Friday, May 20, 2011

Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland

(Raymond Jafelice, 1987)
I'm being as generous as I can possibly be: up a point because I'm not a five-year-old girl, up another point for the half-masticated Lewis Carroll iconography it rides in on, and one more big point for the overtones of 80s-psychedelia in the design work, most especially the head-bending Cheshire Cat (composed of garish patterns that stay stationary as he moves around). But five-year-old girls are smarter than the makers of this film believe. There is clear evidence here as in all Care Bears of the kind of sane and sensible child-psychologist redrafting that usually leads to cringing banality - it's just more visible here because it clashes so alarmingly with the source material. What is a moral like 'don't accept rides from strangers' doing in an Alice in Wonderland adaptation, no matter how loose? Alice accepted DRUGS from strangers for God's sake, but these guys won't even let anyone follow the rabbit down the hole unless he's someone's uncle. And the Queen is transformed from murderous tyrant into some kind of doting Angela Lansbury surrogate. I won't, however, claim that this tripe is any more damaging to the youth of today (or, er, whenever) than the stuff it bowdlerizes - like I said, kids are smart. But...there's no getting around it, you know? Care Bears are annoying!

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