Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation (1986)
"Care Bear... STARE!"- The Care Bears
Stars: Maxine Miller, Pam Hyatt, Hadley Kay
Other Stars: Cree Summer, Alyson Court, Michael Fantini
Director: Dale Schott
MPAA Rating: G for (nothing objectionable... it's the Care Bears!)
Run Time: 01h:16m:14s
Release Date: 2003-04-08
DVD ReviewIn retrospect, the "Care Bear Stare" is kind of weird. Whenever one of these little furry creatures gets in a bind while fulfilling a mission to cheer up some sad sack kid, he can gather his caring energy and shoot a rainbow out of his stomach. The worst part is, they show the bears grunting and straining as they emit their rainbows all over the place. Like I said, weird.
What do I know, though, since apparently it was a good enough idea to build a multi-million-dollar franchise around (I even had a Birthday Bear when I was a tot, albeit a home-stuffed one). If you have worked to banish all thought of these unsettlingly cute creatures from your mind, I will refresh your memory. The Care Bears were created when this big star decided that they could help people, so he put these shapes on their stomachs and sent them to live in the cloudy land of Care-A-Lot, where they, ever vigilant, keep watch over the Caring Meter. Whenever a kid on earth is sad, the Caring Meter dips, and they rush off in their little cars (which are made of clouds and give off fluffy clouds of exhaust) to save the day. Don't ask me about the big star; it doesn't make much sense in the movie, either.
In this installment (which, incidentally, totally contradicts the "mythology" of the Care Bears and basically ignores the events that introduced the Care Bear Cousins in the first movie), two of the Bears, Noble Heart and True Heart (not even the popular ones... give me Bedtime Bear!) putter off to save twins Jason and Christy, who are bummed out at summer camp. They get separated, and Christy runs into an odd, sadistic little boy who tries to convince her to be mean and to pick on other kids. It's the evil Dark Heart in disguise! It's up to the Bears to put a stop to Dark Heart and to rescue the kids from his influence. Or something. This thing is insanely complicated, and my Caring Meter just isn't up to the task.
The animation is extremely simplistic—limited movement and bland backgrounds—though the various Dark Heart incarnations are kind of neat (I didn't know a tornado could laugh manically). The script is, as I said, needlessly complicated, and it feels padded even at 76 minutes. The life lessons are pretty simple (Caring helps people! Beware the talking frog!), but they aren't exactly subtly communicated. And speaking of padding, the songs, from Debbie Allen and the Oscar®-nominated (though not for this movie) Stephen Bishop, don't move the plot along, but they are just annoying enough to stick in your head. All day.
Young children might still enjoy this movie, but it's pretty dated, and not even as good as the original, which didn't exactly set the bar very high. I suspect that parents' Caring Meters will dip below zero sometime during the opening number, so I'd suggest something else for family viewing night, and save this one for the DVD babysitter pile.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: I know this isn't exactly a high-priority title, but if the transfer is going to be this bad, why even release it on DVD? First of all, the image has been cropped from the original theatrical ratio. The source materials are in pretty poor condition, showing lots of scratches, a lot of grain, and a weird dirty quality that shows up in lighter colors (white in particular). Color presentation is inconsistent, with hues ranging from saturated to washed out, and the bears actually seem to change color from scene to scene. There is significant cross-coloration throughout, and poor fine detail. I can't imagine this looking any worse on VHS.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a rather thin, undefined stereo mix. The dialogue is well-recorded and clear, but the music doesn't do much to expand the front soundstage, and the songs sound a bit unsupported and tinny.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Family Fun titles, Kermit's Swamp Years
Extras Review: Included are trailers for Columbia TriStar's Family Fun titles and Kermit's Swamp Years.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsCare Bears Movie II: A New Generation might entertain kids (I faintly remember watching it when I was five), but it is a pretty poor excuse for an animated movie (even by the standards of the first Care Bears film). I imagine most who buy this will be 20-somethings who were kids when it originally premiered; if you are a parent, might I suggest passing it up for something newer (and better)? Columbia TriStar's DVD is lackluster enough to dissuade all but the most fanatical fans.
Joel Cunningham 2003-04-06