Hey kiddos, grab your plushies and your TV remotes, cause today we’re gonna talk about “Care Bears Movie II: The New Generation”
I’m sure you know about the Care Bears, but did you know that they were once babies too? That’s right! And we get the story of this in the 1986 classic sequel to the Care Bears Movie, called “Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation”. It didn’t do as well as the original, but it was the introduction of the “Care Bear Cubs”, or the Care Bears in baby form. It’s a fun mix of songs and storytelling, with beautiful animation. When I was a child, it was a really fun and very influential movie for me, even more than the original Care Bears Movie (Which we’ll get to!)
Other than a song with a full diaper changing scene, this movie also really planted the seeds for my love of stars and hearts, my strange childhood obsession with shooting marbles, and my aggressive empathy.
Before we dive in, I feel its important to tell you that you should think of the movie in 2 parts, Act 1 and Act 2.
Act 1 is a prequel story. We begin on a ship, sailing stormy waters with True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse who are transporting the Care Bear Cubs to their home, the Kingdom of Caring. They’re met by a frightening red sea Dragon, who is a shape-shifter named Dark Heart. Thankfully they’re able to escape him and reach The Kingdom of Caring, where the Great Wishing Star welcomes them home. There are 2 parts of the Kingdom, Care-a-Lot, where the Care Bears live, and the Forest of Feelings, where the Care Bear Cousins live.
Next, we shift gears to a summer camp on Earth, where we meet John, Dawn, and Christy. 3 campers who aren’t having a good time at all. They all wish they could be Camp Champ, but they’re not very athletic. Feeling like there’s nothing else to do, they run away into the forest.
Sensing an emotional disturbance on Earth, True Heart Bear goes down and finds John and Dawn, who agree to babysit the Care Bear Cubs while True Heart and Noble Heart keep looking for Christy. This is where the amazing diaper changing scene comes in, complete with mechanical diaper changing arms, a lot of cartoon baby powder, and a knockoff-Randy-Newman song.
But on Earth, Christy has unfortunately been found by Dark Heart, who does a favor for her, asking her to one day return the favor for him, no questions asked.
Knowing that Dark Heart was on their trail, True Heart and Noble Heart return to the Kingdom of Caring, to keep the Care Bear Cubs safe, and help them become mature adult Care Bears, through an adorable “growing up” song and montage. And that’s where we end “Act 1”, with the Care Bears all grown up and ready to take on the world.
Act 2 is where we really get heavily into the central story of the movie that we’ve already been introduced to, the conflict with Dark Heart. To attempt to capture the Care Bears, he first tries going to Care-a-Lot in disguise. But he underestimates the strength of the Care Bears and runs off when they overpower him. But he’s only gone, not defeated, so True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse go off in search of Dark Heart to vanquish him once and for all, leaving the Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins to watch over Earth and deal with any issues that may arise.
Meanwhile, Dark Heart has returned to Christy, asking for his favor to finally be returned, and with her help he manages to trick and capture most of the Care Bear Family. While Dark Heart is sleeping, a few of the Care Bears attempt an escape, but they’re caught before they’re able to free the others, and he uses his evil magic to imprison them all in crystals.
Just then, John, Dawn, and Christy come running in, soon followed by True Heart and Noble Heart. They try to ask Dark Heart to stop but he refuses, and with the help of the kids, True Heart and Noble Heart are able to release the Care Bears and defeat Dark Heart.
But during the battle, Christy is hurt, badly. And Dark Heart suddenly realizes that he had grown to care for her, and he was sad she was hurt, and he needed the Care Bears help. They agree to help and invite the important assistance of a special guest, the viewer (that’s you!). Working together, they’re able to help heal Christy with their magic, and the realization that he cared so much about Christy has taken the evil out of Dark Heart, making him just a normal boy, like the other kids.
After that beautiful display of caring and love, we end the movie with a fun song that takes place in the summer camp lake, showing everyone having a great fun time together. And then at the end of the day, the Care Bear Family rides off in their cloud ship back to the Kingdom of Caring, leaving Dark Heart, now not so dark, with his new friends. After the story ends there’s still one more short song, which I would call an “outro”, just before the credits. It’s cute, and has a reappearance of the Care Bear Cubs!
This one is a little harder to find online, unfortunately. There are a couple of places that look like they have the full movie, but if you have the ability, this one seems easier to rent/buy on something like Apple TV (where I bought it) or Amazon Prime. With its mix of story and songs, it’s great to play during group play dates.
Watching all of this also made me think of the Care Bears now. They don’t feel the same as they used to, there’s more of a “computer-generated” edge to them. The animation has taken on some elements of anime, in an attempt to liven up the characters. They’re also going the way of other nostalgic cartoons and entering a lot of collabs, with companies like Dolls Kill and Wet-N-Wild. I recently bought a Cheer Bear fanny-pack-cooler from a collaboration with Igloo.
While the new Care Bears sure are fun (and can be found at https://tapk.it/carebears/ ), they’re not what I remember, not the bears I had a childhood love for. My grandmother used to make full crocheted Care Bears for us that looked like they came from a store. One Christmas, my little sister and cousin got into a full on-the-ground brawl over a stuffed Funshine Bear that was as big as a chair (sadly, that one wasn’t crocheted). All to say, the memory of the Care Bears is a very important one to me. But I think a connection between the Care Bears of the past and present can be found in the movie’s opening song, with this line:
“Like the pictures in a storybook, we will turn the pages. Sharing pieces of the memories. I care for you now, as I did then at our beginning.”