We Bare Bears: The Movie
After running for four seasons on Cartoon Network, the story of Grizzly, Panda, and Ice Bear comes to a close with We Bare Bears: The Movie. Serving as a series finale, the movie follows the three bear brothers as they're forced into an epic adventure that tests the bonds of their brotherhood to the absolute limit. I got the chance to check out the movie ahead of its television premiere on Cartoon Network and its general release on DVD and I'm here to share my thoughts. Keep reading to find out if We Bare Bears: The Movie is worth checking out.
It should be noted at the start that I'm completely unfamiliar with the story of We Bare Bears, and thus was completely open-minded to whatever story the movie had to tell. I was briefly worried that watching the film without having seen any of the series would affect my viewing of the story, but fortunately that wasn't the case at all.
One of the strengths of We Bare Bears: The Movie is that it functions pretty well as a standalone story. While there are Easter Egg references to a few episodes throughout the film, you don't need to recognize these references to understand the film. I particularly appreciated the backstory-of-sorts that the film provides for Grizzly, Panda, and Ice Bear and how they became brothers in the first place.
Another strength, and the thing I liked best about We Bare Bears: The Movie is its message. The film brilliantly uses its story to share a message about being a minority in America, along with sharing ideas on acceptance, family separation, and racial discrimination. It's actually pretty dark in some places to be honest; and it feels a little weird to be encountering such adult concepts in an animated film (especially one done in this style). But I've long since learned that animation can be one of the best ways to share important messages, and this movie certainly does that. On a side note, I also liked the film's message about the risks of becoming "Internet famous" mostly that it's not all that it's cracked up to be. In a world where social media is becoming increasingly central to our lives, that's a really good message to spread.
I really like the animation in this movie, the Bears are adorably cute at all times. Maybe it's just my imagination, but the work on We Bare Bears: The Movie reminded me in places of Steven Universe. Each bear has their own distinct look and mannerisms, even though they're all roughly based on the same shape and design there's no chance you'll ever confuse them.
Also need to share a few notes on the DVD release itself. For one, the cover art for this film is gorgeous. For another, there's an impressive amount of extras included. There's an official commentary, early animation sketches, movie pitches, animatics and pencil tests, and even some deleted scenes. This is hardly a bare bones DVD release, which makes it even more valuable to anyone who enjoys We Bare Bears.
All in all, I really enjoyed watching We Bare Bears: The Movie. It's got a great story, one that's more important than ever, and it is definitely worth checking out.