Warner Bros Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are his own.
For those unfamiliar with We Bare Bears, the Cartoon Network animated series that ran from 2015 to 2019, it was a show about three brothers, who are bears, and their various adventures or misadventures. The episodes ran for about 15 minutes apiece and two were shown together in a half-hour span on the air. On Netflix and other streaming services, the episodes are shown individually in their short-run format.
Sure, the bears aren’t biologically related. One is a panda bear, one is a brown bear, and one is a polar bear. The series and movie explain on how they came to know each other. A lot of the episodes consisted of forming friendships, but also took on other issues such as online dating, adoption, and the overreliance of technology. The 15-minute runtime for each episode may not seem like a lot of time to get fully invested into the characters and the topics it covers, but, surprisingly, it works. The show is sweet and full of hilarious moments that are appropriate for kids of all ages.
We Bare Bears: The Movie is a 68-minute feature that is actually a movie with one continuous plot, and not a collection of different episodes strung together. It still carries the same feel of the series, but it also feels like it overstays its welcome at times.
The movie starts off with the brothers celebrating the grand opening of a food truck that sells poutine. They forgot about it until they looked at their calendar and saw the note. They then bolt out of their home to make it there. Along the way, their trek to the food truck also has them accidentally running into a pizza delivery guy, ruining someone’s wedding, and causing a car crash. This causes the police to get involved, bringing out a book labeled “Bear Complaints” to note the latest complaint filed by someone.
This is on the same wavelength of the series and contains many great, humorous moments. The bears also try to get internet famous - something previously explored in the series - and that goes awry when they shut off all of the power of San Francisco. When the bears realize that they aren’t welcome in their home city anymore, they find that they must seek refuge in Canada, where the advertisements note how much that country loves bears. The trio takes a road trip, which consists of the usual hijinks and making new friends - and even some enemies - along the way.
While the We Bare Bears series tackled topical issues with a subtle approach, the movie does the same but also comes off darker in aspect. There are good messages of acceptance and being comfortable with who you are as an individual. There is also a great message for kids about the downside of internet fame, and some popular animals that became actual memes are featured in the movie.
A lot of the humor sticks, but there are some jokes or hijinks that don’t work quite as well. The movie does a fine job of sending off the brothers, but it also kind of excludes a lot of the side characters that were featured throughout the series. They make appearances here and there, but it might have been nice to have some more time with others who appeared in the show. As a whole, the movie isn’t quite as energetic or as funny as the series, but it works as a finale.
We Bare Bears: The Movie comes to DVD in a 16x9 widescreen format and a 5.1 audio track. The bonus features last about 90 minutes and consist of a lot of cool things for those interested in how animated movies are made. In addition to optional commentary, the behind-the-scenes aspect shows early sketches on how the characters looked when they were first drawn, as well as what they looked like in pencil tests. There is also a look at movie pitches from different people on the staff, and some deleted scenes that didn’t make the final cut.
Own We Bare Bears: The Movie on Digital and DVD September 8.