Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-Lot
Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-Lot is a 2004 Canadian/American Direct-to-Video computer-animated feature film. The movie is the fourth to star the Care Bears and is the first to be released straight-to-video and be produced in CGI Animation. It was released in the United States and Canada by Lions Gate Home Entertainment in October 2004 and in 2005 in other countries by Universal Studios Home Video.
After one of his jokes goes wrong, Funshine Bear runs away and ends up in the land of Joke-a-Lot, where he becomes their new king. The other Care Bears must find him.
Why It Can't Be The King Of Joke-a-Lot
- The CGI animation is very stiff, with bland and discolored-character designs for the Bears, and the Joke-a-Lot citizens looking like off-model rejects.
- Poor and annoying voice acting. All the Bears sound like their voice actors pitched up their voices or autotuned them.
- The story is confusing and doesn't feel like something you'd see from the Care Bears franchise, and feels more like some generic "running away to a new place" movie.
- In fact, because of how generic and cliched Joke-a-Lot and their residents are, you could remove the Care Bears from the movie and replace them with other characters, and it wouldn't make any difference to the story at all.
- A lot of the Care Bears are flanderized or underused in this movie:
- Funshine Bear was turned from a friendly Care Bear into a cocky and self-centered jerk who thinks fun is more important than being serious.
- Grumpy Bear was turned from an able, grouchy Bear who had a heart of gold into a very off-putting whiny butt-monkey who isn't at all grumpy throughout the movie. His only purpose in the movie is to call Funshine out on his behavior, and that’s it.
- In fact, all the Bears blame Grumpy for making Funshine leave and order him to apologize, yet it was Funshine who should have been the one to apologize for being immature.
- Bedtime Bear, Champ Bear, Friend Bear, Good Luck Bear, Laugh-a-Lot Bear, and Love-a-Lot Bear all became one-dimensional and are incredibly generic in personality. They serve absolutely no purpose to the storyline whatsoever and are never seen again after the first 15-minutes of the movie, something that even The Care Bears' Big Wish Movie did better.
- In fact, only Funshine serves any story purpose and gains any character development throughout the whole movie, and not even the other main Bears (Tenderheart, Grumpy, Cheer, Share, and Wish) gain any purpose, ether.
- As noted, the beginning is very mean-spirited and out-of-character even for the Care Bears themselves. When Grumpy ends up breaking his carousel, What does Funshine do? He tells a joke, and all the Bears laugh at Grumpy in a seemingly rude manner.
- There are a few scenes that only exist to add filler to the movie.
- When Funshine Bear rides the Roller Coaster to Joke-a-Lot, the entire scene lasts a whole minute and there is barely anything notable or interesting going on.
- The musical sequences also pop up randomly with no rhyme or reason.
- Basil Funnybone, the movie's main "antagonist", is easily the weakest and one-dimensional villain in the whole Care Bears franchise. His main goal is only to steal some gems by using Funshine as Joke-a-Lot's "King" to plot his ideas to make his hometown of No Fun Atoll more fun, and nothing else. He is not threatening to anyone at all, so it makes it unclear if you would call him a "villain" or not.
- Some features of previous Care Bears incarnations are absent, such examples include the Care Bear Stare and the Cousins. The Bears don't even activate their tummy symbols/belly badges, ether.
- Joke-a-Lot and its residents are never seen again after this movie (despite Funshine promising to Gig he'd return), making the whole location a useless plot element that doesn't affect the franchise whatsoever. Joke-a-Lot was mentioned briefly in The Care Bears' Big Wish Movie, but that's it.
- Gig, the pink Pig from Joke-a-Lot is likable and cute. Her voice is passable, and she gets a happy ending at the end of the movie.
- Good moral: The movie teaches viewers that it's good to laugh and have fun, but it's just as important to think about others' feelings, even if the execution was poorly done.
- Funshine at least redeems himself at the end by giving Grumpy a hug, but still doesn't apologize to him for his actions.
- Some may argue he already apologized in the note he wrote to the other Care Bears about him running away to Care-a-Lot. But he should have told Grumpy he was sorry.
- While the CGI animation is mediocre, the designs for the Care Bears still look cute.
- The soundtrack is pretty catchy, albeit it doesn't serve any purpose in the story. The background music is nice as well.
- Its sequel, The Care Bears' Big Wish Movie, is a small improvement.