Boonie Bears: The Big Top Secret

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Boonie Bears: The Big Top Secret Movie Poster Image
Bears save circus animals from villainous owner.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 99 minutes

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

When friends work together, they can make things better.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bramble stops at nothing to find and save his missing brother Briar. Logger Vic is mistakenly blamed for Briar's disappearance, but when he finds out Briar is missing, he pitches in to help right away. Briar helps Hugo and the circus animals escape the evil humans. Briar tries to save a bad guy even though he has tried to harm Briar's friends.

Violence & Scariness

Animals band together to build a dam that will save the forest from flooding, but a major storm washes the dam away and sends Briar out of the forest. Animals dangerously ride the tops of moving trains. Characters barely escape injury in car and motorcycle chases. Villains point guns at innocent animals and one tries to stab a hot air balloon that's carrying some animals.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Boonie Bears: The Big Top Secret is much like Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey, a nicely animated Chinese feature targeting young kids who like boisterous talking animals and their cartoon-violent adventures. The peril is mild and the violence can be scary but never seems to hurt anyone. Expect car chases, guys with guns, exciting high-wire circus acts, and seemingly death-defying feats that no one but cartoon characters would want to try. The series is translated from Mandarin and dubbed into English. Expect to see some Chinese writing.

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What's the story?

In BOONIE BEARS: THE BIG TOP SECRET, brother forest bears Briar and Bramble try to harness the power of the forest animals to build a dam that will save them from serious flooding when a storm comes. Unable to finish the dam in time, the animals run to safety as the rains come. Briar is washed away to where a circus is parked and finds himself part of the show's aerial act. Bramble looks everywhere for his brother and by the time he finds him, he is kidnapped with other animals being poached and sold by villains who don't care about animals. Bramble finds Briar but is caged by the evil Wolfgang and his armed crew. Logger Vic helps Bramble, and he and great ape Hugo and Briar devise a scheme to get the animals to safety. Lots of car chases, dangerous trapeze moves, and other forms of cartoon peril ensue, but no one gets hurt.

Is it any good?

The Boonie Bears are part of a popular Chinese children's TV show known for its high energy and general cleverness. But it's no accident that the Bears and Logger Vic remind us of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, as these Chinese animators and writers have wisely stolen from the best.

At 99 minutes Boonie Bears: The Big Top Secret feels long and could easily tell the same story with half the chases. Youngest children may find all the mayhem and violence a bit disconcerting, but given that none of the cartoon characters end up seriously hurt, this is clearly designed to engage the same kids who love to see Bugs outwit Elmer and Road Runner as he drops anvils on the sturdy coyote.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why cartoon violence isn't as scary as real violence. The animals look scared when they're being chased, but how do we know that no one can get really hurt in movies like Boonie Bears: The Big Top Secret?

  • Logger Vic has been a villain, so how do we know he's there to help the bears and their animal friends this time? What does he do to help?

  • Why do you think Hugo seems angry? How does Briar help Hugo feel better about himself?

  • How do the animals use teamwork to solve their problems?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animated tales

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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