her way into the forefront of any dwarfelle scene.

Opinions tend to differ between viewers of this film on whether Muddy's outspoken, constantly optimistic personality is annoying or charming. Personally, I like Muddy. She's cheerful, she's basically the one the does the most talking, and she can kick some serious butt if she wants to. Her nose is ridiculously huge too.

"Yeah, I'm totally Master of Earth itself. Jealous?"
Meanwhile, the sunburnt dwarfelle's name is Sunburn (creative), and she's in charge of the sunlight. She helpfully demonstrates this by frying her sister, but really, compared to earth, a pretty common element in RPGs, I have to wonder just what controlling sunlight even means. Is Sunburn the reason why the sun rises? How strong are her powers anyways? Can she cause the sun to become this terrifying, skin-blistering orb of fiery death just to spite all of humanity if she wanted to, or is she limited to moving sunbeams?

Anyways, besides that, Sunburn is perpetually pissed off at everything around her (probably because of that giant, agonizing sunburn coating her entire body and causing her eternal physical pain), is the most butt-ugly dwarfelle in the roster, and is the angriest dwarfelle that constantly raises her voice. Therefore, she's definitely filling in for Grumpy while remaining legally distinct from Grumpy. And, considering her name, I have to wonder if her name was always Sunburn and her skin was always that horrifying shade of lobster red or if she gained that moniker and skintone once she gained her powers.

As you might have guessed, Sunburn and Muddy will be at each other's throats for the entire movie. They just seem to have a weird obsession with each other.

Sunburn relishes in the pain of other people.
Next we have Blossom. Guess what she's in charge of!

But that's not as weird as her actual voice. Zsa Zsa Gabor of all people is doing her voiceacting, because 80% of the budget was devoted to getting famous stars roped into this mess. I clearly remember the VHS of Happily Ever After devoting a huge portion of the cover to announcing who voiced who, complete with the actors' portraits next to who they played. This was before Dreamworks sort of rammed the idea of star actors starring in your movies into the ground, so back in the early 90's, this was a pretty huge deal.

...oh right, I should probably talk about the character Zsa Zsa Gabor is actually playing. Well, not much to say about her, other than she's the fashion-inclined one (most of her lines are about beauty and clothing, because you can't have a group of females without one of them being like this) and her hair kind of creeps me out.

She scares the flowers into submission by wearing the skin of her fallen enemies as a warning.
After that, we get Marina. She's in charge of all the lakes and rivers, but since this isn't The Oregon Trail and we won't be needing to cross the Kansas River anytime soon, she's pretty much useless in this entire film and only exists to fill the "Seven Dwarfs" quota. Her personality is about as complex as a blank sheet of paper, but I can't fault her too much. After all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had Sleepy in it.

Hands are not supposed to bend that way.
The next Dwarfelle is Critterina, aptly in control of all of the wild animals in the forest, and she's probably the most popular dwarfelle next to Thunderella. I can think of several reasons why that would be true, despite the fact that she doesn't lend much to the plot. For starters, she gets a decent level of screentime without hogging the screen for too long (unlike Muddy and Sunburn, who act like they're on a two-man comedy tour the way they go at each other's throats), she has a neat little Southern accent, and she kind of looks like she belongs in Alvin and the Chipmunks. Plus any woman who goes on adventures in fluffy little slippers is a winner in my book.

"I just got my rabies shot!"
Now, remember when I said that Marina is useless? Even she's not as useless as Moonbeam, who's almost embarrassing to watch in her sheer ineptitude. She's so useless that she barely has any lines of dialogue, when Marina will at least contribute to conversations. In addition to being made out of fail, she's in charge of the night, but since most of this movie takes place during the day, she basically exists for one joke. It turns out that during the day, she constantly sleepwalks. Hilarious.

...what does "in charge of the night" even mean? Sunburn's in control of sunlight, but even that's a more tangible concept than just night. Unfortunately, we never learn what Moonbeam does (if she even does anything) because she's the only dwarfelle that never exhibits any magic powers throughout this entire film.

