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The Care Bears Movie (1985)
This movie grows cuter with every viewing...and has never aged!
Despite many criticizing the pre-Renaissance 1980's as the worst-ever decade for the animation industry, it produced memorable films like "NIMH 1", "An American Tail", "LBT 1" (all three produced by Don Bluth), "Oliver & Company" (Disney), and this, one of the first full-length cartoons ever to be based on a toy franchise.
From the Canadian company Nelvana comes the first installment in a trilogy of big-screen movies centering on the Care Bears and the Care Bear Cousins follows the adventures of Kim and Jason, two small children who feel that people don't care for them enough. At the start of the movie, they are starting to be befriended by the Bears when Friend and Secret Bear come by them on the city streets.
This mild-mannered masterpiece (if not a real classic in the wake of "Rock & Rule", also produced by Nelvana, as well as the Disney films of the early 90's) is so sweet, you'll think the whole world needs more films than this and not slice-fests like Q & U's "Kill Bill".
ALSO RECOMMENDED: Nelvana's Care Bears show (all of season 1 and a few in season 2), the next two Care Bears films, and "My Little Pony: The Movie".
Compared to the likes of "Rings", "Chihiro" and "Belleville", this is completely downright FORGETTABLE.
It was but two and a half years ago that I saw an ad for this Miramax/Hyperion straight-to-DVD release on TV. From what I saw in it, I hoped it was nice and looked forward to it.
Then, on the morning of Sunday, February 20th, at noon, it premiered on the Disney Channel. Still expecting something nice, I gave it my best shot...
And what can I say? From the looks of things, DTV cartoons don't get any much worse than this...
It's such a living shame that the studio who brought a talking toaster and his friends to the world in the 80's--by that I mean Hyperion--is setting its standards down in this horrible marriage of two famous fairy tales. The animation is the most cheaply-made I have ever encountered, some of the lines are among the industry's bluest, and the musical rampage--well, what can I ever think about that?--is just forgettable.
The film suffers mainly in its two biggest problems:
1) Elijah Wood--aka Frodo the Hobbit--starring as Tom, among all people?! As miscast as "The Wiz's" Diana Ross playing a grown-up Dorothy, and "Hook's" Robin Williams in the role of (ironically) the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan. Why couldn't they get anyone younger than that?
2) Just how on earth can two people, who have never met each other, reunite?!! One of the biggest plot holes ever discovered in a cartoon. (Indeed...you have been WARNED!!!)
Even puzzling is the participation of Bebe Neuwirth from "All Dogs 2", as Thumbelina's mom, and..."America" author Jon Stewart?
So, for those before me who have watched it, I urge you to steer clear of this mess, and stick with either the 1994 Don Bluth version of "Thumbelina", or MGM's 1959 adaptation of "tom thumb"!
ALSO RECOMMENDED: Pirates of the Caribbean 1, the LOTR trilogy, The Triplets of Belleville, Sen to Chihiro... (Spirited Away), Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias, The Brave Little Toaster, and the Shrek films.
6\10 -- A good watch for all its detestable worth, but (unless you're under age 5 and don't have any good sense of Hollywood) not worth watching again in your lifetime.
CGI animation never had so much heart...or so much torture.
(OK, sorry I haven't reviewed any movie for a really long time at IMDb--not since "Holes" last Independence season--but, here goes...)
In 2004, audiences were enchanted by one of the best animated sequels of all time, "Shrek 2", and later were wowed by the action-packed power of the superhero family, "The Incredibles"--and both were made in CGI. But in between, and a little after, these two blockbusters, a series of unfortunate events (not the Lemony Snicket kind) became stumbling blocks in the industry: among these mediocre messes came "Pride", "Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy", "The Polar Express", and now this--the most recent, most hilarious, and most horrible attempt at a comeback--"Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot". (A really good thing "The Princess and the Pauper" and "Twice upon a Christmas" managed to escape so far...)
Everyone's favourite bears are back, and at the beginning of this new DTV movie, they are all preparing for their annual fair when, all of a sudden, something goes wrong: as Grumpy Bear's newest carousel invention goes out of control, Funshine Bear's jokes about the mishap are sent the wrong way, and at once he decides to run away from the magical land of Care-a-lot. His travels soon take him to a land where humour is king, and laughter is nonstop: Joke-a-lot. But, upon being crowned King of the land, Funshine soon realises that keeping the title will make him stay here forever...or will he ever have a chance to return to where he really belongs?
