Why is it that bringing cartoon characters to life often leads to a monumentally horrible film? Case in point, Yogi Bear, one of the worst family films I’ve seen since another animated adaptation: Garfield. Talking bears aside, the film lacks logic, energy and, most of all, fun.
Taking from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Yogi Bear (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and his buddy Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake) spend their days hunting picnic baskets from the campers of Jellystone Park and evading the stuffy Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh). The story remains largely the same except the fact that Ranger Smith and his bumbling denizens co-exist with one another. So instead of evading the ranger, Yogi and Boo Boo must find a way to save their habitat from a dastardly mayor (Andrew Daly) and his plan to log Jellystone. Oh, yeah, Anna Faris is there too but I still haven’t figured out why her character needed to be there.
With the number of visitors down at Jellystone Park, the forested area is being threatened. Out goes a marketing campaign to get people back in the park and Yogi’s home safe again. Ranger Smith see the need for a gimmick but he struggles to come up with anything other than an anniversary celebration. Umm, how about those two brown bears that speak very clearly. They seem like a draw to me, despite their grating attempts at humor.
Honestly, there’s a lot to Yogi Bear that just seems lazy. The plot lacks logic at all the key points. The gags are plain. Even the actors look bored and uninspired. Sure, it was doubtful that the movie ever had the hope of being an awards-bait critical darling, but least of all it should have a little bit of fun. Rather, the greatest efforts seem to have been spent on making the bears look good and I’ll give them that. Yogi and Boo Boo both bridge the gap between animated- and real-life. But I knew that looking at the posters. I didn’t have to spend 80 minutes to figure that out.
Format wise, Warner’s Blu-ray release of Yogi Bear has all the bases covered. The combo pack includes the hi-def disc alongside a DVD and digital copy. The presentation of the film is as good as can be expected. The audio is equally strong (DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with additional tracks in French and Spanish Dolby 5.1).
Bonus features are led by the multi-threaded Interactive Map Tour of Jellystone Park. It includes several short featurettes about the making of the movie as well as random bits with the actors and stars. Given the much shorter length, I found several of these bits more funny than the film itself. Other features include a short promotional-style feature, a card matching game and a new Looney Tunes short ‘Rabid Rider,’ with the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. The classic duo have been given the CG treatment, however the story follows the same familiar pattern.
Yogi Bear Gallery