Why Care Bears: The Next Generation is the Ideal Kid Movie

Why Care Bears: The Next Generation is the Ideal Kid Movie

And why we need more like it!

Between Nonstop! Action! Sequences!!! designed to make children’s films competition with teen movies like Transformers, the lack of good leading female characters (and the presence of crappy sexist tropes), and the death element that permeates so many cartoons, many simply are not suitable for kids in the least. My own mother hated letting us watch The Little Mermaid and Bambi when we were kids because of the deaths in them (the villain in the former, the mother in the latter), and I’ve written before about how the best G-rated kids’ movies are Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and Curious George, which deserve their mild ratings.

I’d also like to point out that while I love fairy tales and need them like air, they originally were not meant for children but for adults, and the argument that their violence is natural is pure bull. Kiddos will have enough of that to see in life without having to witness it in their entertainment.

That said, with so much violence already in our lives, some kids are just bored with these few examples—and a little mild peril isn’t going to hurt children who are emotionally ready for it. I’m not talking about the heart-pounding near-death scenario in Toy Story 3, which I thought was way too dark for children overall anyway; I am talking about the film Care Bears: The Next Generation, back from 1986 when I was a kid.

Though the movie didn’t get great ratings and is not considered of much merit, I would have to argue against that view. For starters, the violence in it is exciting without being too scary; the villain turns into animals at his scariest moments, and he never plots to kill—only to imprison. At the end of the movie, he turns into a real boy instead of being killed by the Care Bears, showing that villains do not have to die. We can all change, even if we’re Dark Heart!

Then there’s the gender element. Both boys and girls have hearts on their bellies. Both care. Both hold hands, share emotions, and never demean one another for this. There seem to be about equal numbers of boy and girl Care Bears (and Care Bear cousins), and their roles are fully balanced. They all can do whatever needs to be done, whether it’s save a mortal in peril, bake a cake, clean up a mess, row a boat, whatever.

It’s movies like Care Bears that we need more of. Our sons and daughters can take a lot away from these movies while still being entertained by funny jokes and light danger without sacrificing their own humanity or risking their own self-esteem.