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Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot
The film's title logo appears against a blue sky with some white clouds. The words "Care Bears" are stacked above the subtitle, "Journey to Joke-a-lot".
Title card
Directed by Mike Fallows
Produced by Cynthia Taylor
Written by Jeffrey Alan Schechter
Starring Julie Lemieux
Allie Cannito
Adrian Truss
Susan Roman
Katie Griffin
Music by Ian Thomas
Editing by Annellie Samuel
Studio Nelvana Limited
American Greetings
Distributed by United States:
Lions Gate Home Entertainment (Family Home Entertainment)
Overseas:
Universal Studios Home Video
Release date(s) October 5, 2004
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Canada
Language English
Budget US$3–5 million

Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot is a 2004 direct-to-video computer animated musical adventure film, produced by Nelvana and released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment. It was the first Nelvana production featuring the Care Bears in the last 24 years, since the Care Bears Nutcracker Suite television film in 1988. Directed by Mike Fallows and written by Jeffrey Alan Schecter, this was the fourth film to star the Care Bears and their first in 17 years. This was also the first one in the franchise to be computer-animated.

The film centres on Funshine Bear, a Care Bear who loves to laugh and tell jokes. After one of his jokes backfires against Grumpy, another of the Bears, Funshine runs away to find a place where others can appreciate his talents better. He discovers a town known as Joke-a-lot, where laughter and humour are the order of the day, and soon becomes the area's "King". Unknown to the Bear, a rat named Sir Funnybone is using him that way in order to possess an important object called the Royal Sceptre.

Journey to Joke-a-lot premiered in the United States on October 5, 2004, through Lions Gate, and was subsequently released overseas through Universal Studios. It received generally positive reviews, although the computer animation was singled out. In the midst of this installment's success, Lions Gate released a 2005 sequel, The Care Bears' Big Wish Movie. A soundtrack album, featuring the film's songs and some original tracks, was released by Madacy Kids on the same day as the film's debut.

Plot

The Care Bears live in a cloud-filled land known as Care-a-lot ("With All Your Heart"). One of the Bears, Grumpy, is working on a rainbow carousel for the upcoming Care Bear Fair. His fellow Care Bears come by for a look; one of them, Funshine, loves telling jokes and making the other Care Bears laugh. After they reluctantly agree to try the carousel, it goes out of control and sends them into the sky before crashing down. Grumpy feels even worse after Funshine tries to cheer him up with a joke on height restrictions, which the other Bears find funny. Grumpy is not amused and even goes so far as to tell Funshine that if he doesn't understand that cheering up isn't making fun of, then maybe Funshine doesn't belong in Care-A-Lot. As a result, the Bears force him to make up with Funshine by apologizing. Upon reaching his house, they find no trace of their friend. Reading from a note, Tenderheart Bear realizes that Funshine has felt sorry for Grumpy and has gone in search of a place where his talents can be better appreciated. The other Bears are worried about his fate; as they cannot hold their Fair without him, they decide to look for him regardless and bring him back to Care-a-lot. Five of them— Tenderheart, Grumpy, Wish, Cheer and Share volunteer, while Laugh-a-Lot, Love-a-Lot, Friend, Good Luck, Bedtime, and Champ stay home to get ready for the fair.

The day after he runs away ("Make Em Laugh") from home, Funshine hears circus music in the distance and strays from his camping spot to find out. Taking a seat on a bumper car, he embarks on a long ride which leads him to Joke-a-lot, a town where humour is dominant ("In the Land of Joke-a-Lot"). The area's residents are astonished when he lands via parachute upon the town square; a female piglet called Gig tells him where he now is. Then a rat named Sir Funnybone arrives at the scene and dubs Funshine the area's long-lost King (although Funshine insists otherwise). Funnybone actually placed the car within the woods so that he could begin to gain his own power; he tells that to his henchmen, a trio of houseflies named Phido, Cleon, and Bidel.

Eventually, Funshine learns the hard way that "serious" is a very bad word in Joke-a-lot. The Joke-a-lot residents celebrate a "Laff-Fest" in his honour; Funnybone gives him a tour of the town and takes him to his Royal Palace, where Funshine learns of the last two Kings and is introduced to the Royal Sceptre. Stored in a vault within the voice-activated Royal Treasury, the sceptre holds the Royal Jewels of Joke-a-lot, which Funnybone says are "the source of the magic power behind all the fun" there; only the king is granted access. Funshine wants to look, but Funnybone tells him that a coronation is about to take place. He plans to take command of the sceptre, now in the hands of a slow, elderly alligator called Grand Duke Giggle.