I like how the other dwarfelles just laugh at her instead of taking her
to a doctor and treating her serious medical condition.
Finally, we get Thunderella. She already had a decent opening with her song, but I just want to note who voices her, which she shares with Moonbeam on account Moonbeam's too useless to get her own unique voiceactor. She's voiced by none other than Tracey Ullman, a name that should be pretty familiar to any fan of The Simpsons.

Thunderella is really bummed out on account Mother Nature has called her up for a review, which apparently has never happened before. Hate to say it, but considering how Sunburn and Muddy frequently use their powers to attack each other, I'm really not buying the idea that Thunderella is the most incompetent out of all of them., you know, Moonbeam. I rest my case.

You know, maybe giving grossly powerful magic to a little girl was a bad idea, Mother Nature.
So finally, after all of that, after over five minutes of nothing but people putting their hands on their chests and saying their names, Snow White finally tells them that she's, well, Snow White. Which is apparently a shock to all of the dwarfs. Geez, you'd think their asshole cousins would've told them what Snow White looks like. How many other women in the kingdom like to run around in a scary forest and pass out on their doorsteps?

This excites Muddy so much (notice how she's the one that starts all the conversations?) that she blurts out that her and the prince were to be married, which finally causes Snow White to feel some sadness about her situation and finally release all of those feelings she kept bottled up inside. In her words, she doesn't know what happened with The Prince because she was attacked and carried off by "a horrid bird".

...really. You seriously think that what attacked you was a bird. I can't even deal with this. You can't live in a medieval kingdom full of magical dwarfs and not know what a freaking dragon is. It's impossible!

Snow White failed biology.
Course, MythologyFail McSadPrincess is bummed out that her fiance is probably currently being digested in the belly of a "horrid bird", so the dwarfs call upon the power of Girl Power about what they can do. Finally, Muddy (geez, let someone else talk for once!) decides that they can take Snow White to see Mother Nature herself. After all, she can help find the prince. How do they know she can find the prince? Because she's Mother Nature, of course! She'll help solve any plot point through the power of natural living!

...maybe it's me, but there's just something surreal about the idea of Snow White going to see a physical personification of nature itself to help solve her problems. I wonder what system of beliefs is in place in this kingdom.
By the way, they had actual honest to god action figures of the Dwarfelles. I've seen them spring up on eBay.
Meanwhile, back at the Wicked Queen's Castle, we find that the design of the castle has changed dramatically since we last saw it, changing from a rather believable castle design to some sort of Final Fantasy-esque final dungeon with like a hundred floors. It certainly didn't look like that during the opening scene, that's for sure!

And now I'm sad that this means that, while the dwarfelles were flapping their lips about sunlight and the lakes and rivers, the audience missed a scene where Lord Maliss used his mystical eye laser and dragon shapeshifting energy to transform the entire castle into some sort of terrifying structure of pure evil. Lord Maliss spits upon your mortal concepts like "toning it down" and "subtlety". The whole world must know that he oozes pure rottenness out of every orifice and pore of his body!

...or the layout artists just plain forgot what the castle looked like and were winging it. Either one works.

But we gotta check up on Lord Melodramatic. It turns out both he and his fabulous manicure are using the looking glass to locate Snow White's whereabouts, because he honest to god lost her when she ran into the woods.

...uh, why didn't he do this as soon as he got home? Snow White was in that forest for a long, long time, and she even ended up falling asleep, giving Lord Maliss at least half a day to use his magic mirror to seek her out. Is it just not in the villain code to attack while your enemy is passed out in an exhaustion-induced slumber? Or did Lord Maliss totally just procrastinate his whole evil villain scheme of hate-filled revenge?

That's definitely an appropriate face for a sentient magical object that can spy into anyone's home at anytime.
Through the use of dated special effects, he learns from the mirror (who uses Dom DeLuise-induced rhymes of course) that the Seven Dwarfs no longer live in the cottage, but rather the Seven Dwarfelles, which causes Lord Maliss to sneer and call them useless little fools. Lord Maliss hates women, apparently.

But his mood quickly improves when he sees that Snow White's with them. Quickly, he demands the mirror to show them where they're headed, all while we're treated to a really weird view of what's inside the magical piece of glass. Apparently there's a small pocket dimension filled with darkness and the silent cries of trapped souls hidden with Dom DeLuise's character. Interesting?

And if Lord Maliss knows exactly where the Seven Dwarfs live, and now knows that Snow White is there, then why doesn't he turn into a dragon and fly off and attack her? I mean, sheesh, we've seen how fast the dragon can move. Lord Maliss can cover some serious distance if he wants to. Unless there's some sort of a limit to his dragon powers and he can't just transform whenever he wants. They never really go into detail about the limitations of that spell.
"You mean this thing gets HBO for free!?"
But because Lord Maliss is a bit of a dumbass and can't use his dragon powers efficiently, we learn the location of where Mother Nature is. She lives in a charming place called Rainbow Falls, a place that is both pretty and lacking in an original title. Rainbow Falls is so magical and important of a place that it's the background of the cover of this movie and, like Lord Maliss and his need to advertise his evil through the use of appropriate backgrounds, Mother Nature has to advertise how pure and good she is with a lush paradise. Everybody is a ham in this film. 

Also, how was the mirror able to look into the Seven Dwarfelles's minds and figure out where they were going before they even arrived? That's some serious psychic abilities there!

Taste Drink the rainbow.
Now that he knows the location of where they're going to go, Lord Maliss is going to get right on his task of pure villainy and murder some poor child in the death grip of his dragon bird talons?

...well, no. First he wants to find Scowl on account he's still mad about the whole "screwing up his murder scheme from yesterday" thing. Geez, Lord Maliss. Can't that wait until after your worst enemy is dead?

We later find the little cronies hiding out from Lord Maliss's wrath, because in Scowl's attempts to be bad, he's now on Maliss's "Things That Must Die Immediately" list. It's a really short scene that doesn't do much in terms of advancing the story (Scowl and Batso only really exist in this movie for comic relief and to give the film a moral), but I like it anyways for one thing. Batso has a seizure of logic and helpfully points out that Lord Maliss never said anything about tearing him apart, so technically he doesn't have to do any hiding with Scowl.

...why is Batso even following Scowl anymore? From the looks of it, that cancer-filled owl is going to get him killed.
And that is one long-lasting cigar. He's been smoking that thing for over two days now!
After that pointless scene that added nothing (which is an apt description for half of the movie), the hobbits and their tall, powerful leader continue on their merry way to Mother Nature's domain. We get yet another scene where Thunderella doubts herself and wishes she was as special as the others, even asking Snow White if she knows what makes Thunderella so special. In response, Snow White totally dodges the question and instead gives her a hug, hoping that will shut up the enchanted fairy. Surprisingly, this scene is authentically quite adorable and fills this cynic of a writer with warm fuzzies. I think it's because of the weird animation bump this scene gets, where suddenly the characters move with some fluidity.

By the way, Thunderella? Considering that song from earlier and the way you effortlessly destroyed that tree, your talents are singing and indescribable chaos. That sounds pretty special to me.

Unfortunately, they're not alone, for their actions are being spied upon by...some sort of strange mix between Orko from He-Man and a Dungeons and Dragons rouge. Depending on who you ask, people who watched this movie were either afraid of this guy or found him just precious. Me, I found him adorable. He's in a movie where there's an asshole mirror that flashes children the face of the recently deceased and a greasy warlock that runs around and transforms into a dragon. He's cute just by sheer comparison, even if he does look a little mean on the video cover.

I won't get too much into him yet, but we will be seeing a lot more of him later on. Cartoon movies never intentionally fake out the viewers by showing a unique character model and then never doing anything about it.

By the way, this movie just made me feel like a massive idiot, because I never knew they had to go through the waterfall to get to Mother Nature's garden until watching it just now. All these years, I thought they just stopped at the rainbow falls to admire it before continuing on to her garden, and not once did I spot the little foot stones. I've been living a terrible lie.

All the idiots enter the raging waterfall and make their way into Mother Nature's garden, a wondrous paradise that seems awfully tropical and rainforest-like for a place that's supposed to be in Germany. In the land of feminine energy and fertility, we get two things. First, we get a cameo from Igor, a star from Filmation's previous movie, Pinocchio and The Emperor of the Night.

Igor predates Aladdin's Abu by about 5 years, meaning that Disney is ripping off of HIM.
Then, we get a song from Phyllis Diller, who happens to be Mother Nature. I'm not sure how Phyllis Diller of all people got roped into this movie, but I'm going to assume she had a total blast doing it, because Mother Nature's scenes are just filled with an energy that Snow White lacks. This deity doesn't just use magic to create new and exotic creatures; she's gotta do it while shaking her hips, crooning her heart out (while backed up by singing flowers with duck bills; yeah, it's a strange film), and laughing like she's just heard the best dumb blonde joke in the history of comedy, all while wearing an outfit that would make even the most hardcore hippie blush. Her scenes are short, but they're like an intoxicating elixir that leaves you begging for more. And now I wish the movie starred her.

Here's a woman that loves her job.
As you can see, Mother Nature in this film is a little bit different from other, more traditional interpretations of this character. In this movie, she's a bit of a hula-themed essentric mad scientist of a woman who creates life by mixing up random crap in her giant jugs (get your mind out of the gutter) and then pouring out liquid of various colors, which manifests animals at whim. It's an oddly complicated process for something that should come naturally for this woman, but hey, maybe she's doing it to spruce up the job she's had for millennia.

I do love Snow White's response to Mother Nature's song. Without moving a muscle, we see her jaw drop and she utters in a shocked tone "THAT'S Mother Nature!?". When your own characters are questioning the design choices made by your animation team, that's a bad sign.

"These hips don't lie!"
But for saying something negative about Phyllis Diller, she's quickly chastised by Cogsworth the Giant Sunflower, because if this movie lacked one thing, it's moments that make me want to pause my film and wonder if people seriously animated this or if I'm just imagining things. Don't tell me concept artists were actually paid to come up with something this repulsive!

I do love the look Snow White gives this sin against nature. This has truly been the weirdest twenty-four hours of her life.
"I could handle the dragon and the dwarf smearing mud underneath her armpits,
but a talking sunflower? That's just weird!"
We then get the portion of the movie I like to call "Random Activity for the Kids Scene", because for a minute or two, while Mother Nature is still singing, she creates hideous abominations that are somehow related to a pun and the movie expects us to play a guessing game. The characters don't even try to hide the fact that it's a game either, with each of them taking turns solving what each animal is supposed to be before Mother Nature fixes them. I guess the movie needed some lighthearted whimsy so that the children would forget about that nightmarish ghost face of the Wicked Queen's corpse, even if this scene is pretty monotonous when you're an adult.

I kind of wish Mother Nature kept the catfish the way it was instead of turning it into a normal fish. I would love to have one of those as a pet. Look at those big fishy lips! That would've been an awesome pet!

Okay, she's been making new species for millions of years. How can she still make mistakes like this!?
But once the song is over and Gaia actually sees that she has company, her mood suddenly turns sour and she acts like their presence in her Ferngully of a garden has instantly ruined her day, the way she treats them. Man, who knew Mother Nature was such an asshole?

"Look, can it wait? I'm busy filling Australia with thousands of poisonous animals."
Before she can even deal with Snow White (she just kind of ignores that Snow White even exists), she has to call Thunderella out on her negligence. She does this by summoning a list and saying, in really pretentious, long, overly scientific words, that Thunderella can't control the weather properly and sucks at her job. It's basically Mother Nature chewing the scenery, but hey, they paid for the famous actor. They might as well use her to the fullest.
"Oh, geez, would you look at that. According to The Butterfly Effect, you accidentally wiped out Atlantis this morning."
But Miss Frizzle is not done. She has to chew out every single Dwarfelle for gross misuse of powers. The dwarfs were given their powers in the first place to be there where Mother Nature couldn't and to create harmony, and she's mad that they keep fighting. She even points out the earthquakes and sunbeams that are manipulated in these fights, a clear sign that all seven dwarfelles are out of control.

Wait a second. Only Muddy and Sunburn are the ones with major issues. Why are you taking all of their powers if a lot of the other dwarfs are perfectly good-natured? Marina and Blossom weren't starting any fights! Why do they have to suffer too? This is just like your football coach making the whole team run a mile because of two dickweeds who won't stop giving each other purple nurples near the goal post. It's never fair and it just makes the team want to kill the people responsible.

