This energetic, action-packed animated movie is a fun watch. And yet it starts off with some words of real wisdom. A narrator states that many children are free as kids, without care or much responsibility. “When we grow up, we’re burdened with responsibility,” he says. “But we can still be happy,” he adds. “We can still be free. We just have to look at things through a new perspective.” He goes on to mention that an amusement park called “Wild Life” can provide a unique experience. In fact, at the theme park visitors are enabled to turn into their favorite animals with a touch of a pin, which is placed on their clothing.
Vick (Maxx Rinehart) from past Boonie Bear adventures has returned, this time without his mustache. He has put all his money into a tour bus, and hopes to give tours in the Pine Tree Mountain area. But the Wild Life park takes all his would-be tourists and he finds himself in a jam. Vick lives with the two bears Bramble and Briar. The former logger decides to go see what this Wild Life park is all about, and Bramble hides in the bus and tags along.
Vick learns about a tournament being held at Wild Life and the top prize is one million dollars! An old friend, Raymond, convinces Vick that he could realize his dreams if they join forces and tackle the tournament. One of the funny moments of the movie includes a scene of Bramble, riding on a zip line and trying to follow Vick. Another humorous scene takes place after Vick is given a sample package of the various animal choices he can change into. He suddenly has a tail, paws, and then he turns into a bear! He changes into a frog and lashes out at an insect with his tongue and sucks it in! He turns into a lion too and decides, “I like this one the best.”
During the competition Raymond, Vick’s old friend, tells another character that Vick is really a fan of his! Raymond apparently likes the attention he is getting for being in the tournament. Bramble and Vick finally connect and soon the tournament is on, with Vick and his partners, Raymond and Leon, needing to find a gold ball to win. Leon is a sad character, a man who has dealt with a sick daughter, Lily. He is trying to help win the big money to help restore his daughter to health. The viewer sees Lily speak to her dad in a hologram and she is a sweet girl. However, we soon learn there is more to Leon and his past than first expected. His full story is told as the movie nears the conclusion. It is a compelling and powerful story, especially for an animated movie.
The movie is quite a visual experience, with part of the competition taking place in a storm with pouring rain and flashing lightning. The film features peppy songs and a very imaginative plot, not to mention interesting animals as the humans change into them via the little pin.
There are a few dangerous-looking animals with fangs featured in the film, so we wish to note this fact for parents of small children. Overall, the movie should be fine for most kids to watch, and it has earned our Dove seal for All Ages, as the past movies have. This movie shows the love between a parent and child, and how that some dreams may come to an end, but new ones can take their place. And the race between the humans and animals to win the top prize is an exciting one with a climatic chase to capture the last golden ball.
The Dove Take
Every family should enjoy this imaginative movie which speaks to the heart of the importance of family and friends.