Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake - Glimmerberry Ball Movie

Like Berryfest Princess, Glimmerberry Ball is not really a movie, but three episodes strung together, each one focusing on a different aspect of Berry Bitty City's winter holiday, First Frost.

Strawberry Shortcake: The Glimmerberry Ball Movie

First Frost Gifts (Happy First Frost)
Winter has come to Berry Bitty City, and the Berrykins sing their theme from Sky's the Limit! as they work hard harvesting berries.  Meanwhile, at her cafe, Strawberry bashes something and ends up with a facefull of what looks like peanut butter but she informs us is applesauce.  The other girls, however, are busy preparing for their annual First Frost gift exchange by making some wrapping paper, which Mr. Longface walks in on.  As Strawberry vents her applesauce woes, it comes to light that the caterpillar hasn't been in the city for a year, so this is his very first First Frost.  The girls are quick to fill him in: around the solstice, the berries are harvested, lanterns are carved, and the whole thing is topped off with a fancy dress ball.  Longface doesn't see how presents fit into all that, but that's just what the girls do, with the Berrykins and the various other animals and insects having their own traditions.  They also mention that it's a Secret Santa-like exchange, and as they remember last year's gifts, Strawberry decides to let Longface in on this year's exchange.  He at first plays hard to get, but readily accepts.  And so, with the use of his hat, one by one they pick the name of their giftee.
Blueberry Muffin got Lemon Meringue, and she's certain that she's picked out the absolute perfect gift: an enormous tome on organizing books.  Though she is loathe to give it away, she totes it over to Lemon's as quickly as such a large gift will allow, dodging Raspberry Torte and Orange Blossom along the way.  She watches in secret as Lemon finds the package and takes it inside, amazed by receiving such a large gift, and leaves happy, but knowing she won't be getting a gift that's quite as awesome.
Though impressed by the size, once Lemon gets a look at the contents of her gift, she realizes that she not only doesn't have enough books to organize, she doesn't even have a big enough bookshelf to hold it.  So, quite naturally, she decides to regift it to her own giftee, Plum Pudding.  Plum is also quite taken with the gift's size, but less than enthused about the actual gift, and figures that her giftee, Orange, might like it better, since she likes sorting things.  And off she goes, narrowly escaping being seen by Mr. Longface, who is flirting with Miss Jadeybug (the ladybug I assume is Katie and Sadie's mom).  She unloads the package and doesn't even stick around to see Orange's reaction, which is the same as the other two girls. By now you can probably figure out where this is going.
Strawberry, meanwhile, got Mr. Longface, and so she dons her mountain-climbing gear and heads for the nearest mountain in search of the perfect plant for his croquet club.  Being away from the city means she misses all the shenanigans as the girls one by one regift the book, until finally it gets back to Blueberry.  At first she squees over the size, just like the rest, and then geeks out over the various ways of organizing listed, until it hits her that this gift bears a striking resemblance to the one she gave Lemon.  She resolves to get to the bottom of this, secrecy or no secrecy.  Her first stop: Lemon's salon.
Under the guise of getting a wash and trim, she casually chats it up with Lemon, mentioning that she hasn't given her gift yet in order to get Lemon to spill the beans on what she got.  To preserve the honor of First Frost, Lemon attempts to cover her voice with her hair dryer, but is too quiet to be heard.  Eventually Blueberry hears that the book was regifted to Plum, and she takes off without even getting her hair rinsed.  She uses similar tactics on Plum and Orange, though neither comes right out and says who their giftee was, like Lemon, though they do accidentally give an all-too-obvious clue.  As Blueberry runs to question Raspberry, she stops to put together the chain of regifting so far, and realizes that Raspberry might have given her the book, or Strawberry, or even Mr. Longface, whom she'd forgotten about until now.  She can't fathom why no one would like her gift, but continues on.
Skipping Raspberry, she goes to see Strawberry instead, and walks in on her wrapping a hibiscus flower in a little pot.  Caught, Strawberry reassures Blueberry that the flower isn't for her, but Mr. Longface.  Blueberry points out that hisbiscus "makes your nose itch," and Strawberry has been sneezing along the way, but she simply replies that Mr. Longface has been wanting a hibiscus, so it's the perfect gift for him.  Hearing this, Blueberry thinks of her regifted book and gets a little down.  Strawberry asks what's wrong, so Blueberry asks her if she happened to get a big gift that she didn't like.  Strawberry has no idea what she's talking about, so Blueberry fills her in on the whole regifting thing.  She still can't understand why nobody liked the book, but Strawberry points out that a book about something Lemon actually cares about (like skincare or watercolor painting, apparently) might have been better received.  Finally it dawns on Blueberry that she should have put more thought in the gift, and she goes off to rectify her mistake.  Strawberry also gets going, so she can deliver her gift before she sneezes herself into a coma.
Despite the gift exchange being secret, Blueberry delivers her new gift in person so she can explain to Lemon about what a bad giftgiver she was.  Seeing a more appropriate book, Lemon realizes that she gave a pretty bad gift, too, and thus begins a chain of giving and inspiration, with each girl getting a present that's more suited to them.  Though she was glad to get the Big Book of Book Sorting, Blueberry is even more pleased with the set of stationary that Raspberry gave her, since actual thought went into this gift.
That evening, the girls show off their gifts at Strawberry's cafe, and Blueberry starts to make a speech of apology, but all the other girls hijack it to make their own apologies, and so there's forgiveness and a promise to always think of the giftee all around.  At which point the girls realize that Strawberry hasn't shown off her gift yet.  So she pulls out her gift, a new applesauce maker, which by process of elimination must have come from Mr. Longface.  The girls crow over what a thoughtful and practical gift he gave, and Strawberry sneezes, heralding the arrival of the caterpillar himself.  Surprised that Strawberry figured out he was her gifter, he is nonetheless pleased that she liked it, and puzzled that he hasn't received a gift of his own.  Strawberry advises him to make sure his name isn't still in his hat, and he knocks it off, leaving her gift to him (somehow) still on his head.  With all the gifts given, Strawberry declares it a perfect First Frost, and sneezes.