At the coronation, Joke-a-lot's new "king" tells his audience two jokes to pass the time, before Grand Duke Giggle proceeds to give him the sceptre. Meanwhile, the other Care Bears find his belongings and take the same ride that he did. After they crash into the Royal Palace, Funshine is delighted to see them, but the Bears are a bit puzzled over what he has become. They miss Funshine and want him to return home to Care-a-lot where he belongs. Even Grumpy apologizes for his earlier harsh words towards him. Thus, he must make a very difficult decision—to head back home with them, or remain King of Joke-a-lot ("Here I'm a King") and no longer live with his fellow Care Bears. He then announces that he will go home, but Sir Funnybone wants him to stay as king.

During the "Laff-Fest", Giggle gives the sceptre to the new king. Funnybone orders Phido, Cleon, and Bidel to steal it when Funshine is not looking. He gets into the Treasury with it, unlocks the Royal Jewels, and escapes with this loot on a pink dirigible. As Grumpy is fixing his carousel, the other Bears must use it to stop Funnybone. The machine spins onto the dirigible, bursting the balloon and sending it aground.

When the Care Bears come to Funnybone, he reveals his real name and homeland—Basil Ratbone, from the No Fun Atoll, whose inhabitants have lived through a "serious" modus operandi. He wanted the jewels so much to enliven his fellow residents that he planned on stealing them from Joke-a-lot, and even pretended that Funshine's "tummy symbol" was the royal birthmark. Instead, the real one—a "smiley mouth"—was at the back of Gig's ears. The other Bears open the chest to find a jack-in-the-box, and other toys, which Funshine assures them are the real magic jewels. Funnybone apologizes for his misdeeds, and soon all of Joke-a-lot attends a coronation in which Gig becomes their Princess (though she is really more like a Queen). The Bears promise to return to Joke-a-lot some other day and ride home on the flying horses from their carousel.

Cast

Name Character Source
Julie Lemieux Funshine Bear
Stevie Vallance Share Bear
Andrew Sabiston Tenderheart Bear
Sunday Muse Cheer Bear
Rob Tinkler Grumpy Bear
Sugar Lyn Beard Wish Bear
Angela Maiorano Love-a-lot Bear
Katie Griffin Laugh-a-lot Bear
Catherine Disher Friend Bear
Linda Ballantyne Champ Bear
Scott McCord Bedtime Bear
Susan Roman Good Luck Bear
Adrian Truss Sir Funnybone
Alessandra Cannito Gig
James Rankin Grand Duke Giggle
Jamie Walson Scribe
Len Carlson Philo
Neil Crone Bidel
Tony Daniels Cleon
Rick Miller Kangaroo Guard
Carolyn Larson Computer (PAL)
Richard Binsley Twinkers,

Music

Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released October 5, 2004
Label Madacy Kids

The music for Journey to Joke-a-lot was composed and produced by Canadian musician Ian Thomas; Jane Siberry wrote and performed the opening track, "With All Your Heart". A soundtrack album released by Madacy Entertainment's Madacy Kids label features 13 tracks, five of which were featured in the film: "With All Your Heart", "Make 'Em Laugh", "In the Land of Joke-a-lot", "Here I Am a King" and "I Like My Friends a Lot". Some weeks after the release of Joke-a-lot, Siberry performed "With All Your Heart" at the Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria, British Columbia; Adrian Chamberlain of that province's Times Colonist wrote that "[she] performed [the song] with absolute sincerity, even the jaunty refrain which is whistled. Only an artist like this—so intensely focused, so innately talented—could deliver such a diversity of elements in a potent and convincing manner." In 2005, Ian Thomas was nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Original Score for an Animated Program or Series, for his work on the film.

No. Title Length
1. "In the Land of Joke-a-lot"   3:01
2. "I Like My Friends a Lot"   3:05
3. "Make 'Em Laugh"   2:38
4. "Joke-a-lot Tour (Instrumental)"   1:37
5. "Here I'm a King"   2:51
6. "When I Get Home"   4:04
7. "Everyone Loves the Care Bears"   3:01
8. "You and Me"   3:20
9. "Me and My Amigo"   3:10
10. "Seriously"   4:02
11. "Show That You Care"   3:39
12. "We Love to Laugh"   3:05
13. "With All Your Heart"   7:21
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