Okay, okay, this review was easy for me because it’s one of my favorite movies. I enjoy animated movies, as for the majority of my childhood, I wanted to be an animator. Honestly, they don’t make good animated movies anymore- usually you have to rely on international to provide that- while there are good movies, they’re just not hand-drawn, and you lose that character and appreciation because it’s easier to make 3D films as opposed to hand drawn.
Anyway, let’s avoid any more ranting, and let’s dive into the review.
The story begins at an orphanage, with the older married couple, the Cherrywoods, telling the children a story about three kids with similar backgrounds. The first two are siblings, Kim and Jason, who are orphans after their parents abandons them- they obviously develop trust issues because they refuse to get attached to anyone out of fear they’d abandon them too. The third is a boy named Nicholas, who apparently has no parents either because he works at an amusement park, under the care of a magician named “The Great Fetuccini”. Fetuccini doesn’t have much respect for Nicholas because he’s always breaking his equipment, but Nicholas is so desperate for friends that he’s willing to do anything.
The Care Bears, who are the universal authority of love, caring, and friendship, reach out to these three kids in hopes to resolve the issues. Two of the Care Bears, Friend and Secret Bear, eventually take Kim and Jason to Care A Lot where they learn it’s okay to put themselves out there to be loved; however,Tenderheart Bear has bigger issues with Nicholas, because Nicholas somehow opens a cursed spell book that tricks him into making people feel as alone as he does. The spell book, only known as “The Evil Spirit” is determined to have no one in the world stop caring, but since Kim and Jason avoid the initial spell because they’re located elsewhere, the Evil Spirit now only targets them to get them to stop caring. The Care Bears, with introducing the Care Bear Cousins, try to arrive back on Earth to stop the Evil Spirit, and show Nicholas that they do care for him.
It’s really hard to critique on a beloved movie, because of an emotional attachment to it. However, the major problem I had is that this is a really dark movie for children, if that makes sense. First off, the three kids have no parents, and the story is told to kids who have no parents either. If you think about it, that’s sort of depressing. Then add to the fact that the Evil Spirit attempt to end the lives of not only the Care Bears, but Kim and Jason as well- I mean, they word it as “stop caring”, but they have a tree try to eat the children, and a marlin tries to drown the Care Bears by sucking them into a whirlpool. They try to make it seem more upbeat with montages, but it’s hard to remove that slight morbid mood the movie has set.
The animation, however, held up really well for being 28 years old, and it has that charm that hand drawn movies have- there are mistakes with the coloring, the background (for example, arcade is spelled aroade), and it just feels warm, taking you back to the day before digital inking and coloring. Of course, technology today is incredible, but it’s just too manufactured and perfect.
Honestly, it’s hard to compare this with its “sequel”, Care Bears II: A New Beginning, which remove any sort of canon the first movie sets. This movie has the Cousins and Bears separated, with the Cousins having no power and no knowledge that the Bears exist, but in the sequel, the Bears and Cousins are raised together and the Cousins have their powers without earning them. I don’t see why it’s a sequel, it’s a re-telling of the same beginning just with different characters. Regardless, both of movies are some of my personal favorites, because of the emotion they both bring me when I watch them. They never fail to tear me up, in a good way.
Overall, this movie does have its flaws, but it’s one I’d definitely show to kids, if or when I’ll have any around. Despite all of the bad things that happen to the kids and the Care Bears, you root for them because they have an amazing positive attitude. They never once gave up, even when things look dire, and they kept fighting when the odds looked to be against them. That’s one thing from the movie I hope the kids pick up, because it’s easier to give up, but it’s better if you keep trying. The one thing you’ll never lose is hope.