Western Animation / The Care Bears Movie


"Care-a-lot is a place we all can go
Whenever we choose it
Care-a-lot is a feeling we all know
We never do lose it"

The Care Bears Movie is the first theatrical film in the Care Bears franchise.

The story is presented via the Framing Device of a man telling the children in his orphanage the tale of two lonely orphans: the siblings Kim and Jason, who are helped by the Care Bears, and an older boy named Nicholas, tempted by an evil, sentient book.

The book gives Nicholas magical powers, and then convinces him to turn everyone he sees into hateful people. This damages Care-a-lot, causing earthquakes and threatening to destroy it all. Kim, Jason, and the Care Bears have to go and stop what's happening. Their quest gets sidetracked when they are forced to go to another land, which turns out to be the home of the Care Bear Cousins. In case you noticed watching the film, it is significantly the darkest of the trilogy: a spell book with a hauntingly green face that seems to be prefer the world in heavily implied global anarchy rather than just plain Jerkassry towards one's fellow man, eerie rides, and a crazed eyed possessed sorcerer wannabe. Even the soundtrack can be threatening at times.

This film was a modest success, but immensely profitable for American Greetings, and led to two more Care Bears sequels and a TV series.

The Care Bears Movie provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Care Bear Cousins are found living in the Forest of Feelings.
  • Animated Musical
  • Big "YES!": Secret Bear of all people gives one during the "In A Care Bear Family" song.
  • Care-Bear Stare: Although it's used to stop a monster, even that isn't enough to save the day. It's up to The Power of Friendship for real to do that.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The key, which had its importance greatly subverted by the fact that it could be duplicated rather easily.
  • Darker and Edgier: As mentioned above, it is easily the darkest of the trilogy in tone.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Nicholas.
  • The Dragon: Nicholas.
  • Framing Device: The entire movie is a story being told to the children in an orphanage by their guardian, Mr. Cherrywood.
  • Grow Old with Me: Possibly. Mr. Cherrywood is revealed to be a now-elderly Nicholas, and it's hinted that Mrs. Cherrywood may actually be Kim.
  • Gunship Rescue: Combined with Big Damn Heroes. When it looks like the giant crow spirit is going to make a snack out of a couple of Care Bears and the Care Bear Cousins (who couldn't do anything at that point in the movie), The Care Bears flagship comes around the riverbend and blasts it with a Care-Bear Stare siege cannon, which allows the two endangered bears to turn the tables and finish it off.
  • Happily Adopted: The kids in the end.
  • Hate Plague: A spell the book spirit teaches Nicholas.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Bedtime Bear actually falls out of the boat while the exploration team is working their way through the Forest of Feelings. Even falling into the river doesn't wake him, and it's suggested that he might have drowned if not for the intervention of Cozy Heart Penguin.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nicholas at the end.
  • Informed Attribute: On their first meeting, Friend Bear notes that Kim reads a lot.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Spirit is easily the darkest villain in the entire Care Bears franchise. Coldheart was a Large Ham; No Heart had Beastly and Shreeky to keep him from being too scary; Dark Heart had sympathetic qualities; and the Checkerboard Wizard was a Sissy Villain, aside from his infamous Nightmare Face. The Spirit doesn't have any of these qualities to tone her down: she's played deadly serious every time she appears on screen.
  • Narrator All Along: At the end of the film, it is revealed that the the narrator is an older Nicholas, with it hinted that an older Kim is his wife.
  • No Name Given: The book spirit.
  • Oscar Bait Song: The opening song, sung by Carol Burnett, of all people. Unfortunately, though, she constantly sounds bored throughout the whole song, something the Nostalgia Critic has pointed out and mocked on several occassions.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Kim has a pink sweater and hair bow.
  • Plot Coupon: The key that will lock the book; Tender Heart entrusts it to Jason, and it's mentioned a few times throughout the film. Subverted when they attempt to use it and the Spirit manages to destroy it. Secret Bear has to come up with a substitute on the fly.
  • The Power of Friendship: Kim and Jason talk Nicholas down by explaining that they want to be his friends so he won't be lonely anymore.
  • The Quiet One: Secret Bear. Friend Bear is his translator.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The book spirit.
  • Shout-Out: The spirit has facial similarities to the Wicked Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Society Marches On: The orphans reciting their evening prayers in the opening scene comes across as decidedly quaint today. Sure, this might still happen in some families, but with society becoming increasingly diverse and secular, including such a scene in a children's cartoon can seem dated and - by modern standards - inappropriate in the 21st century.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Secret Bear gets one very brief line when he shouts "YEAH!" during the end song "In a Care Bear Family."
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The book spirit. And Nicholas in the third act.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: Friend Bear for the always silent Secret Bear; she's the only bear who can understand and interpret his body language, and the only one whom he usually whispers to.
  • When Trees Attack: A tree, possessed by a spell from the book, tries to capture Kim and Jason.
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: A couple of kids and a couple of Care Bears are stuck in a tree and afraid of falling, when Friend Bear points out that they should be more afraid of the lion that's climbing up for them. (Fortunately, the lion turns out to be Brave Heart Lion, who just wants to help.)