Care Bears: The Original Series, created by American Greetings back in the early eighties, has been entertaining children and adults alike for thirty years. With their wholesome messages and silly antics, the Care Bears can still bring a smile to many of our faces. This DVD collection brings all the original cartoons together in one set along with a full-length holiday movie: The Nutcracker.
In Care-a-lot there are bears, and their animal cousins, who are watching out for the children of the world. They look on from their homes in the clouds to make sure that no one is unhappy or behaving in ways that are not becoming of good boys and girls. The Care Bears will run to the rescue of a child in need, no matter what they may be up to in Care-a-lot. In the end, they are meddlesome animals with hearts of gold and funny badges on their stomachs.
Watching the show as an adult, there are times when you have to roll your eyes and ask yourself why you remember the show with such endearment. But then you think about what the Care Bears stand for, caring, sharing, and defeating the bad guys. Yes, that’s right, there are so many times when the Care Bears stand in a line to defeat a ‘bad guy’ with the Care Bear Stare. That part seemed to elude me as a child, but hey at least they are beating the bad guys with hearts and flowers. At the same time, this is a cartoon that discusses positive social skills, which all children need to get as much exposure to as possible.
Another good aspect of the show is that the Care Bears do make mistakes, this offers up another level to the show. Children can see that it is okay to make a mistake, or be a little too grumpy, but we should still care about each other and try our best. Now, with all these great messages for the children, the parents may have to sit through some writing that will have you rolling your eyes at times, and questioning how many episodes the kids are really going to want to watch at one time. But in the end, there is enough entertaining silliness to even keep mom and dad happy.
Included with the set is a full-length holiday movie called The Nutcracker (also known as; Care Bears Nutcracker Suite). In this retelling of the classic holiday story of the same name, the Care Bears meet up with a wooden toy who call himself the Nutcracker from Toyland and have to defeat the evil Vizier and his rodent army. The story is loosely based on the E.T.A. Hoffman story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” as well as the ballet by Tchaikovsky. This is a hard hour to get through. The way in which they tried to put the Care Bears and the story of the Nutcracker together is far fetched during the best of times. This includes a random unexplained ‘mouse hole’ which can take the characters from one world to the other. In the beginning of the movie it will open just by saying they want to go to Toyland but then at the end of the movie, the characters have to hurry otherwise the mouse hole will close, trapping them there forever. Now, I understand that we have to come up with a way of getting the characters into Toyland, but perhaps a simple explanation would be in order. Especially since the rules of this mouse hole change from the beginning to end of the movie. This is only one of the plot conveniences that are dotted throughout the movie. Thus this movie will most likely not be on my ‘must-watch’ for the up-coming holiday season.
With sixty-four episodes on five two sided discs, and the one disc for the movie, this is a much improved set when it comes to space saving. If you have the other DVD’s that include the original series, the Care Bears: The Original Series Collection will be a welcome space downgrade. The quality of the transfer and audio is on par with previous releases, with the exception that the materials seems to have been cleaned up slightly more than some of the other releases. In all the Care Bears: The Original Series Collection offers up hours of wholesome cartoons that can still be enjoyed after thirty years.