Glimmerberry Gathering (A Circle of Friends)
As the next part opens, the Berrykins are hard at work raking and clearing the area for the Glimmerberry Gathering, the part of First Frost that involves lanterns, and extra emphasis is put on teamwork by the foreman, who gets whacked in the face by a branch for his troubles (or for not counting to three fast enough, take your pick).  As the wind picks up, the leaves are swept up, but thankfully are not blown all over the area again, but instead take a detour into Berry Bitty City.  As Strawberry prepares to decorate for First Frost, she enlists the help of Custard and Pupcake in cleaning the cafe, and the wind blows in the door, spreading leaves all over the place.  Strawberry shivers and comments that cold weather is moving in, but she doesn't put on a sweater or anything, just starts sweeping up the leaves.  As she sweeps, Strawberry finds a dusty box that she's never noticed before, despite it just being behind her counter.  Inside is a book that she recognizes as one they used to read for First Frost.  Rediscovering the story of the first winter in Berry Bitty City, she decides to have a reading of it at her cafe and runs off to invite everyone over, all thoughts of cleaning forgotten (or at least, postponed).
At Raspberry's, Strawberry finds her friend putting the finishing touches on this year's winter collection.  Looking over the designs, she approves, calling them one-of-a-kind.  Which is exactly what Raspberry was going for, and she even vows to keep working all night, if that's what it takes.  Strawberry heads off again to let Raspberry work in peace, but not before inviting her over for the reading.  Though she had just said she wasn't going to stop working until her designs were perfect, she promises to be there.  That evening, Strawberry welcomes everyone in, including Mr. Longface, and Princess Berrykin (with a handful of Berrykins in tow), who reminisces about "the old days."  And so everyone gathers round and Strawberry begins reading the story to remind everyone about the true meaning of the Glimmerberry Gathering.  She tells of when Berry Bitty City was even bittier than it is now, and how the first inhabitants of the town (all Berrykins) planted the berry plants that would later power the whole town, and how harsh that first winter was, a winter that threatened to kill all the plants.  As she gets to the part where the first glimmerberry lanterns were carved, the other girls keep interrupting, talking about the lanterns they plan to carve this year.  Though Strawberry tries to get the story back on track so she can get to the reason for carving lanterns, she is powerless to keep everyone in the cafe once Raspberry announces her intention to not only carve the best lantern design ever, but to start designing it right away.  The other girls leave to start work on their lanterns, too, leaving only Strawberry and Princess Berrykin.  Too disheartened to finish the story, Strawberry puts the book away, while Princess Berrykin basically tells her, "Better luck next time."
Raspberry works late into the night, trying to come up with a lantern design that is 100% original, and after many failed attempts, she finally latches onto an idea that she likes.  As she pins the finished drawing on the wall, Lemon drops in unannounced, and Raspberry is quick to hide her design.  Lemon insists she didn't see it, and anyway, she came by to borrow some drawing paper so she can get her design down before she forgets it.  Raspberry approves of this, and lends her the paper.
The next day, the girls are busy picking out the perfect glimmerberries for carving.  Raspberry tries to keep even her berry a secret from the others, and rushes right home to carve it.  A bit later, she hears the sound of the other girls heading to Strawberry's to show off their designs, and decides to come along, though with no intention of actually showing her design.  She gets there a little later than the others, just in time to see Plum show off her design, which is almost exactly the same as hers.  Orange then shows hers, which is also very similar.  As is Lemon's and Blueberry's.  Raspberry accuses Orange of copying her, which Orange naturally denies.  When asked how Orange could have copied her design without even seeing it, Raspberry comes up with a chain of copying that goes back to Lemon, who did, after all, catch a very, very brief glimpse of her design.  Raspberry gets very emotional over this apparent design theft, since she put her whole heart into her design, and declares that if she can't be original, she won't carve a berry at all, and she certainly won't be going to the Gathering.  Strawberry insists that they can't have the Gathering without everyone, but Raspberry simply walks off.
Raspberry's accusations have spread seeds of doubt among the girls, as they each wonder if maybe one of them did copy from another.  This eventually escalates into a shouting match outside the cafe that not even Strawberry can smooth over, ending with no one wanting to go to the Gathering.  Strawberry reports all this to Princess Berrykin, who sees no course of action but to cancel the celebration if there can be no cooperation, much to Strawberry's dismay.  Moping in the cafe, she goes to put the book away and notices something familiar about the box.  Suddenly everything makes sense!  Strawberry calls for a meeting at the cafe, urging everyone to come.  Once there, she tells them it's time to finish the story she began the other night, though none of them see why, since the Gathering has been cancelled.  But they stay and listen, at Strawberry's urging.
Strawberry picks up where she left off, with the young plants survival in doubt.  She then tells of the littlest Berrykin's plan to carve lanterns to keep the plants warm, which was scoffed at by the other Berrykins until they realized it was their last hope.  And so they all worked together and saved the plants, but only because every single one of them helped.  Thus, Strawberry reads, the Gathering is about depending on each other, friends helping friends.  Hearing the end of the story, Raspberry realizes how badly she's behaved, but before she can apologize, Strawberry shows off the box, which has the exact same design on it that all the girls drew for their lanterns.  Everyone realizes that they must have seen the box and subconsciously remembered it later, and Raspberry makes with the apologizing.  This gets everyone else apologizing for accusing each other, and Strawberry notes that frost is forming on the windows, meaning it's time for the Gathering.  Everyone goes off to carve up a lantern quick, and Strawberry gets the glowbugs (who provide the lanterns' light).  With the lanterns carved and ready, everyone heads out in their winter gear for the Glimmerberry Gathering, all set to a song.

