A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Care Bears: Mystery in Care-a-Lot is made up of three, 22-minute stories from 2012's Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot television series. Each segment comes with a clearly stated message, and, in each, the bears learn something that can help them understand some of life's complexities (dreams, frustrations). Two of the tales are standard Care Bears stories with a few mildly suspenseful scenes in which the little bears are briefly frightened (a chase, a windstorm); however, the middle story, "Sleuth of Bears," contains multiple plot elements that could scare toddlers and preschoolers who do not yet fully understand the difference between real and cartoon violence. There are ghostly images; dark, spooky scenes; thunder and lightning; and a lengthy sequence in which a ghost bear chases the heroes while roaring and growling at them. In those scenes, good-guy bears are frequently alarmed and react by shrieking and cowering. The Care Bears are part of a successful and extensive toy-game-film-product brand that American Greetings Corporation has been marketing since 1985.
What's the story?
In "Nightbears," the first story in CARE BEARS: MYSTERY IN CARE-A-LOT, Sweet Dreams' ability to bestow good dreams on all the Care Bears is endangered by the presence of a Plainbow, which can change good dreams to bad. After Funshine, Wonderheart, and Grumpy have some really bad dreams, the gang works together to make a musical rainbow and chase the Plainbow away. In "Sleuth of Bears," ghost stories, the legend of an evil "Scare" Bear, and a mysterious accident to Grumpy’s "Care-a-Van" spook all the residents of Care-a-Lot. No matter how hard Tenderheart tries to convince everyone there are no ghosts and a scary legend isn’t true, everyone is terrified, letting their imaginations run wild. It’s chaos in Care-a-Lot, at least until the bears come to their senses and find the clues that will lead them to uncover a long-held secret and a naughty prank. Finally, "Welcome to Grump-a-Lot" features Grumpy Bear as he settles down all by himself to watch "honeyball" on TV. One by one, the other Care Bears show up and interrupt him. It's fine until Grumpy misses the biggest play of the game. Then his frustration and anger take over and, in a moment of great anger, he wishes them all away. When a giant "grumpy storm" overtakes the land, Grumpy finds out that you must be careful what you wish for. All his friends have become even grumpier than Grumpy! It’s up to him to clean up the grump and get his friends back.
Is it any good?
It's not as hard to tolerate the gratingly adorable Care Bears when the stories are gentle and sweet, but this DVD's "Sleuth of Bears" story may be very scary for the brand's target audience. And the messages here tend to run over potential young audiences like a cement truck ("We all get frustrated but must learn to control our emotions"), as they're not very subtly integrated into the story. Stick to "Nightbears" and "Welcome to Grump-a-Lot," which are actually quite clever and fun. Skip "Sleuth of Bears," as it's not only too violent but also has a story that meanders all over the land of Care-a-Lot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how DVDs such as this one help toy companies sell their products. Why is it important to understand that this release of old TV shows helps keep the Care Bears brand alive, even when there are no new films being made?
What does it mean when Tenderheart Bear tells Grumpy, "Don't let your grump get the best of you"? Have you had moments when your grump gets the best of you? How do you manage that?
Why do you think kids like tales or movies that scare them a bit? How do you know when there is too much "scare" for you? What should a parent's role be in deciding what is right or wrong for the family?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.