As a fan of the Cartoon Network show “We Bare Bears” from the very beginning (in 2015), I was so sad to hear that the series was ending after four seasons and 140 episodes. I can’t hide my general giddiness for “We Bare Bears: The Movie,” something that kid and adult fans alike have been waiting for. The animated film not only wraps up the entire series in satisfying bow, but it is the perfect send-off to the trio of brother bears.
Grizz (Eric Edelstein), Panda (Bobby Moynihan), and Ice Bear (Demetri Martin) have been living in the woods on the outskirts of San Francisco. They often mingle with humans, but a recent social flub catches the attention of the Department of Wildlife Control and the overbearing and cruel Agent Trout (Marc Evan Jackson). Forced out of their home and on the run, the three outlaw bears embark on a road trip adventure to Canada in search of a peaceful, happy life of acceptance that’s far away from the angry city folk who are constantly irritated by their good-natured misadventures.
There’s a timely political edge to the story, especially the message that you shouldn’t hate or fear those who look different than you. The bears are kicked out of their longtime den just because of who they are. There’s a very sad moment where dozens of wild bears are forced into cages that resemble jail cells, and it’s so effective that the film becomes a strong voice for animal rights.
The film also teaches a lesson in basic humanity about always showing kindness to others, touching briefly on the effects of racism on society — albeit with a sunny edge and a bunch of cute animated animals.
I have to applaud the resolve of the writers to tackle some serious subject matter and presenting it in a way that children can easily understand. Be aware that the film may spark some weighty conversations with thoughtful kiddos, and be prepared to talk about them.
An abundance of heart and a solid story stays true to the beloved characters (the opening scene even explains the origin of the bear stack). The animation is as charming as ever, and there’s just the right balance of silly sight gags, action-packed chase sequences, playful one-liners for adults, and deep-dive Easter eggs for the most enthusiastic devotees.
There are cheerful musical numbers that feature original songs and callbacks to old episodes that will delight fans. Get ready to cheer when your favorite supporting characters show up (yes, kids, there’s a brief appearance from Chloe, Nom Nom, and Charlie, to name a few). The story is easy to follow even if you don’t know the show, but true blue fans will find so much to love.
“We Bare Bears: The Movie” is a touching and sweet final chapter that ends with a satisfying sendoff to this trio of best pals. Only folks with a heart of stone would find little to love about this movie.