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The Little Polar Bear (2001)

Der Kleine Eisbär

Cutesy German animation

Directed by:

Piet De Rycker & Thil Rothkirch

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 78 minutes

UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Country: Germany

Why don’t polar bears eat penguins? Because they can’t get the wrappers off, obviously. But, in ‘The Little Polar Bear’ – the cutesy German animation based on the kiddies’ books by Hans de Beer – they don’t eat seals either, which takes a bit more explaining.

You see, when Lars (the bear cub of the title) makes friends with a seal pup called Robby, the entire polar bear population are forced to realise the error of their ways and start eating fish instead. Don’t know how the fish feel about that, of course – perhaps they’ll save that issue for the sequel.

This harmless but fairly lame little toon is basically three separate stories, all about Lars landing himself in various spots of bother, bless ‘im. At one point, he falls asleep on a chunk of ice and inadvertently drifts all the way to a non-specific tropical paradise. At another, he comes face to face with a gigantic fish-munching sea vessel (there’s those fish getting it in the neck again).

The artwork is nice, simple stuff, and the sporadically CGI-aided animation is of a decent standard. Unfortunately the English dialogue, translated as it is from the German original, doesn’t work particularly well. Excitement and humour are both kept to a disappointing minimum and, while there’s probably just about enough on display to satisfy the target pre-school audience, any accompanying adults can expect to drift repeatedly in and out of consciousness.

It's Got: Clinically-depressed lemmings.

It Needs: get rid of the irritating singing penguin

DVD Extras Lars’ DVD Guide (which seems suspiciously like a polar bear – an animal that doesn’t even have proper fingers - trying to tell us how to work a remote control), some VERY basic background info on the main characters, a flip-book fade-in sequence, “create your own animated movie” (well, not exactly – it really just lets you choose the running order of three scenes), a trailer, three interactive games, a music editing thingy, and a sing-a-long section featuring some unknown girlband singing a catchy cover of The Eurythmics’ ‘There Must Be An Angel’ to a remarkably large audience. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Summary

Strictly for the littlest of little ‘uns.

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