Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987)
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In the Care Bears' third (and final) theatrical feature, the writers attempt to shake things up by throwing our sweet-natured heroes into an "Alice in Wonderland" setting. The film is at its best during the occasional trippiness and interesting touches of Carroll's work - the caterpillar is a traffic cop, the Chesire Cat a rapper, the Mad Hatter a personality-shifting comic (by way of donning different hats -- think shades of Robin Williams), and, oddly enough, the evil wizard's theme song. Unfortunately, this tale is the weakest of the three; its heavy on cuteness and tones down much of the dark edges that benefitted its two predecessors. The villains are also disappointingly lame; the wizard isn't frightening at all, and his two sidekicks Tweedle Dim and Dum (who resemble Beastly from the TV show) are, at best, grating. Perhaps most jarringly, the Care Bears become pawns in this adventure, focusing instead on helping Alice stand in for the Queen of Hearts' (here portrayed as a kindly ruler) missing daughter. In doing so, much of their personalities are reduced to shells of their former selves (if they had any). THE CARE BEARS' ADVENTURE IN WONDERLAND is fun for young and the young at heart, but at best, it's a forgettable family film.
It's a little better than the first two but it's still as obscure, dull and silly as the previous entries in this stupid saga.
The White Rabbit asks the Care Bears to help him save Wonderland from the Evil Wizard, who has captured the Princess of Wonderland. The Care Bears find a girl named Alice, who looks a lot like the Princess, but has no self-confidence. They use her as a stand-in for the real princess: as long as the Princess is heir to the throne, the Evil Wizard cannot be crowned King of Wonderland. This, the third and final Care Bears theatrical release from the 1980s, is the worst of the Care Bears theatrical releases by far. The animation is significantly poorer in quality (the same quality as the Nelvana television show). The story is disjunct; at first, the Care Bears must find the Princess, then the Heart Palace, then the Mad Hatter, then they must save the Princess from the Jabberwocky, and then Alice is sent on a journey to prove she is a real princess. It's like several episodes of the television show were crammed into a film. The soundtrack, including Natalie Cole's opener, is beyond awful. There is a rapping Cheshire Cat, whose style reminds me of the Chester Cheetah. The Evil Wizard's song, "Don't You Ever Wonder 'Bout Wonderland?", is competely unsuitable for a villain. Who wants to see Grumpy Bear rap about pickled beets? The movie certainly would appeal more to girls, because there are no young male characters in the film. Alice degrades herself for not being good at anything (reminiscint of Christy in the second film), but discovers she has excellent poise and can balance cups of tea in her hand while playing croquet on a flamingo. She even completes the Princess Test. The Queen of Hearts is unexpectedly nice. She isn't shouting "off with their heads," which would be inappropriate for a Care Bears movie. The Mad Hatter is cute if not intolerable. The villains are not scary, as in the first two films; they are portrayed in a light manner. While scheming to do evil, they have a sense of humor or act like clowns. Thus, it seems like the Care Bears are not up against any real threat. Oh, and Alice does overcome her inferiority complex: "You're as special as you think you are." Yecch! I think little girls under the age of 7 with short attention spans would really like this film. The first two movies are much better.
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