DVD Review: Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey

Based on a popular Chinese cartoon, this animated comedy sees animal pals band together to defend against a logging campaign using every zany trick in the book!

When Logger Vick is too broke to make the trip home to his family for New Year, it’s up to his fuzzy nemeses to help him reach the train and make it back home in time.

I feel a bit awkward reviewing this, as I’m not the target audience, and the film keeps its sights fixed squarely on younger children. There’s also the fact that this is a translation of a Chinese series. Now, the film’s not that complicated, so it’s not like there’s going to be much lost in translation, but I can’t help but feel this is trying to scoop up whatever’s left from the Madagascar audience here – I imagine most of the pop culture references in the script were added by translators, and there’s a monkey character who bears some resemblance to King Julian. I admit I haven’t been keeping up with a lot of these kinds of films lately, so it’s hard for me to present this one in context, but it just feels so… cheap.

boonie_bearsdvdThe film is oddly paced – it’s not a long film, but the actual plot doesn’t really kick in until about half way through the film. Most of the first act is a series of Looney-Tunes style cartoon antics, which are going to test the patience of all but the smallest children. Also, I detest Logger Vick’s voice. None of the jokes really land, and overall the comedy feels stale. As a production, it just doesn’t really cut the mustard. The film is a movie-length version of a TV episode, and it shows – the CGI would have looked dated even when the first Toy Story film came out – no one should be expecting Pixar quality visuals here.

This whole review just feels like I’m punching it down – the film clearly didn’t have a lot of money to work with, and the translators would have had to do a heck of a job to synch up the dialogue with the lip movements whilst still trying to maintain a certain tone and appeal, but it just… doesn’t really work. I can’t imagine anyone but very small children enjoying this, as there are so many more accomplished titles out there that are more likely to draw people’s attention.

In the end, it is just sub-par. Apparently the show that this is based on is very popular in China, so perhaps it lands better in that context, but here, I just can’t see many people getting into it. It’s not offensively awful, but there’s just nothing to really recommend it by.

Reviewed by Brendan Whittaker
Twitter: @BrendanW2

Rating out of 10:  4

Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey will be released on DVD from 21 September 2016.

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