Monday, December 20, 2010
My Reveiw of the Yogi Bear Movie
Saturday I went to see the new CGI Yogi Bear Movie (I didn't see it in 3-D, I find those glasses annoying). I found the movie to be pretty good, funny in places that used classic cartoon slapstick and the bathroom humor kept to a minimum (it seems that new versions of classic cartoon charaters always have to fart, burp or vomit, I guess producers think that is the only way to get laughs out of kids).
The plot of the movie is that Jellystone Park is losing money. It isn't a national park like in the TV series (this took away one of Yogi's classic excuses when caught by Ranger Smith threatening punishment, "I'm a government protected bear!"). So is the adjoining town so the corrupt Mayor wants to sell the rights to Jellystone to a logging company. This will make the Mayor look good in the voters eyes (and voting ballots) because it will get the town out of debt and give the townspeople an extra $1000 bucks.
Meanwhile in Jellystone Yogi is up to his usual picnic basket stealing schemes. In this film Yogi and Boo Boo act like Yogi and Boo Boo and in my opinion, this is what you what from this type of film. Yes it is a little off-putting seeing the two bears with fangs and claws, but going for a somewhat realistic look they still maintain their cartoon characteristics. Justin Timberlake does a great job of voicing Boo Boo, he sounds very close to the original version done by the great voice artist Don Messick. Yogi on the other hand, well I don't remember who wrote this but it sounds like Dan Aykroyd (who voices Yogi in the movie) imitating Rodney Dangerfield imitating Yogi Bear. It doesn't really sound like the original voice provided by Daws Butler, the great voice artist who gave voice to many of the great characters created by Hanna-Barbera.
A young documentary filmmaker named Rachel (played by Anna Farris) comes to the park to study "the two talking, upright standing bears". She becomes smitten with Ranger Smith (played by Tom Cavanagh) when she finds out they share a love of all things in forestry.
Cavanagh plays the ranger as kind of bumbling and clumsy, especially when he is around Rachel. This goes against the personality established in the cartoon series. Of course in the TV show he was always exasperated because of Yogi's actions which he still is in the film.
Mr. Rangers assistant, Ranger Jones (played by T.J. Miller) is an over-eager ex-boy scout who wants to be head ranger and questions everything Smith does. I found this character to be completely annoying and over the top especially when he becomes a pawn of the corrupt Mayor in his plan to take over Jellystone.
The Mayor tells Ranger Smith that the park is in debt and if he dosen't come up with twenty grand, he will take over the park. Ranger Smith comes up with a plan to get the money by throwing a big celebration picnic celebrating Jellystones' 100th Anniversary. The big payoff will be a big fireworks display. The picnic goes great but thanks to the evil Mayor's prodding, he convinces Jones to "step things up" by getting Yogi to perform his water skiing act. This of course turns into a disaster and ruins the picnic. Smith is out and Jones is in, unaware that the park is going to be nothing a forest of stumps. Yogi and Boo Boo find out the evil Mayor's plan and travel to the city to find Ranger Smith to save Jellystone.
The film moves a little slow but none-the-less is entertaining. I thought it could use a lot more picnic stealing gags but it cuts to the main plot pretty quick. (The movie only lasts 80 minutes)
On a scale of 1 to 5 stars (1 being bad, 5 being good) I'd give it a 3. This is the first time in many years of anything being done with Yogi and Boo Boo and I would have to say it was a good movie - not great but good.
By the way before the movie, one of the new Road Runner CGI shorts was played. The plot centered around Wile E. Coyote souping up a Segway Rider to chase the Road Runner which of course continuously backfires on him. I found this short to be very funny. My only problem with it was that it was only three minutes long. Chuck Jones established in his cartoons that their would always be eleven gags per each short which usually lasts seven minutes. And this is the first time the gags were centered around one theme (the Segway). Still it was very funny and I hope to see more in the future.