Sunday, October 18, 2015


Last year during my "12 Days Of Christmas Reviews" as I reviewed "The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas"  I promised you all that I would review its uhhh....sequel...reboot...prequel, the Halloween Special starring these characters that I grew up watching...

Ted E. Bear is sent to go to a forbidden mountain called "Monster Mountain" to see if there are monsters on the other side of the Mountain that are planning to take over their home town populated by bears. Ted goes on the journey and discovers that there are monsters living in a city with Count Dracula as their leader, who are in fact planning of taking over their town. Ted must stop the monsters and learn how to help the bears with conquering their fears. I think the first thing that will have a lot of people questioning about this Special who've seen the original Christmas Special with this character is what kind of Spin-Off the Halloween Special is? Is it a sequel, a prequel, or a reboot? I'm going to have to go with it being a reboot because this special doesn't at all follow any of the continuity from the Christmas Special. Instead of the Bears living in a town in the woods, it's actually more of a local town. Instead of Patti Bear being a secretary, she's a Newscaster with a completely different design and personality. In fact, everyone else for the most part has a different design, including the boss of the Honey Factory, who's now the Mayor (It could not be the same character, but they look, sound, and act very alike). Oh, and remember Ted's lazy friend, he's completely omitted. So really, this is just a stand alone reboot, just with the same lead voiced by the same actor who voiced him in the original. However, does that make these changes good, or bad?

In my last review, while I found the character Ted E. Bear cute, I did find him forgettable, as well as reminding me very much of "Winnie The Pooh". In this cartoon, I didn't get that much of a "Winnie The Pooh" vibe from him. I think that might mainly have to do with the difference in design. Instead of having tiny black eyes, and fur that's very light brownish; he has bigger black eyes, and brown fur that isn't as light as his fur in the original; which does take away the whole "Winnie The Pooh" image. Also, instead of wearing a green scarf and a blue winter hat, he now wears a green bow-tie and a blue night hat, which seems fitting since it's no longer winter. Despite still having a similar curious and optimistic Winnie The Pooh personality, he actually does act smart and brave, while still being cute; while Pooh is always curious and confused, even at the end of his journey. Ted here does understand the lesson he’s supposed to get out of from this journey, when in the Christmas Special he understands the good feeling of Christmas, but is still confused much like how Pooh would react. So in many ways, Ted in this version does rise above from being a "Winnie The Pooh" knock-off, and on top of it, he isn't as forgettable as he was in the Christmas Special. Ok, he's not that memorable of a character in this version either, but at least he has a little more originality compared to his design and character in the original Special.

The redesigns for the characters, for the most part work. Patty, who I found to be dull and boring in the original, is actually a lot more interesting and likable here. I like that they made her a Newscaster who's willing to get a story, while always carries an optimistic attitude. That to me is much better, than her being a bland secretary who doesn't have faith in Ted for finding Christmas. On top of it, her design is way more adorable and creative, than her design in the original. My god, I just want to eat her up! Another change of character that I really liked is how they made the boss from the honey factory, into a mayor which seems to really fit really well the Special's reboot. As for Ted's friend being omitted, it didn't really bother me because I really didn't think he was all that funny and memorable. However, the only character I wasn't happy about in the reboot is Professor Werner Von Bear. His design and character still pretty much remains the same, but he's just not as funny, over the top, and energetic as he was in the original, which for me is a downer. Another disappointment when it comes to changes in this Special is the world where the Bears live in. In the original, the place where the Bears lived was very creative. Here, it’s just a regular town, just with Bears living in it, and the Special doesn't go to the same creative levels as the original did.