Glimmerberry Ball
The harvest is over, leaving the Berrykins free to revel in the first snow of the season, while the girls stay inside and drink hot apple cider at Strawberry's cafe.  When queried on what makes her cider so good, Strawberry has no hesitation about revealing her secret ingredients: orange rind, lemon juice, cinnamon, and warm wishes.  Aw.  As Pupcake chases his favorite ball around, the girls express their desire for snow, unaware that fat flakes are already falling.  But the cries of the Berrykins draw the girls to the window, and they start listing their favorite things about winter, with Plum the most enthusiastic for the Glimmerberry Ball.  She starts visualizing the cafe all set up and decorated for the ball, when a group of Berrykins burst in for some cider.  The sudden crowd makes it clear that there won't be enough room in the cafe for the ball this year; apparently there weren't as many Berrykins last year.  So the girls don their winter apparel and set off in search of a suitable space for the ball.
Sometime later, most of the girls return, dejected, having had no luck.  But just as Strawberry is telling them to warm up and try again, Plum bursts in, full of news: she found the perfect place!  She leads them all to an enormous tree, and laughs when Blueberry thinks she meant the branches.  Turns out the inside has been hollowed out, and indeed, it does seem perfect.  Since Plum found the space, Strawberry asks her to take charge of the whole event, which Plum is all too ready to do, instantly delegating the tasks.  After all, there's only two days before the ball.
By the end of the next day, nearly everything is done, giving them an extra day to do some fancier stuff.  Plum insists that there's still plenty to do, so they agree to meet up first thing tomorrow morning.  Good thing, too, since when they arrive the next morning, they find everything they set up has been torn up or knocked over.  As the girls start to put everything back the way it was, Plum tries to figure out who could have down such a thing.  No one from Berry Bitty City, that's for sure.  Whoever it is, Plum vows to make them pay.
Strawberry, in the mean time, has spent the past day baking up all the goodies for the ball, and just has the cranberry cookies to finish up.  But as she tries to boil the cranberry (remember, these girls are tiny), Pupcake keeps getting in her way.  She's distracted further by her cellphone ringing; it's Plum, who fills her in on what happened, and their plan to keep watch over the decorations all night.  Strawberry plans to join them once she's done with her baking, and tries to boil the cranberry again, only for Pupcake to intervene, knocking her into the snacks piled on the counter, creating a domino effect of ruined treats.  So much for joining the other girls.  After ending her call with Plum, Strawberry notices Pupcake going after the cranberry and rolling it to her, which makes her realize that Pupcake thought it was his ball, which is why he was going crazy back there.  She finds the real ball and gets back to cooking.
Back at the tree, the girls are waiting and ready to catch anyone sneaking in, but it doesn't take long for their reserves to crack.  The wood of the tree *is* pretty hard, which makes Raspberry think of how soft the ripped up streamers were.  Despite Plum's misgivings, they bring some back in and pile it up, and quite nearly fall asleep, when suddenly there's a noise!  Plum shines her flashlight on the intruders, a pair of chipmunks.  But chipmunks or not, Plum refuses to let anything ruin the ball, and shoos the chipmunks away.  With the offending animals gone, the girls head back home to bed, but not before Plum ropes off the entrance.
