Imagine a terrifying world in which bears have the power of speech and can shoot lasers out of their chests as a punishment against those deemed “uncaring.” Imagine these bears barging into your home and insisting they are your friends, even though you don’t know them and have no interest in their companionship. Imagine being harassed by these ursine terrorists until you profess that OK, OK, I care about everyone, just please for the love of all things holy stop torturing me I beg of you. This, my friends, is the world of the Care Bears.
In the 1980s, the Care Bears were a major contributor to the wussification of America. Children who once roamed the streets barefoot, playing with broken glass and poking dogs with sticks, were now taught to share their feelings and to care about people. Fun cartoons like “G.I. Joe” reminded kids how satisfying it is to kill others; lame cartoons like “The Care Bears” said, “Let’s all sit around and talk about our hopes and dreams!” And what were the consequences? Everyone born since about 1975 thinks they’re “special” and “important” and “unique,” when in fact most of them are “ordinary” and “useless.” Thanks a heap, Care Bears.
“The Care Bears Movie” is a disturbing glimpse into an Orwellian future where caring reigns supreme and good old-fashioned misanthropy is forbidden. The Care Bears — emotionless, ambisexual drones who frolic nakedly in the clouds and giggle in a most unsettling fashion — rule Earth with an iron, furry fist, spying on citizens in a search for the slightest hint of uncaring. Each Care Bear is named according to its personality: Friend Bear, Cheer Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Pansy Bear, Wuss Bear, Big Fat Crybaby Bear, etc. There’s also the gloomy Grumpy Bear, who is clearly a genetic defect and must be looked upon with pity and loathing by the others of his species.
There are also two baby Care Bears, produced goodness-knows-how by goodness-knows-which two (or more?) parents. They wear diapers; the other Care Bears, who go pantsless, presumably defecate wherever they please. (In the Care Woods, no doubt.) The Care Cubs are tended by Grams Bear, a grandmotherly type who has apparently stepped in for the babies’ absentee parents, Deadbeat Bear and Crack Whore Bear. It’s sad to think that unwanted pregnancies are a problem even in the land of Care-a-Lot, but that’s what happens when the sex-ed programs in Care Bear schools focus too much on caring and not enough on condoms.
The Care Bears use a magic telescope to spy on the Earthlings, and with it they find their first victims of the movie, Kim and Jason, a young brother and sister seen innocently walking through a park, minding their own business. The narrator tells us that they were “so hurt when their parents went away,” and I guess I’d be kind of hurt, too, if my parents just up and left. It turns out Kim and Jason are orphans, which means their parents DIED, not “went away,” but whatever. Friend Bear and Secret Bear drive down to Earth in their Cloudmobile and proclaim themselves Kim and Jason’s friends. Kim and Jason say they don’t want any friends. The fact that they are conversing with talking bears who fell from the sky doesn’t seem to strike them as unusual.
Meanwhile, there is a boy named Nicholas who works at a carnival as the assistant to a magician. (It’s spelled “MAGICINAN” in one scene. Where are you when we need you, Spellcheck Bear??) Nicholas is sad because he doesn’t have any friends, and unlike Kim and Jason, he actually wants some. While sorting through some junk in the magician’s trunk (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN), he finds a book possessed by an evil spirit. The spirit gives him instructions on how to practice dark magic in order to win friends, but what the spells actually do is make all the children at the carnival start being mean to each other. Nicholas, now in for the long haul, agrees to help the evil spirit eliminate all the caring in the world. The lesson I take from all this is not to read books, or at least not to listen if the books start talking to you.
Does it seem odd that a gentle, touchy-feely, G-rated children’s cartoon would feature a demonic book that casts satanic spells on the populace? Yeah, it seemed weird to me, too. Funny that it didn’t seem weird to any of the people involved in making the film. My theory is that there weren’t any people involved in making the film, because the film was made by the Care Bears themselves, whose capacity for malice knows no limits.
While Nicholas is working as Beelzebub’s apprentice, Jason and Kim and Friend Bear and Secret Bear are accidentally whisked to Care-a-Lot by the new Rainbow Rescue Beam, which works like a “Star Trek” transporter device except gayer. (Remember when rainbows simply had a gay connotation? Then the Care Bears came along and ruined them forever.) You will recall that Kim and Jason wanted nothing to do with the Care Bears. They still don’t, but now that they’ve been transported to their lair, what choice do they have? The Care Bears insist Kim and Jason are their friends; a more accurate term might be “hostages.” But why quibble over semantics when anthropomorphic bears with heart-shaped tattoos on their butt cheeks have kidnapped you? At any rate, Kim and Jason are converted to the Care Bears’ way of thinking — i.e., they develop Stockholm Syndrome — after they bears sing a song. (Of course this movie has songs. What kind of dreadful children’s crap would it be without songs?)
The sudden drop in caring back on Earth causes Care-a-Lot to sustain quite a bit of damage, so everyone heads to Earth to figure out what’s going on. But somehow they wind up in the Forest of Feelings, where they encounter Care-oriented animals that are not bears. The Care Bears have no place for such creatures in their theology. A profound silence settles upon them as they contemplate their place in God’s universe. Then a holy war breaks out, the Care Bears slaughtering the infidels and bathing in their blood.
No, I made that up. But wouldn’t that be something? Man, I’d enjoy seeing that. What actually happens, obviously, is that the Care Bears and the Care Other Animals become friends and combine their forces to create the smuggest, giggliest menagerie known to man. What also happens is that Jason, upon meeting the Care Monkey, says, “Wow! The monkey can talk!” Keep in mind that Jason has spent the entire day in the company of talking bears without batting an eye. Jason is very selective about what surprises him.
Everyone eventually gets to the carnival, which is now a desolate wasteland of uncaring, and there’s a confrontation with Nicholas and the evil book, and the Care Bears do their patented Care Bear Stare®. The demon is destroyed, Nicholas is freed from its influence, and they all learn to love and hug and care and all that shiz. If you want to throw up in your mouth a little, you should definitely watch “The Care Bears Movie.” Then pray to the deity of your choosing that the horrifying world depicted therein never becomes reality.