December 25, 2010
Review - " Yogi Bear " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Eric Brevig
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Justin
Timberlake, Anna Faris, Tom
Cavanagh, T.J. Miller, Nathan Corddry,
Whenever they announce something
like a Marmaduke movie, or a Smurfs
movie, or a - sure, why not? - Yogi Bear
movie, people's reaction is always the
same: "Who wanted THAT?!" Well, I
hate to break it to you, but we've
reached the point where it doesn't
matter if literally not one person on
Earth wants to see a big-screen version
of a fictional character. If someone in
Hollywood owns the rights to that character, a movie will be made. That's just how it is.
So here, inevitably, is "Yogi Bear," which puts a computer-animated Yogi and Boo Boo in a live-action Jellystone Park and
gives them the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake. Turns out Aykroyd and Timberlake do really good impressions
of these 50-year-old cartoon characters, which means there is at least one aspect of the film worthy of praise.
If you ever watched Saturday morning cartoons you are probably aware, Yogi is a binge-eating kleptomaniac with a particular
fetish for picnic baskets. He is enabled by his best friend Boo Boo, who is the Barney Rubble to Yogi's Fred. Yogi and Boo
Boo both wear neckties, but only Yogi wears a hat, because he is in charge. Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and Ranger
Jones (T.J. Miller), the only two employees at the enormous Jellystone Park, find Yogi's habit of stealing visitors' food far more
noteworthy than his ability to speak. A nature photographer named Rachel (Anna Faris), who wants to make a documentary
about Jellystone, is eager to meet the talking bears for novelty's sake, but soon becomes blasé about it. Her interest in the
park is related to the grandeur of its natural beauty, not the fact that talking bears live in it.
Jellystone Park is celebrating its 100 anniversary, however it may be for the last time, because attendance is down and Mayor
Brown wants to close the park and sell the land. If the park is closed, Yogi Bear and Boo Boo will lose their home. They join
forces with Ranger Smith to save Jellystone from closing forever. Yogi must really prove in this endeavor that he is "smarter
than the average bear".
A big problem with of a lot of entertainment geared towards the youngsters of today: Why are all these kids movies so
damned stupid? Children deserve better than this. Pixar has the right idea, and demonstrates that children's entertainment
doesn't have to stoop to elementary school bathroom humor to connect with the kids or bank on nostalgia to entertain the
adults. It takes added effort and a lot of talent, but when you're spending millions, you should want the best product possible.
The added irony is that Warner Bros. used to be a leader in cartoon programming. With Yogi Bear, Warner Bros.
demonstrates that throwing money at a problem can't fix it. Even with 3D photography enhancing the antics perpetrated by
Yogi and Boo-Boo, the film is barely
entertaining, and proves once and
again that you still need a good
story, strong characters and
decent dialogue to drive a film.
The fact is, it's a movie targeted at
kids, but using a franchise that only
their parents might recall, and even
then, it kind of stomps on that
nostalgia. While kids may be able
to see some fun in Yogi Bear, the
adults will probably be wishing for
their old Saturday Morning 2D
In truth Yogi Bear is only slightly
better than mediocre - however,
for the exceptional voicework of
Ackroyd & Timberlake plus a large
dose of nostalgia, I'll give it
the 2 1/2 stars