Movie Review – ‘The Country Bears’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I’ve seen another film on Disney+ called ‘The Country Bears’. This film was released in 2002 and it’s a musical road comedy directed by Peter Hastings. It happens to be based on the Disney theme park attraction called ‘Country Bear Jamboree’. I’ve yet to attend Disneyland and its various attractions. 🙂

This was a fun film to check out! I’ve seen other Disney films based on theme park rides including the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films, ‘The Haunted Mansion’ and recently ‘Jungle Cruise’. They’ve been mostly action-packed. Here, ‘The Country Bears’ is more musical comedy-styled, which is nice. 🙂

In a world where humans and talking bears coexist with each other, there’s a young bear raised by a human family called Beary Barrington. After discovering he’d been adopted, Beary attempts to trace his roots and he soon meets up with the Country Bears, a long-since broken-up country music band.

Beary happens to be a huge fan of the Country Bears. They happen to be a parody of bands like the Eagles. Beary helps the Country Bears to reunite in order to perform one final concert before Country Bear Hall gets torn down. Will Beary ever find out who he truly is whilst helping the Country Bears? 🙂

What I find fascinating about this film is how the filmmakers used animatronic bear suits created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in order to make the bears come to life. The bear animatronics are very impressive, especially when they’re talking and they’re synching with the voice actors’ dialogue here.

The way they walk about in almost human manners is also amusing and fun to watch. Apparently, this film turned out to be a critical and commercial flop, meaning no sequel was made. My Dad wondered if ‘The Country Bears’ did another film and it’s a shame as I found this film entertaining. 🙂

The film features the talent of Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Beary Barrington, along with Diedrich Bader as Ted Bedderhead, Candy Ford as Trixie St. Claire, James Gammon as Big Al, Brad Garrett as Fred Bedderhead, Toby Huss as Tennesse O’Neil, Kevin Michael Richardson as Henry Dixon Taylor, and Stephen Root as Zeb Zoober. Praise must go to the actors inside their bear suits. 🙂

In terms of the human cast, there’s Christopher Walken (who you may have seen in ‘Batman Returns’ and ‘Mouse Hunt’) as Reed Thimple, a banker and the main villain of the film. I found him very entertaining, especially when interacting with bears and saying “THIS IS NOT OVER! BEARS!!!!!”

There’s also Stephen Tobolowsky as Norbert Barrington, Beary’s adoptive father; Meagen Fay as Norma Barrington, Beary’s adoptive mother; and Eli Marienthal as Dex Barrington, Beary’s adoptive older brother. Dex is quite mean-spirited to Beary early on in the film, but he soon grows to like him.

Dex also says the similar ‘Stuart Little’ line of “That’s no little bear! That’s my brother!” at the end of the film. 😀 There’s also Daryl Mitchell as Officer Hamm and Diedrich Bader (in a dual role) as Officer Cheets. My Mum remarked how police officers can be dopey in these films, which is a fair comment.

There’s also Alex Rocco as Rip Holland, the former promoter of the Country Bears who’s asked to promote them again. There’s M.C. Gainey as Roadie, the Country Bears’ bus driver/band drummer who owns a chicken called Mr. Chicken. I wonder if Roadie slept in that Country Bears bus for years.

Other guest stars/cameos include Jennifer Paige as a waitress; Queen Latifah (who would go on to voice Ellie in the ‘Ice Age’ films), and Sir Elton John, who gets mistaken for a gardener by the Country Bears. 🙂 Maybe Elton’s appearances in the ‘Morecambe & Wise’ Christmas Specials were better. 😀

‘The Country Bears’ has been a fun film to check out on Disney+. I’m glad I’ve seen it. It’s a shame it didn’t do so well when it was released back in 2002. I found myself laughing at certain points during the film, including where one bear punched another bear in the face. It was so unexpectedly funny! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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