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Animation: The 'Boonie Bears' are coming from China

Edited by GreenReaper
Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (8 votes)

Boonie Bears Amid Amidi reports on the Cartoon Brew website that China’s first CGI feature, the 70-minute Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey, is coming to the U.S. on January 6.

Didn’t China already produce a CGI feature, 2011’s Kung Fu Panda ripoff Legend of a Rabbit? Apparently nobody wants to talk about that. (Totalitarian nations are very good at rewriting their history.)

If three days sounds like very short notice, it’s because Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey will not be a theatrical release. It’s coming direct-to-DVD. What’s more, this was not even a theatrical release in China. It was a Chinese TV special last Spring.

Boonie Bears is a popular Chinese TV program, with over 200 episodes. The synopsis is,

Briar Bear and Bramble Bear and their animal pals are enjoying life in the woods when Logger Vick begins chopping down all the trees to get money to go home for the holidays. Briar and Bramble rally the forest animals to defend against the tree chopping frenzy and they use every zany trick in the book to save their beloved forest. They soon realize that Logger Vick is homesick so the animals hatch a plan to get Vick home in time to spend the holidays with his family. But the wintery weather and a undependable truck may just keep them from completing their mission.

How does it look? Horrible. The Cartoon Brew announcement includes a link to its American trailer. Both the CGI visuals and the voices are atrocious. Amidi says, “The English-language trailer for the special is memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.” Animation fans will probably argue for years whether Legend of a Rabbit or Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey is worse.


Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

They're a long way behind now, but it rarely pays to underestimate China. I'm sure they could catch up quickly if their government chose to bring their full effort to . . . bear.

So far, though, I don't see anything to indicate this is representative of the government's effort - it just seems like a commercial product by Fantawild, commissioned to local standards. Is America responsible for Pixar's output?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Animation festival journalist (how many of those exist...), Nancy Denney-Phelps, does long detailed reports about the state of animation creativity, as showcased at prominent European festivals like Annecy. She's been doing it a long time. You can find some of her reports on Animation World Network or in the newsletters for ASIFA (international animator's association).

She got a special invite to see a major festival of Chinese animation. The report was devastatingly bad. I can't find it online, since I think it went out in the printed ASIFA newsletter only. But she said the awards ceremony made no sense- animators were represented by stand-ins who had nothing to do with the films, and it went on and on. So did the screenings- things that showed technical proficiency but were devoid of creativity, with the same style of work and stories over and over. It sounded like a comment on artistic expression with restrictive culture and government.

She did a later report on "THE 5TH XIAMEN CYBER SOUSA ANIMATION FESTIVAL, OCT. 26 -- 29, 2012, XIAMEN, CHINA" that was better. Bottom of newsletter here.

"The Cos-Play crowd was elaborately costumed. There were exhibition booths that sold a vast array of Cos-Play accessories from horns and wigs to clothes and swords. The Cos-Play participants and authors seemed to be the stars of the show with long lines of attendees waiting to have their books signed and their pictures taken with them."

I wonder if it brought out chinese furries?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I looked at it.. Kind of reminds me of those Team Fortress 2 blooper videos a little.

In my thoughts, this is probably at least fine for a TV Show, and probably just for humor reasons. Is this supposed to be something humorous (Why bears are acting "weird" and all)? I seen 3D TV shows before, animation was "lower" but still seemed very interesting, not sure how this will turn out though. Umm you know what, this is more lower then what I saw after all...

Animation is OK for it's own thing being very low (Oh god, it doesn't even have real fur) but it has a lot of problems too. Example: When the bears were behind the trees, and when they "quick swap" trees, it didn't work out right. xD

Only thing funny to me is that little kid's face.. Something.. something seems fishy about that face. lol

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About the author

Fred Pattenread storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics