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CGIFeature Film

China Produces Its First 3D CGI Feature: “Boonie Bears” [UPDATED]

I’m not sure what’s harder to believe: that China still hasn’t released its own homegrown 3D CGI animated feature or that the first one they are releasing later this month is something called Boonie Bears (Xiong Chumo). [UPDATE: Chinese media reports that this is the country’s first 3D CGI film may be inaccurate; our pals at YAM remind us that there was another Chinese feature in 2011 called Legend of a Rabbit.)

Boonie Bears is based on a popular TV series currently broadcast on Central China Television. Over 200 episodes of the show have been produced, expounding the general theme of peaceful coexistence between man and nature. In the show, man is represented by a logger named Vick and nature comes in the form of two bears, Briar and Bramble. Tons of episodes are posted onto YouTube; here’s a typical example:

A 70-minute TV special, Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey, aired last spring in China, and will be released next week on DVD in the United States. The English-language trailer for the special is memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

Like the TV series, the feature is produced by Fantawild Animation Inc. (whose other shows include Chicken Stew-Tales from the Salted-Egg Temple, Brainy Bubbly Bug Buddies, and Power Panda Posse) in association with Mr. Cartoon Pictures, LEVP and Zhujiang Film.

(via CRI English)

  • iamsam

    The question for me is they couldn’t make anything better looking that something video Briquendo would make? I mean there are folks doing things that look really good in their basement and they had a whole team? Really not a good start for Chinese animation

  • TStevens

    Well… it is crood looking now, but give them a few years and they might be producing features at a quality level close to Pixar.
    There is a lot of national pride wrapped up in these projects since a great deal of the Chinese box office is dominated by foriegn titles. Look at Japan: most of the early animated films are pretty goofy but, at some point in the seventies or eighties, they became fully self aware.
    China is already considered in many cirlces to be the next hot spot for art. I supsect film making will follow suit if the government censors open up.

  • Capital7

    There’s a lot to like going on here. I love the treatment of the sets and backgrounds.

  • Mister Twister

    Can SOMEBODY make their first animated feature WITH PEOPLE? It is really that hard? Is animation cursed or something?

    • otterhead

      You mean like Despicable Me?

      • Mister Twister

        You are talking about The Minions Movie. It’s not about people at all; people just guest star in it.

        • Tarzan

          Well, it’s the medium of animation, so a lot of people want to do non-human characters because they can.

          • Chris Sobieniak

            Can’t argue with that. There are times when I’m not interest in human beings at all in my animation.

  • AnimationGuy

    For a TV series… it’s actually pretty good on a technical level, certainly not the worst by far.
    And the human characters look more appealing than the typical Dreamworks affair.
    Just sayin’.

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    Oh yes, The Boonie Bears. It’s actually been a TV series for sometime now and going from this advert I came across on Facebook a little while back , it seems it’s been dubbed into English (at least for the TV series) as well.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Wouldn’t surprise me they got that far. I only noticed this series last year fiddling around with the CCTV app I side-loaded onto my Android tablet and wondered what in the world was this! Obviously being open-minded helps you when language doesn’t!

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Looks pretty good. I really like the bears.

  • I did not get the “for all the wrong reasons” bit when I started watching the trailer..then they started to talk. Yikes, who OK’d that mess?
    On the whole though, this looks serviceable, I mean, I’ve seen much, much worse. But I’ve seen student films that are much, much better sooooo, best word is “meh” I guess. **shrugs**

  • James Wilkinson

    Am I the only one that thinks the character designs for those bears are hideous? The rest of the cast are pretty decent (and I like the paper cut-out aesthetic of the backgrounds) but the bears themselves are grotesque.