The question posed on The Care Bears Movie poster — “What happens when the world stops caring?” — is one I already know the answer to: the KFC Double Down, Teen Mom, unruly pubic hair. But okay, for the benefit of this experiment I’ll put my worldly knowledge aside and go into this hour-and-a-half cartoon adventure playing dumb.
The Care Bears, for those unfamiliar with the finer points of ’80s popular culture, are an animated group of bears appearing in TV, movies, and as toys. Their primary mission? To care. So far, this isn’t tough stuff.
In The Care Bears Movie, we open with Mr. and Mrs. Cherrywood, owners of an orphanage filled with many multicultural youngsters. The children beg Mr. Cherrywood (voiced by Mickey Rooney) for a story, which is where our journey begins…
Meet Kim and Jason, two orphans who “had been so hurt when their parents went away that they had decided to never love anyone again.” Basically this is a Julia Roberts movie.
Apathetic kids that they are, Kim and Jason reluctantly travel to Care-A-Lot, the place in the cloud where the Care Bears live. It has since been redeveloped by Apple and is now the place where your documents live. But had you traveled there in the ’80s, you would have seen this: the Rainbow Rescue Beam. Otherwise known as one of those head-scratcher things you buy in the mall.
Time for a musical interlude. By now, I’m just having a hard time staying awake and I know the reason for this is definitely not the lunch of stale vegan cookies I ate an hour prior.
Okay. So then there’s this kid, Nicholas, a magician’s assistant who literally has no friends. (Mickey Rooney told us.) He finds this magic book which implores him to open it, promising friends.
Oh, shiiiiiiiiit. There’s an evil bald lady in that book!
Nicholas casts a spell from the book and it turns all the other children into violent drug addicts.
Then something about how morons on earth are fucking up this caring meter, which is bad or something.
Oh yeah. And then there’s this guy: Grumpy Bear. I feel I identify with him and that he speaks to my jaded soul and obstinate ego. He’s the man.
By now, I’m distracted by thoughts of things I’d rather be doing than watching The Care Bears Movie. Organize my sock drawer. Weigh myself. Do my taxes. So I’ve kind of lost track. They leave Care-A-Lot in a boat so they can go somewhere.
And so they wind up here. Jesus fucking Christ. More songs and dance and coo-ing voices. adfjkl. as;dfkja. als;djfk.
Now Nicholas has gone to the dark side and is working on some batshit crazy spell and says: “Everyone in this town has friends but soon they’ll all be just like me: FRIENDLESS!!!”
The book lady then turns into a cloud: “This spell will seek out the children and bring them to us at any cost.” OMG I am not even halfway through this fucking movie.
Something about joining forces to solve a problem. I’m beginning to think the Care Bears are in fact a cult.
This guy on the left, his name is Secret Bear and he only ever talks in whispers, but when the other bear says, “You’re right, Secret Bear. Our only hope is a Care Bear Stare!” your secret isn’t so secret anymore, now is it?
This is what they call “The Care Bear Stare,” despite the fact that their eyes are closed.
Some more glitter stomach vom. I’m starting to feel anxiety over the creeping realization that I’m perhaps being unwittingly brainwashed into the Care Bear cult. I mean, they’re right: Everyone DOES need friends.
And, like, this is kind of pleasant. It’s also pretty positive with all this “power of caring” stuff. But then they start singing about how “no one can do it alone,” and I am reminded of how that OkCupid dude never responded to my message and ohmygod I’m really single and stuff. What the shit is happening to meeeee????
Ahhh! This kid again! There are too many plot lines. He’s so fucking evil and so fucking boring at the same time. I’m having a panic attack.
Uh, so, yeah. The Care Bears get there just as Nicholas is about to go off the deep end and although they don’t stop him from doing his spell, they’re all, “Guess what, creep? We STILL FUCKING LOVE YOU. We will always care.” So that kind of works and they help Nicholas close the evil book, putting Book Bitch out of her misery for good.
Oh thank God this movie is finally ending. Nicholas is back to normal. The skies have cleared. A representation of a caucasian nuclear family has appeared. This means we’re through.
Except: oh FUCK. I totally forgot about this dude and this whole storyline. Which turns out to have a huge reveal: Mr. Cherrywood IS Nicholas. OMG. Mind blown.
Final grade: C-. C for Care, obviously. Minus because I anticipate subsequent movies like Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation or Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! to be infinitely shittier.