Moving on to the villains and monsters, if you're expecting them to be scary or dark (Especially with Dracula as the leader) they're not, they're just comical villains, who plan to take over the town by simply terrorizing the bears, than say eating them or having a special device to help them gain control. While I do prefer these monsters being scary, they're still at least funny. Dracula is a villain who's both classy and funny that gets a really funny running gag of him trying to turn into a bat, but constantly failing at it; his wise cracking Witch assistant with her pet Cat is a lot of fun; and the monsters while being very idiotic, are still funny and all have very creative and imaginative designs. The city that they live in with the scary monster shaped mountain as its gateway is also really cool as well, but sadly outside of the buildings and streets with some very clever monster puns, we really don't get to see how the monsters live. The Special's morals of facing your fears and finding out that things aren't as scary as you make them out to be, is an innocent enough moral to help children confront their fears, and we do get a cute and fun sequence of the bears fighting against the monsters. It isn't epic or laugh out loud funny, but it is still cute and innocent enough to make it fun for kids. With that said though, since the monsters that the Bears facing aren't violent, I wonder how these Bear's would react to monsters like Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, or hell, the REAL Dracula. Yeah, try laughing at them while pouring honey on them, you'll definitely be safe. With joking aside, and giving the innocent world that our characters live in, the lesson is done well enough to help children understand about conquering their fears. It's not powerful, nor is something that kids will look at as adults and still be moved and enchanted by, but it does its job fine.

While I praised the design of the characters and backgrounds, the animation is so limited that it's bad. When it comes to moving their lips and blinking their eyes, it's good; but when it comes to turning around, changing a facial expression, and moving their arms, they dissolve from one pose to another, which is really poor and distracting. Even as a kid, I found it to be very distracting. Some of the limited animation does work with its humor (Mainly the scene when Dracula falls off a building, while changing into a bat), but for the majority of the special it sucks really badly. The only time you'll ever see any type of actual movement from these characters is in the opening credits with the ghosts, which is both cute and funny, as well as having really cool Halloweenish music.


The only thing that I really hate about the monsters in the special is the whole subplot of Midnight being their weakness. Why is it their weakness, we NEVER find out, nor do the monsters understand how staying up past midnight is going to affect them? Before the special reaches towards its happy ending, Dracula swears vengeance and hints that he might try to find out the consequences of what will happen if he stayed up past midnight. While it's teasing and upsetting that the Special is setting itself up for a sequel that has never happened yet (Nor will happen), instead of being just a simple "I will be back" exit for the villain, Dracula already technically stayed up past Midnight. The rule says the monsters must return back to "Monster Mountain" by midnight, but Dracula has started walking back to "Monster Mountain" past from Midnight in the middle of the Special and nothing has happened to him! Why did he throw in the towel of taking over the town where the Bear's live if he already stayed up past Midnight? Does the rule mean that you can't be harmed if you stay past Midnight once you start heading towards "Monster Mountain"? If that's the case, why didn't Dracula leave one of his minions behind to see what will happen? Also, it's more than a 20 mile walk to "Monster Mountain", how did the Monster's reach the town within the matter of minutes? It took Dracula till morning to reach the 20 Mile sign? Yeah, as you may have guessed, the whole back by Midnight curfew is just a last minute loophole with hardly any thought put into it.

As you may have guessed this Special doesn't hold up that well. The animation aside from its designs is pretty poor; the different worlds aren't as creative as the world's in the Christmas Special; and the plot hole of the monsters Midnight curfew makes no sense. However, while the Special is really nothing special, it's still cute and innocent enough for kids to watch, say around 7 and under, NOT 5 to 10 like my VHS box says. The characters are cute and have really great updates; the monsters are fun and don't reach towards the level of pure over the top annoyance; and the moral of facing your fears is handled well enough for kids to take from this Special. I don't highly recommend it, especially to anyone that's past the age of being a child, but there's really nothing in it that's insultingly bad, annoying, or bland. It's just a simple, cute and fun, innocent little Halloween Special for little kids, which in my opinion is entertaining for kids to overlook its poor limited animation. Again, nothing special nor has anything that makes it stand out as an underrated hidden gem, but it's good enough to entertain the kids.


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