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We're Going on a Bear Hunt follows the intrepid adventures of siblings Stan, Katie, Rosie, Max, a baby and Rufus the dog, who decide one day to go on an adventure in search of bears. Coming up against a host of obstacles the family ventures through swirling whirling snowstorms, thick oozy mud and big dark forests on their ambitious quest. But when Rosie and Rufus become detached from the rest of the party it looks like bear-hunting might not be such fun after all...
Premiered on Channel 4 in the UK during Christmas 2016, this short was produced by Lupus Films, the makers of The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012) which premiered on Channel 4 four years earlier during Christmas 2012. See more »
Michael Rosen's 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' was a family and school favourite for years.
To this day it still holds up as a timeless and immensely charming piece of literature, with wonderful illustrations, that the whole family can enjoy. It is also one of those rare cases where repetition is not a bad thing. In 2016, 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' was adapted as a 30-minute animation, shown over the Christmas holidays.
Despite the initial scepticism as to whether a great, but admittedly slight, story like 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' would work this way, it turned out to be better than expected and passes the time nicely. Not a great adaptation as such, but stands more than serviceably on its own two feet.
With that being said, it is easy to see why anybody who grew up with 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' would be disappointed. 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' (2016) from personal opinion would have worked better as 10-15 minute short film. While there are bits that are recognisable and a good enough job is done making the most out of the lovely if repetitive text, some parts did feel like padding, that didn't always add to or enhance the storytelling as it could have done, stretched to fill a somewhat too long running time.
Can also definitely understand any criticisms regarding the darker and more melancholic ending. Thought it was rather moving myself, but at the same time it did feel at odds with the rest of the story tonally, which in comparison was lighter, more gentle and more upbeat.
However, there is no denying that 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' is very well made and beautifully animated, the level of detail and how gorgeously it was all drawn was staggering. The music is also a perfect fit, with an appropriate understated whimsy and lushness.
Execution of the story is not perfect, but there is still plenty of charm in the telling of it and there is always more than enough to keep the whole family's attention. As well as plenty to please both children and adults, neither ever too complicated or too simple, with enough moments to laugh, cry and aw over.
Furthermore, the characters carry 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' well and are endearing and the voice acting is very good all round. While Pam Ferris and Mark Williams are the most famous names, it was really interesting and an added bonus to have Rosen himself voicing the bear, and very well too.
Overall, a half an hour well spent but could have been shorter. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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