20th Century-Fox has released the all new CGI-animated movie, The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! just in time for Christmas shopping. Packaged with a small, two inch poseable Oopsy Bear, the DVD will no doubt delight the small fry, although parents may grumble a bit at the saccharine, largely derivative storyline.
I've written before about the Care Bears, having suffered through that abominable 1985 movie adaptation (please click here to read my review). Luckily, all the traces of subliminal drug use, extreme violence and hallucinogenic imagery from that head trip, is gone from The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! - but so is oddly, any real juice to the storyline, as well. Reduced to the utmost simplicity - which, after all, is the whole point of appealing to preschool children - The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!'s story couldn't be more thin and straightforward.
Green Oopsy Bear longs to have a "belly badge" that would make him a true Care Bear, giving him a particular Care Bear power. All of his friends have theirs, including yellow Funshine Bear (who has the power of the sun), pink Cheer Bear (who has "rainbow power"), purple Share Bear (who has the power...to share), and blue Grumpy Bear (who has the power of a thunderstorm). But Oopsy Bear is the Gomer Pyle of Care Bears - he can't do anything right. As the Care Bears prepare "The Funderbolt," a rollercoaster ride that will anchor their new Woo Hoo amusement park, Oopsy tries to help and literally destroys it. Oopsy is sad, but the other Care Bears tell him to cheer up (even though Grumpy grumbles a little).
Meanwhile, super-mean Grizzle looks down malevolently at Care-a-lot, from his grimy cloud sanctuary, as he plots his evil deed. Wishing to control Care-a-lot, he devises "The Caretaker," an amusement ride that steals the belly badges of the Care Bears that are unfortunately enough to ride it. But to make the machine work, Grizzle needs the power of the sun, a rainbow, and a thunderstorm, so he sends his pathetic little robot helper, Wingnut, down to Care-a-lot, to steal those elements. Once there, Wingnut manages to persuade Oopsy to come help out Grizzle, who can't believe his luck when the gullible, naïve screw-up Oopsy unwittingly agrees to the plan. Will all the Care Bears lose their belly badges? Will Grizzle control Care-a-lot? Will Oopsy Bear accidentally fall off a cloud and save everybody a lot of trouble?
Running a mere 71 minutes, The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! is innocuous kiddie fare, designed to sell more Care Bears (who cares if it is) and to wile away some of your child's time in front of the tube. The 3D CGI look of the Care Bears is, I must admit, quite nice, giving the characters a tactile, plush-animal look that's also decidedly "fake" looking - in a good way. They look like little toys out of a Rankin/Bass production, and that's fine by me.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot to hang an adult's interest on in The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!. Sure, very little kids may love it, but you're going to have a tough go staying awake - unless you let the obvious pandering to the P.C. crowd with "Amigo Bear" who speaks Spanish, keep you agitated enough to fight off a snooze. Grumpy Bear was funny once, when he balefully squinted right at me for a second, but then it was over before I knew it. The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! isn't particularly bright, it isn't particularly clever, and it isn't particularly original or memorable. But if you child loves the Care Bears, it won't hurt them.
The anamorphically enhanced, 1.78:1 widescreen video image for The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! is digital perfection. Colors are bright and correctly valued. No compression issues to speak of.
Believe it or not, you can actually blast The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! in Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround if you'd care to (can you believe this gets a 5.1, and classic films go wanting with mono releases?). There's also 2.0 audio mix, with English and Spanish subtitles available. Close-captioning is also available.
Well, you get that plastic little Care Bear action figure (or doll, if you prefer). He's cute. And there's a music video, We Are the Care Bears, performed I believe (since she's not directly credited) by Kay Hanley.
I hated the original The Care Bears Movie, but now I'm starting to wonder if amid all the fistfights and drug-taking of that freaked-out film, it was at least engaging you on some level. The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! is pretty bland stuff, nicely animated, but seriously devoid of even the faintest glimmer of adult appeal. Still, very young children will no doubt enjoy it, so I'm recommending The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!.
Paul Mavis is an internationally published film and television historian, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and the author of The Espionage Filmography .