For those of you who have not seen this movie (which, based on box office figures, is probably about 99.7% of the U.S. population, 99.9% if you factor in immigration and emigration since 1986), the Smooze was quite a staggering villain to put the ponies up against. But then again, it would be kind of staggering to put the ponies up against a barn door with a dead bolt.
The Smooze is a planet killer — a Grey Goo / Von Neumann Machine / Ice-9 / stable strangelet analog, except it’s sort of purple with big googlie eyes and sings like the Big Bopper. Heck since we are a tremendously popular Web site that might reach people who haven’t heard of such things, let me explain them:
Grey Goo — Grey Goo is a nightmare scenario related to the study and development of nanotechnology. In this scenario, a self-replicating nanobot is developed that can use basic materials — like, say, carbon, nitrogen and water — to reproduce itself. It then does so to an unlimited and accelerating degree, swallowing all life on the surface of the Earth.
Von Neumann Machine — A Von Neumann Machine is the more general concept, advanced by the
Evil Nazi Scientist turned Awesome American Scientist Very Much Not A Nazi Who Fled The Country Before The War turned Awesome American Scientist and early game theorist John Von Neumann. It speaks to a machine that can self-replicate with commonly available materials, swallowing either the Earth or the Universe (as the Manfred Drones do in the Canadian-Sci-Fi-show-I-reference-too-much-because-nobody-has-seen-it-and-those-who-have-didn’t-like-it Lexx).
(I guess Von Neuman Machines, being largely theoretical, could possibly sing like the Big Bopper in practice. It’s also possible that the Big Bopper himself was a Von Neuman machine, and that’s why he had to die in that tragic plane crash. Neither of these conjectures are likely.)
Ice-9 — In the Kurt Vonnegut novel Cat’s Cradle, Ice-9 is a crystal structure for water that is solid at a temperature higher than that of conventional ice (this is based on fact — crystal structures often do form solids of the same material at different potential energies). Crystals propagate themselves when placed in fluid of the same composition and a suitable temperature, so if Ice-9 were to get into the world’s water supply, all the water on Earth would freeze over, effectively killing all life on the planet.
Stable strangelet — “Strange” is one of the flavors of quarks (along with “Up,” “Down,” “Top,” “Bottom,” and “Charm”), and a “strangelet” is a mass composed entirely of strange quarks that have collapsed on each other. Such a mass would have no atomic or molecular structure and would be very dense, with a very low potential energy. Stable ones are generally believed to be impossible — they revert to other types of matter in a normal environment, and in extreme ones, the repulsion of strange quarks’ positive electrical charge prevents them from forming — but if one were to exist, it could have the potential to convert any matter near it into “strange matter” similarly to how a crystal propagates in a suitable fluid.
If the folks at the Large Hadron Collider manage to produce a stable strangelet, there is a nonzero probability that it could plunge into the center of the Earth and swallow it whole, leaving a golf-ball-sized blot the same mass as our home planet (As The Tick says, “But that’s where I keep all my stuff!”) orbiting the sun. From reading reams and reams of anger on Internet message boards, I’ve determined that this is why Ron Paul wants us to return to the gold standard.
I don’t know about you all, but I have had weeks’ worth of nightmares about each of these things, so the Smooze is in good company.
A bunch of witches concoct the Smooze from magical ingredients to use as a weapon against the My Little Ponies (who show little interest in fighting back), and then let it loose on the world, where it sweeps across the terrain, growing as it consumes more and more territory, until it looks likely to cover the entire world.
Once it covers an area, because of a flaw in its formulation — a lazy witch leaves out a key ingredient, “flume,” in a blunder reminiscent of the unfortunately prophetic Richard-Pryor-screws-up-while-making-kryptonite scene in Superman III — the Smooze loses its viscosity and crusts over with an impenetrable shell. This slows down its advance somewhat, but only temporarily, as the googly-eyed part of it still marches forward — and maybe the witches get flume in it at some point. I’m just a bit too lazy to fact-check that right now. Hope that doesn’t ruin your day.
At any rate, the Pony world looks likely to spend the last few billion years of its life before it is pulled into the expanding Pony sun as a barren purple-grey rock face — unless these ornamental horses can stop the Smooze. And as the song says, Nothing Can Stop the Smooze!