The next day, the girls show off their dresses for the ball at Strawberry's cafe, and then head for the tree, with Strawberry arriving later with the food.  To their dismay, they find that the ropes were no match for chipmunks, and after doing a little quoting from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, discover the chipmunks are still there, sound asleep.  Plum accuses them of trying to ruin the ball and chases them off by banging together a couple of bowls.  With almost no time left, the girls start to get the room back in order, but are chased off themselves when the chipmunks drop acorns on them.  Fuming, the girls resolve to teach the chipmunks a lesson they'll never forget, and send the chipmunks packing by tricking them onto a sled.  But the chipmunks strike back by luring the girls outside and then sending a giant snowball careening right into them, leaving only snowgirls in their wake.  Even so, Plum refuses to give up.
Not that her next plan is anything particularly clever, as the girls just chase the chipmunks out of the tree by making noise again.  With the munks gone, they barricade the entrance with some of the tables and chairs, but the chipmunks simply sneak in the top and steal the girls' dresses.  Any retaliation is preempted by the arrival of Strawberry Shortcake, who is quickly filled in.  Strawberry is surprised to hear that chipmunks were behind all the trouble, since they're usually pretty timid.  But seeing the ripped up streamers and hearing what a comfortable bed they make brings the answer to light: the chipmunks see the girls as the intruders on their hibernation spot.  Plum still doesn't get it, so Strawberry tells them about her escapade with Pupcake the other day, and asks the girls to think about things from the chipmunks' point of view.  With this in mind, the girls, Plum especially, are full of remorse, and realize that they have to move their stuff.  But what about the ball, you say?  Well, Strawberry has an idea (of course).
With a peace offering of nuts, Plum apologizes to the chipmunks and pitches the idea of making the Glimmerberry Ball into a Hibernation Ball, with all the guests bringing food for the chipmunks.  The chipmunks approve, and bring back the dresses.  And so the ball is on, with girls, Berrykins, bugs, and chipmunks alike rocking out to Strawberry's latest song "Never Say Never."  After the party, as the girls clean up, they declare  (quietly) that it was the best ball yet, and that just like Strawberry's cider, the extra element of helping the chipmunks made it more special.  As they leave, Plum tucks extra streamers over the chipmunks, who have already begun their hibernation.
So, from what we learned here, First Frost basically combines elements of Halloween (carving lanterns), Thanksgiving (it commemorates the original settlers surviving a harsh winter), and Christmas (it happens in winter and involves gifts).  One thing that bugs me about it, though, is the fact that it's called First Frost, when it happens on the solstice (it isn't mentioned by name, but Blueberry mentions that it's the shortest day of the year), and it seems to me that it should have been getting frosty in the mornings at least long before then.  But then again, maybe it's too much to ask a world where lilliputian girls can converse with bugs but not chipmunks to make sense.
In general, the animation seemed to be better this time around than in Berryfest Princess, though still not as good as Sky's the Limit!  And frankly, when the actual TV series finally starts in a little under a month, I hope that not all the episodes are quite so formulaic as these three were.  And that Postmaster Bee will have more speaking parts.  He only had a couple of cameos this time around, as did Katie and Sadie.  And when's their mom gonna get some lines at all, huh?  Though perhaps its better that she doesn't speak, so my headcanon of her having a latina accent won't be ruined (I don't know why, but I just expect her to sound like Hilda from Ugly Betty).
....I think I ship Mr. Longface and Miss Shadeybug....

Bonus Screenshots:
Blueberry just can't figure it out
Orange describes her daring secret gift giving
The Berrykins like this part of the story
Katie and Sadie get a cameo
Custard on a berry
Berrykins fooling around
Raspberry thinks the streamers make a good bed
Katie and Sadie at the ball
Raspberry has a cute earring
Longface and Shadeybug at the ball
Lemon and Blueberry in their dresses
Orange and Raspberry in their dresses
Plum with the chipmunks

No comments: