Arch Stanton Guest Post: Alaska Fairbanks Hockey Video

As an elementary school kid in the 90’s, I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan, because all children are front running dicks. I liked Michael Jordan, he seemed cool, and Scottie Pippen seemed to be good at basketball, and Dennis Rodman was like a circus clown in sneakers (flash forward two decades, and this is a remarkably quaint view of Dennis Rodman, international intermediary for North Korea). I did not like Karl Malone, he was boring, or John Stockton, because his shorts were too short, or the Utah Jazz as a whole, because what the hell did Jazz have to do with Utah? I have since learned the Utah team was the result of a relocation of a franchise originally from New Orleans, but my distrust of the Jazz for their appropriation of the concept to the least jazzy state persists.

The further away from the Chicago Bulls heyday of the 90s’s, the more I think I was really just a fan of the otherworldly videography of their entrance video ( The then-hip CGI bulls stampeding through Chicago with the building music with some dramatically dated synth solos – how could you NOT be on board for the Bulls after that? I thought nothing would replace the magnetism or energy-generating buzz of this video, but then I saw the University of Alaska Nanooks 2010 hockey introduction video, and guys, it transcends all mortal bounds. You may be thinking “well that seems a bit hyperbolic”, but you have not watched this video yet. ( Let go piece by piece through the finest piece of film work since Orson Welles put “Citizen Kane” to tape.

0:00 – 0:13: We open on the Northern Lights, because our director understands setting the stage for the location of our film is essential. The Alaska Nanooks logo fades into frame — are we suggesting this is a heretofore undiscovered constellation? Let’s go with that.

0:14 to 0:30: Upon unveiling the new constellation… what’s this I hear? IT’S THE CHICAGO BULLS ENTRANCE MUSIC! Greatness pays homage to it’s predecessors. I don’t know about you guys, but I am harder than diamond cutter right, and we have barely scratched the surface.

We further set the scene with an icebreaker crashing through some ice floe on a snowy night. I was never one for these extreme fishing shows, but man, being a sailor seems like a shitty, shitty job. And what is this ship doing way out here anyway? There’s no trade route that goes through ice floe, there’s nothing to discover, and there’s no reason to be out here. This seems like a very undesirable mission if you ask me.

0:31 – 0:32: The icebreaker has uncovered a polar bear frozen below the surface of the water; I’m no zoologist, but I’m pretty sure a normal polar bear could not survive being frozen in ice no matter how durable they are in the cold. Fortunately for this bear, he is no normal bear. He is RAIDEN, the lightning god of polar bears. Yes, the polar bear has been awakened, and a curse has been unleashed on this planet like nothing even the Old Testament could have predicted. THUNDER BEAR, because a regular polar bear wasn’t intimidating enough.

0:33 – 0:50: Thunder Bear stands up, suddenly escaped from his frozen prison. I wish he would share his secret to thawing because I always get annoyed when trying to thaw out frozen meat, and end up going to Taco Bell after waiting ten minutes for it to thaw.

A quick bit of research show that the United States Coast Guard primarily uses the Polar Star model of icebreakers, and according to Wikipedia, this ship is 137 feet tall measured from the waterline; Thunder Bear stands almost double that, with his hindquarters still below the waterline standing on… something. This bear is essentially Godzilla, right down the the as-of-yet undefined superpowers.

We don’t have to wait long to define this superpowers, as Polar Bear Raiden metastasizes a fucking hockey stick like it’s Excalibur. Before the crew can even start rationalizing the **literally unbelievable** shit unfolded before them, Thunder Bear uses Hockey Stick Excalibur to hack the ship in half for no reason. What did this ship do to warrant that type of response, bear? This seems like an unreasonable reaction, but polar bears are violent and territorial creatures, so maybe it was justified. The ship, breaking apart a la the Titanic if it snorted a dumpster full of crystal meth, explodes. To answer the previous question about what is this ship doing in the Arctic circle in the middle of the night, we now know the answer – shipping what appears to be 5,000 tons of dynamite.

All of this unfolds to “Self Control” by Laura Branigan, because we need to borrow from the Miami Vice soundtrack to round this out. We are LIVING, you guys.

0:51 – 1:02: IT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING “DANGER ZONE”. I am confident Kenny Loggins did not sign off on the use of his signature track for this video, but once he saw this batshit insane video, I bet he could not be more enthusiastic about its inclusion. Thunder Bear pulls on his aviators while piloting his own jet now that, hinging on the previous estimates of his size, must be thousands of feet across wingtip to wingtip. Awesome. Seeing as how we have moved from Raiden Polar Bear to a Top Gun homage, we will now refer to him as “Ice Bear”. I hope Val Kilmer appreciates the hat tip.

Two more enormously-sized-yet-pilot-capable bears join Ice Bear, which is surely a bad sign. Seeing three superpower-infused polar bears piloting the finest American jet fighters reminds me of a Genghis Khan’s quote: “I am the punishment of God –  if you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.” Whatever these bears are after is FUCKED. Our copilots (both in helmets, by the way, whereas Ice Bear is not – I hope he’s being safe up there because he is surely violating OSHA workplace safety laws without a helmet) give Ice Bear a signal, which probably isn’t advisable in a real fire fight because how would you see hand gestures in a plane flying hundreds of miles an hour through massively expanses of sky but anyway, he jerks the gear shift down. In reality, this motion would redirect the plane into a downward trajectory, but this isn’t reality, and two missiles are fired.

1:03 – 1:08: The missiles hit Miami University (in Ohio), Ohio State University and Michigan State University. We won’t address the impossibility of hitting all three schools spread across the Midwest with only two missiles , but we will say this seems like another egregious example of unwarranted hostility. I’m sure there are plenty of people in those schools who don’t care about hockey and are pro-polar bears, and you just blew them all up.

1:08 – 1:22: The next target is acquired: a volcano. Ice Bear drops a dumb bomb into the volcano that, predictably, causes a wild and unrealistic explosion. The explosion proceeds to vaporize the Earth, which explodes in a manner similar to the Death Star. Ice Bear has destroyed the earth in order to fire us up for a hockey game, except we’re all dead now and there’s nowhere to play a hockey game now that the planet has been reduced to dust. Ice Bear is extremely shortsighted.

1:23 – 1:38: Ice Bear is now flying his terrestrial aircraft through a wormhole in space, because your reality is a figment of a far more advanced being’s concept of the universe. This wormhole looks suspiciously like the one Han Solo had to fly through in order to make the Kessel Run in “Solo”. The ship then blows apart because, again, this is a plane meant to fly in the earth’s atmosphere now flying through space, but Ice Bear continues to survive based on sheer will, and is now flying through the wormhole using Hockey Stick Excalibur as his guiding force (where was that thing stashed in that plane? I can only suspend my belief so much, but it is just too much to pretend that hockey stick was tucked away in the cabin of that jet). This part feels like Leia floating through space in “The Last Jedi”. This video came out in 2010, mind you – this video predicted key parts of two Star Wars movies that were still years away.

1:39 – 1:41: In case you remained curious about where this hockey game was going to occur, Ice Bear exits the wormhole to find a hockey arena on a little plat of earth like it’s a gas station in “Futurama”. I mean, sure. Whatever you say at this point.

1:42 – 1:49: Ice Bear crashes through ceiling (that would certainly delay the start of the impending game, if not result in it’s cancellation in order to remove DOZENS OF STEEL BEAMS off the ice), somersaults onto his feet, WHICH HAVE ICE SKATES ON THEM. You’re telling me this gigantic bear flew a jet plane, blew up the earth, traveled through a wormhole, then flew through space without any protective gear, all while wearing ice skates? Ice Bear shows he is one helluva skater as he carves his way down the ice. Either Ice Bear has returned to normal polar bear sized, or this ice rink is enormous.

1:49 – 2:11: Ice Bear slaps home a goal (really a layup without a goalie in the cage but whatever), and the goal proceeds to explode, because apparently everything explodes like we’re in a Michael Bay movie now. The bear roars as the flames rage behind him, because Ice Bear is cool as shit (see also: aviators) and would never look at the explosion going on behind him. The camera fades, the Alaska Nanooks constellation resurfaces, and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” starts blaring. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some motherfucking hockey.

If you didn’t watch the video and merely relied on me to recount what some may call a bonkers YouTube video but I would call film making mastery, I implore you to watch for yourself. It is even crazier than it sounds. And less you think this is the craziest thing ever, THERE’S ANOTHER ONE (! This video from 2007 features another bear in space, but this time he looks like if Ted Cruz was a polar bear, but the bear was the Star Child from “2001: A Space Odyssey”, the same three songs, and a satellite being slapped into space. I cannot wait for the sequel where we all live inside Thunder Bear’s extreme imagination.

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