Considering how many happy woodland creatures are trying to erect crude barricades before being swept aside and murdered by this stuff, My Little Pony: The Movie probably rocked 1986 with a higher death toll than Top Gun, Platoon and Aliens put together.
lol i am one of those people who saw it on video! in the times before there were dvds :)
I’m pretty sure I sat through this one. Or maybe my mother took my daughter and I got to stay home. My daughter was 5 at the time and a fierce collector of these ponies, so of course she had to see the movie. I do know I sat through a Care Bears movie and something called “Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night” which even my daughter at 6 was able to poke fun at. I think that pretty much ended that phase of bad animated movie viewing. The ’80s!
ADULT ME: Well done, Pete! This was a cleverly-conceived, epically-executed article. Most importantly, it made me laugh.
KID ME: Oooh do one on Care Bears!!! Or Rainbow Brite! WEEEEEE I want CANDY
You really brought your A game on this one, Pete. I think it speaks to the quality of your post that it has me – inconceivably – curious as to how the plot of the MLP movie is resolved.
Is it sadder that I can basically answer Stokes’s question myself, or that I was able to sing along with the musical clips? That’s how often I made my parents and grandparents rent it for me. But they never hunkered down an bought it. Why not, I have no idea.
This thrilled me inside… Mostly because I not only saw this movie I OWNED it… And watched it obsessively. Bravo sir.
I wonder if they’ve released this on dvd yet…
I watched it on VHS a lot when I was a kid. Not as much as I did the Transformers Movie which I saw actually saw in the theaters. Great job, Fenzel. More 80s cartoons articles please!
perfect. so perfect it was copied over to another great moment of my childhood
1995’s MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS THE MOVIE
the grundle king did some experimenting in college and came back alive and kicking as Ivan ooze.
dont even pretend like its not possible
Oh I LOVE this movie! I believe they DID re-release it recently on dvd, along with a lot of the episodes from the tv series. The artwork on the covers is different, not the original style ponies, but the actual videos are the same as the 80’s. Fabulous stuff to watch when you need to be cheered up!
Great heroes are often defined by their villains. Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader. He-Man had Skeletor. U.S. Grant had Robert E. Lee.
and G. W. B. had O. B. L.
Imagine having this on your resume as a writer, director or animator. Low mumble: “yeah, and I worked on My Little Pony…” All those bright colors must eventually drive an animator insane.
Calling John von Neumann “An Evil Nazi Scientist” is pretty much defamation of character and detracts from an otherwise interesting article. He was a Hungarian Jew born in Budapest and his family moved to the United States in 1930, three years before the Nazis came to power in Germany. During WWII he was one of the major players in the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos New Mexico.
Yes, my apologies. I confused John Von Neumann with Werner Von Braun. That’s entirely unacceptable, and I apologize to Von Neumann and his family.
“…how often I made my parents and grandparents rent it for me. But they never hunkered down an bought it. Why not, I have no idea.”
Likely because they knew that if you had to nag them into renting it, it would be around for a couple days and then it would be weeks again before you got annoying enough that they’d do it again to Shut You The Hell Up.
But if they *bought* it for you – three (or more) times a day, seven days a week, till they killed either the VCR, you, or themselves…
Oh, you are too hard on it. And you seem to be of the male persuasion as well. Being born in 1980, I was on this like jam on bread. I had no idea though that it was ever in a theater, so I’d assume the marketing for it was not good. Once it was on VHS though, it was worn out by me. I even remember the Flutter Ponies sequel – and Flutter Ponies were a gold standard in our Kindergarden class. Sure, part of my love is nostalgia, and it definitely didn’t have a well thought out plot or characters, but you had to be a little girl in the ’80s to understand. That said, I’d still watch that any day over the modern animated movies coming out that are geared toward girls.
Fairportfan: So would that also be why they never bought _Gettysburg_ for me, too? I mean, I had them rent it so often that the video store gave it to us because the tapes got so worn down…
Yeah, I was/am *that* nerdy and at *that* early of an age.
Can you do one on Gem and the Holograms?