Care Bears: Bear Buddies (DVD, 2009, With Care Bears Figurine) Reviews
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Care Bears: Bear Buddies (DVD, 2009, With Care Bears Figurine)

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If Care Bears: Bear Buddies comes on my trip Around Epinions in-80-Days, I'm jumping ship

Feb 20, 2010 (Updated Feb 20, 2010)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:The bears are kind of cute & there is a decent episode or two here

Cons:The bears are more "bratty" than "buddy"; Toy is garbage

The Bottom Line: The "figurine" is good for science experiments on sealing foam. Otherwise, Bear Buddies is a flop.


My three year old recently discovered the Care Bears in both the 1980's form and the revamped bears from the past couple years. For no other reason than the fact that there are no more little Care Bear figures on the market, I bought the Care Bears: Bear Buddies DVD, which came with a three inch high figure of Tenderheart Bear. I got suckered, on two counts.

First, the show
Bear Buddies is a collection of eight 12 minute episodes from the new Care Bears t.v. series from Treehouse and American Greetings. The new Care Bears have thinner heads than the old ones, with little hairdo's and much brighter colors. Due to this trendier and younger look, my daughters call this series the "Baby Care Bears," although they are not intended to be babies here. While the Care Bears series from the 1980's involved the Care Bears helping to teach human kids or uncaring villains how to care and do nice things, this iteration features the Care Bears themselves as the ones who need to learn from their mistakes. Personally, I prefer the old style, as the Bears consistently behaved well.

Of the eight episodes on this DVD, the only ones that have really stayed in my mind after countless viewings with the kids are "Belly Ball," "Battle of the Bands," "Forget It," and "True Heart's Big Trip."

In "Belly Ball," Share Bear is so determined to master the new game of "Belly Ball" (a variation of four square with Care Bear magic from their "belly badges") that she stays up all night every night to practice her skills and obsesses over trying to win the prize. She ultimately learns that winning isn't everything; what matters is how you play the game (and having fun). I actually thought this was a good episode with a good lesson for kids.

In "Forget It," evil/jealous Grizzle, who lives in the clouds above Care-a-Lot, comes up with a plan to make the Care Bears stop being happy, by zapping them with a forgetting ray. His plan backfires when they become so forgetful that they forget to do the painting job he requested of them. I'm neutral on this episode; it's not "wow" material, but I like that the villain is the one being a brat, and he's not scary or anything.

Things start to go south with "Battle of the Bands." One night several of the female Care Bears decide to form a band together, combining their various musical talents--well, except for Share Bear's talents, which amount to roadie duties as she is not very coordinated. Grizzle doesn't like the peppy music, so he disguises himself and tries to sabotage the band. What I still don't like about this episode after umpteen viewings is the way the bears act when they are fighting. It doesn't take much work from Grizzle to get proclamations of "But, the band was my idea, so how can she think she's the leader?" and more from the bears. The redeeming point here (which is most definitely not the irritating song the band sings over and over) is the way Share Bear brings things back together by emphasizing that the point is to just have fun.

"True Heart's Big Trip" is even more disappointing. After True Heart Bear trips into a fountain, the rest of the Care Bears laugh at her, instead of with her. It later becomes clear that the bears didn't realize they were hurting her feelings, but some of the things they said were pretty mean, and I really don't need my kids seeing that from their "good" cartoon characters. Basic concept: if a kid sees bad behaviors/words coming out of their heroic figures, they are bound to repeat it and think it's okay. This episode alone is enough not to recommend the DVD.

Extras?
Unless you consider previews for other cartoon DVD's a bona fide extra, the only extra with this disc is the little Care Bear "figurine." Well, it looks like a figurine in the box, but when you open it, you learn that it is a foam Care Bear. As I mentioned before, we got Tenderheart Bear in our set. He lasted less than an hour before accidental decapitation, as foam toys are not exactly durable. I originally used Gorilla Glue to get the head back on. After 24 hours of drying time (to be safe), my daughter got to play with Tenderheart again, and decapitation happened within an hour of play. Our next attempt was Krazy Glue, with the same result. After that, we decided to take the "out of sight, out of mind" approach with Tenderheart Bear, as the "toy" is clearly not intended to last.

Overall
Regardless of the couple of decent episodes on Care Bears: Bear Buddies, I find a lot of Care Bear behaviors reprehensible on this DVD. I don't care that they ultimately end up okay; if the show has a villain, let him be the jerk, instead of giving preschool aged minds the wrong idea. Having bought this DVD for the piece of junk toy, I'm even more disappointed in this DVD. I do not recommend anything about this product. If you have a 3-6 year old who has to have a Care Bear video to watch, I thought the recent Helping Hearts release was much better.



This is my Movies entry in wlswarts' race Around Epinions in 80 Days.


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