Sony // 2005 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 31st, 2005
Crossing the bear/human cultural divide since 1962.
The Berenstain Bears, those hallmarks of old-school children's literature, have been gathered onto this DVD, documenting six of their adventures for the ankle-biters in your family.
A quick crash course in The Berenstain Bears mythos: The Bear family lives in the heart of Bear Country, nestled in their sweet tree-home. Papa Bear is the patriarch of the family, constantly running around in his overalls and ten-gallon hat, building things and doing all the brow-soaking menial labor one would expect from a dad; Mama Bear focuses on the kids and the upkeep of the tree; lastly, we've got the siblings, who, probably due to a dry spell of creative thinking by their parents, are named Brother and Sister. Together, this solid, scrupulous nuclear family of anthropomorphic forest predators embark on morally sound adventures, pregnant with universal life lessons and happiness.
Ah, The Berenstin Bears, as harmless kiddie entertainment as you can get. The stories collected on this disc are flush with all the feel-good learning you could ask for. Each 15-minute cartoon centers around a specific theme, and to make it easier for the kiddos to digests, a narrated preface before each show explicitly states what the episode is about. So unless your children are asleep or tripped out on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, there's no excuse for them to miss out on these messages.
* "The Summer Job"
Brother and Sister Bear reluctantly agree to work for a family friend on his farm. At first they're less-than-excited about the manual labor, but eventually succumb to the benefits of a hard day's work.
Lesson Learned: Earn your keep and be grateful for it.
Papa Bear says: "Not bad. Now get back to work young 'uns!"
* "The Haunted Lighthouse"
The Bears take a day trip to a notorious lighthouse. Apparently, the old lighthouse operator mysteriously vanished, and the talk of the town says the island is haunted. But when Brother and Sister do a little sleuthing, they discover the truth behind the controversy. (SPOILER: It's not a ghost.)
Lesson Learned: Help others less fortunate than yourself, like unemployed, mentally-disturbed lighthouse captains.
Papa Bear says: "What is this, a Hardy Boys made-for-TV movie?!"
* "Don't Pollute (Anymore)"
Pretty straightforward. The cubs take a tour of Bear Country and learn about the horrors of pollution. They are desperate to do something to help, but their contribution to conservation will start at home by convincing Papa to refrain from using a rare wood to build with.
Lesson Learned: Pollution harms the environment. And the bears in Bear Country have mastered recycling technology but have yet to invent shoes.
Papa Bear says: "I sure did pick up a bunch of helpful tips. No more dumping my used motor oil into that eagle's nest in the backyard!"
* "Hug and Make Up"
The young bears of Bear Country decide to put on a circus. Brother and Sister Bear get into an argument over what acts they're going to do and a rift forms between the two siblings. I don't want to blow the complex ending but here's a hint: the title offers a clue.
Lesson Learned: Compromise will defuse arguments; bears look just as creepy in clown makeup as middle-aged men do.
Papa Bear says: "Some good advice for those short-tempered children out there! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go savagely beat my jackass neighbor Stan because he refuses to return my pruning shears."
* "That Stump Must Go"
Papa Bear is aggravated by the giant stump in the front yard besmirching his expert landscaping. Unfortunately, multiple attempts to remove it fail. Meanwhile, the kids are having trouble making an effective scarecrow. How will everyone overcome their problems?
Lesson Learned: Thinking "outside the tree" will often present solutions.
Papa Bear says: "Don't talk to me about that f***ing stump!"
* "White Water Adventure"
The cubs head for the wilderness to go camping with a bunch of other kids, but end up in some personality conflicts. Can they work it out in time for the big canoe race? Of course they can.
Lesson Learned: Sports and outdoor fitness can bring out the best in kids.
Papa Bear says: "Hey Mama, the kids are gone for the weekend! Go get the hot wax and stirrups!"
Episodes are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is solid, boasting strong colors and dirt-free visuals. A 2.0 stereo mix does its job with little fanfare. No special features save for the handy "quick start" option, which bypasses the menu and gets the show on the road.
Six engaging, eye-pleasing, positive cartoons packed silly with more values than you can shake a stick at. The Berenstain Bears: Bears Out and About is the antidote to mindless, incoherent imported animation about kids running around with fire-breathing stuffed animals or whatever is cool these days.
Not guilty. Back to the tree with you.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Quick Start
* The Berenstain Bears Homepage