...also, why did she give powers to seven random dwarfs anyways? Did they audition for the part, did they have to go through an apprenticeship first? We're supposed to accept the fact that Mother Nature just gave them these mystical god-like abilities and not wonder just what the hell they did to deserve them. The Seven Dwarfs didn't have powers! Why do they have powers? Explain, movie!

And while Mother Nature was yelling at the dwarfs, Snow White became a member of the living dead.
Snow White decides to defend the people she's only known for half a day, saying that the little female goblins should get a second chance since even Mother Nature makes mistakes. This argument manages to piss off Mother Nature, because she thinks she never makes mistakes. You know, even though we just saw her create a mouse with a door for a chest cavity. That takes some serious messing up to fail that badly in your own work.
"But if you never make mistakes, then explain the platypus!"
Mother Nature is firm with her decision that the dwarfelles will be stripped of their powers, so Snow White's going to need a miracle in order to save her friends. After all, she's going to need creatures with magical powers in order to fight a horrid bird.

Luckily, one comes in the form of Lord Maliss showing up out of nowhere!

...wait, what?
"Hey, sorry I'm late, but I had to burninate some countrysides."
Yep, it turns out Lord Maliss actually decided to make use of his amazing dragon majesty and attack Snow White, just like I wanted him to. Good job, villain, for actually remembering you have mystical powers! I have to wonder why he took so long to get to Mother Nature's garden, considering Snow White and her magical bodyguards had enough time to get to the place on foot and listen to a lovely sing-a-long, but I'm sure he had a good reason. Maybe he was destroying the Seven Dwarfelles's home, considering that place never makes an appearance in the movie ever again. It wouldn't be above Lord Maliss to engage in some spiteful property destruction.

But don't worry, guys. Mother Nature is the master of both her own domain and some incredibly silly-looking 80's special effects. Snow White is safe for now.

Okay, this is pretty awesome.
Lord Maliss isn't too bugged by the fact that he just got his ass handed to him by a woman wearing leis and comically oversized flowers, so he gives the Princess an offer she cannot refuse. He helpfully informs Snow White in his lovely, ever-mocking tone of voice that if she ever wants to find out what happened to "her precious Prince", she needs to go to his castle in The Realm of Doom. Houston, we have our plot!

Notice how he doesn't even disguise the fact that he's setting up a trap for her (I mean, geez, that's smart, going to the very place where he has the most control and power, when he's already ridiculously overpowered) and she still manages to fall for it anyway. Also, interesting switch in gender roles, having Snow White be the one that gets to rescue her prince. Kind of a progressive step for this fairy tale.

"I'll get you, Penelope Pitstop!"
In addition to the fact that Lord Maliss just cannot say a sentence without sounding like he's trying to win the award for "Most Hamtastic Villain", I also love the dwarfelles's faces when they see him transform and fly away. Those are the faces of people who know they're boned.

Yeah, I'm confident that these dwarfs will be able to beat this terrifying dragon monster.
Even though that sight of Lord Maliss turning into the most badass dragon horrid bird in the history of Filmation was probably enough to fill at least five dwarfelle panties with feces, Snow White is still determined she's going to save her prince. It's the least she can do after he helped her with that whole glass coffin and evil stepmother disguised as an old woman thing. Our hero even negotiates with Mother Nature in order to take the Seven Dwarfelles with her. Hey, if she's going to die, those little morons are going to die with her.

"No offense, but considering your stepmother killed you with fruit, I really doubt
you're able to kill a dragon with your bare hands."
So now Mother Nature's allowing this, because it gives the dwarfelles one last chance to prove themselves. And with her raid party gathered, Snow White can finally conquer the The Realm of Doom 8-man instance, which I heard drops some pretty amazing loot. I just hope Moonbeam doesn't screw it up for all of them and inadvertently gets them all killed.
"Remember, if you die, I'm going to deny that I ever had any part in this. I have a reputation to maintain."
And with that, I'm going to stop for now.

Well, this has been a fun couple of minutes so far, but like any cracktastic movie worth its salt, it's only going to get even crazier as time goes on. I'll see you next time, but for now, remember that Mother Nature is perfectly capable of handing you magic powers, just as long as you're willing to tolerate the fact that she can shoot Sith Lightning out of her body.

Mother Nature creates a strange cat/fish hybrid that leads you to Part 3!