Some aspects of the film are really horrible: to ever think of Funshine being a male bear is an embarrassment to true fans of the 80's franchise who grew up enjoying that character as a girl! Too many elements of the original franchise are missing here too: near the film's end, there is a scene in which the bears could have used their Stare on Funnybone, the half-villain of our story; it's too bad you never see it activated. The new faces in Joke-a-lot are so scary and not that familiar to look at, not to mention the small, pink Gig. And, even more shamefully, some of our favourite bears are missing from the adventure: Baby Hugs and Tugs, Proud Heart Cat, Swiftheart Bunny (the cutest one, and personally my favourite), and Grams Bear. There are no human characters anywhere within the plot. To top it all off: no real villains are present, which makes Funnybone the rat ever so close to the likes of Nicholas and Dark Heart...
But, fortunately, the five songs are nothing short of delightful. For those who have seen the trailer at amazon.com and the official Care Bears web site, the Joke-a-lot anthem is a worthy, congratulatory sing-along (when the movie premiered on Disney Channel on December 12th, I had a great time singing along with it). Otherwise, the rest are somehow forgettable.
So, in the end, "Journey to Joke-a-lot" is a somewhat above-average comeback of a well-known toy franchise from well over two decades ago, and only if fans and kids alike can ever survive its creepiness (and honestly I have). Bottom line: it's funnier than the Shrek films, but scarier than the Polar Express.
That being said, and the fact that I still love the Bears as a 18-year-old, gives this fourth instalment my most solid vote of 7 after "Jetsons: The Movie" and "Hocus Pocus". Yet I am still hoping for better to come when another movie is made.
To quote the amazon.com review by A. Wagner: "This movie had great potential - it's too bad they blew it."
ALSO RECOMMENDED: Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, Finding Nemo, the Toy Story and Shrek films, The Incredibles, and (of course) the original Care Bears Movie from 1985.
A truly fantastic Disney movie!
The men of Stanley Yelnats IV's family have been placed under a 150-year-old curse, and while he is accused of stealing a pair of shoes from a famous baseball star, he has the choice of going either to jail or a camp. The result: detention camp Greenlake, Texas, where Stanley (played by Even Stevens' Shia LaBoeuf) discovers there isn't any real lake at all--or at least there was when the site flourished as a Western town. Here in the modern-day camp, he meets some foes who think he doesn't belong here--one of them is the illiterate Hector Zeroni, distant relative of the Latvian psychic, Madame Zeroni, who placed the curse on Stanley's family ages ago.
Soon, Stanley learns that it is not easy surviving camp--he, like all the other boys, is forced to dig one hole per day in the scorching heat--5 foot deep, 5 foot in diameter. He encounters many kinds of dangerous wildlife during his stay, and, after a dispute with the warden on teaching Zero how to read, escapes with his smaller sidekick to God's Thumb, where Stanley Yelnats I survived on onions after having had no food or water for 15 days!
A really remarkable Disney film, this adventure epic also stars Henry Winkler, Sigourney Weaver and Jon Voight in strong supporting roles. However, the language and violent scenes were not what I could stand during the time I rented it for the November Independence holiday season, and others should take caution because of this.
This excellent modern classic only works fully for fans of the original Louis Sachar novel. But if your favourite show is "Even Stevens", you will really appreciate Shia in his debut movie appearance.
An excellent choice--pick it from the rentals while you surely can. 9\10.
Finding Nemo (2003)
A great Disney movie!
A "must-sea" effort for all who have loved the previous Pixar fare, Andrew Stanton directs this lovable adventure that stars himself and such well-known names as Albert Brooks, Barry Humphries, Ellen DeGeneres and Christopher Gould (who voices the title character).
With its well-paced action and stunning visuals, this is a truly brilliantly-told story set deep in the Australian ocean that tells of Nemo, the young clownfish who is captured and sent to live in the fishtank of a Sydney dentist. There, his adventure starts, and as his father, Marlin, begins a quest to find his only son, Nemo tries to escape from his new home, thanks to the friendly group of fish who live there.
While this movie marks the comeback of the good storytelling traits of the older Disney animated films, "Finding Nemo" is truly the most complete Disney film of any kind (and more complete than this, the MPAA rating information appears at the end of the theatrical version). In addition, be on the look-out for the 1989 short "Knick Knack" before the feature.
This is a highly recommended Disney film that is better than all of last year's box office fare combined. I give it a solid 10\10--the best effort so far from the Disney\Pixar collaboration.
(NB Watch out for a few hidden surprises from the last few Pixar films while watching!)
Bugs Bunny Superstar (1975)
A great must-see for all fans of the famous toon characters!
A great movie documentary telling of the early days of the Warner Brothers toon studios (think of "Termite Terrace" as you watch), along with nine great toon shorts the family will love for a long time to come.
This movie should be watched for on Showtime (or any of its other channels). Too bad it's not on video now--it should be taped!
I must agree, it's a family film that indeed shall be grater than any others that will proclaim so in future.
So long live BUGS...long live the MERRIE MELODIES...and LONG LIVE THE LOONEY TUNES!!
An agreeable 10\10 effort from the United Artists team.