The Little Bear Movie (2001)


Rated: G
Length:  75 min.
Age: 2 and up.

Scary Factor: a mountain lion slinks around but is quickly chased off; flashback to Cub getting separated from his parents during a storm, which isn’t altogether scary simply because it is a flashback; mountain lion returns at end, menaces Goose and Little Bear, then is scared off

Interests: animals, nature

Next: Little Bear TV series

The hero of the very popular preschool TV series is featured in a full-length movie.

Little Bear and Father Bear go for an overnight campout in the wilderness, where Little Bear makes friends with Cub, a little bear who lives in the wild. Cub comes to visit their home, with humorous results, since he is very unaccustomed to houses and furniture and sleeping indoors. Soon Little Bear discovers his secret, that Cub is living on his own since being separated from his parents during a wild thunderstorm. Little Bear and his friends decide to help Cub find his parents and, in their bumbling way, they organize a search party. During this excursion into the wilderness, Little Bear, Cub and Goose become quite lost. Fortunately they run into Cub’s old friends the foxes who lead them to a cave where they all spend the night. In the morning they meet up with a dangerous mountain lion but Cub’s parents show up in the nick of time to scare him away.

A lovely, meandering story extremely well-suited for a very young audience. The only peril is provided by a sly mountain lion, but his scenes are more quietly ominous than overtly frightening, and he makes a quick exit as soon as the animals’ parents show up to shoo him away. Each scene and situation plays out gently and at a leisurely pace, with great humour and charm. There are many moments that are good for a giggle, especially when Little Bear’s friends get into the act. Little Bear is always a good role model: kind, thoughtful and accepting of his new friend’s differences. An interesting comparison is made between Little Bear’s family living in a house with clothes and Cub, who walks on all fours and is totally unacquainted with ‘civilized ways’.

Also to its credit: Idyllic natural scenery, rendered in an old-fashioned storybook style. And lovely, non-annoying songs (in the score only – the characters do not break into song and dance, thank goodness). The pancake flipping scene may provoke intense interest in the making of pancakes in your house, as it did in mine. (Plus an insistence that they be called ‘flapjacks’.)

In conclusion… Lovely and gentle. Definitely suitable for any age at all. Perfect for a 2-year-old, as long as 75 minutes isn’t too long for their attention spans. A good pick for a first movie. I can personally recommend this one, it was very popular for a long, long time in our house.

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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