A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey highlights the conflict between Logger Vic and the talking animals in the forest, but all the customary cartoon violence and mayhem ultimately resolve in a charming friendship between Vic and the bears. Characters ride the tops of moving trains, throw apples and rocks, and steal a cop's motorcycle. Characters get thrown against walls, threatened by a giant saw, run over, smacked with tools and clubs, and chased by giant saws. They always spring back, mostly unharmed. The series is translated from Mandarin into English. Expect to see writing in Chinese characters.
What's the story?
In BOONIE BEARS: HOMEWARD JOURNEY Logger Vic, a self-described "one-man tree-chopping crew," lacks money for a train ticket to visit his parents for the winter holidays, so he trudges through the snow to cut down a huge pine tree for train fare. The little scampering forest animals jump into preventive action, but when Vic concocts a massive motorized saw, they realize they need to wake the hibernating bear brothers Bramble and Briar and plan a full assault. The saw takes on its own rampaging personality and turns on Vic, cutting his house to shreds and leaving him with no hope of going home. The bears pity him and, driving a homemade car, try to deliver the bound-and-gagged Vic to his parents' home. Vic finally realizes the bears are trying to help him, and friendship results.
Is it any good?
First appearing in 2012, Boonie Bears quickly became the most popular children's show on Chinese television, and its originality, cleverness, and hectic energy make it clear why. The franchise has expanded from shorts to longer-form plots, including this one. The Chinese creative team has an original take on cartoon storytelling, but they are not too proud to steal from the best. Vic and the bears are much like Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, always feuding and plotting to good-natured, chirpy music. The "king" monkey in the forest is a direct rip-off of King Julien in the Madagascar series, from facial expressions and dance moves to voice and accent. You'll also hear a snippet from the Sesame Street theme song, and you'll see other derivative visuals and sounds. But for the most part Logger Vic and the bears are their own men. The pace is frenetic -- Vic is a caricature of a bipolar person during a manic phase -- and the bears are happy to play the growling behemoths when necessary but otherwise are actually nice guys.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how cutting down forests deprives many animals of homes and food. How can we solve this problem?
Do you think Vic and the bears will remain friends? Why, or why not?
Do you think different animals can talk to each other? If so, what would they say? If you could talk to animals, what would you discuss?
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