The Movie: 6/10
Yogi Bear is a crazy little bear who strives more than anything to be better than the average bear. In this remake of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon classic, Yogi really is just average. This CGI remake of the classic tale of bear versus park ranger gets a pass based partly on nostalgia and the fact that it is aimed squarely at kids, but that is part of the problem here in my opinion. The target audience really should include parents, like myself, who grew up on the cartoon. While it is cool to see a remake and revisit some of those old memories, there just is very little here to keep any adult interested. It is not that the movie is bad, it just is glaringly short on plot or surprises, and the lack of any real adult interest means that the memories don’t match up with the remake.
The story takes place in Jellystone Park, where Yogi (voiced pretty well by Dan Aykroyd) and his little bear buddy Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake) are in the ever present process of trying to swipe pic-a-nick (I had to write it that way – i had no choice) baskets full of food. Yogi and Boo-Boo are the thorn in Ranger Smith’s side (Tom Cavanagh) as he attempts to keep the park going. Times have changed and the dwindling visitors to the park mean that it is in real danger, especially when Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) decides that he will close the park and harvest the trees in order to put the town back on track for financial stability.
When Yogi and his antics end up hurting Ranger Smith’s plans to raise money, all looks lost, but with the help of a beautiful filmmaker (Anna Feris) the crew sets out to right the ship.
Yogi Bear is really nor a horrible movie, but it truly is focused directly at youngsters, and the slapstick humor does seem to resonate with kids (my son has seen this movie twice already, and laughs like it is the funniest movie ever made). For adults, there are worse kids movies, but with the excellent job that studios have done in creating children’s movies for all ages, I was a little bit disappointed. Overall it is a bearable (sorry) watch, but it is not a stellar remake of a stellar original. It was neat to see some of the original sequences from the cartoon kind of redone in modern high definition CGI, but the nostalgia was not enough to make this a great watch. Great for the kids, but just average for the rest of us.
- Spending A Day At Jellystone Park – This is an interesting behind the scenes set-up, where you can visit different parts of Jellystone on a map, and get different extras about the movie. There are nine scenes that give us a view of everything from the actors to stunts from the movie.
- Are You Smarter Than The Average Bear – This is nothing more than the classic Memory game, featuring cards with pic-a-nic foods.
- New Looney Tunes Cartoon Rabid Rider – In this CGI 3 minute Looney Tune, we get to see our old friend Wiley Coyote as he continues his ever constant attempt to catch the one and only Road Runner. This is amazing to see in CGI, and this is a really fun watch.
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I will give the collective cover and menus for Yogi Bear a bit of a pass, as they are fun and energetic, and hold a kind of cartoonish feel that goes perfectly with the movie. This movie is made for the kids, and the cover just screams a fun time.
Audio & Video: 8/10
It can be hard to judge whether some of these CGI movies are going to make the grade visually, but Yogi Bear really looks pretty good. the CGI is consistent, and the detail is superb. It is always funny to see live actors trying to stare into a non-existent CGI creations eyes and miss completely, which only happens a few times here, but the color and detail on the blu-ray are well done. The 1.78:1 AVC 1080p encode is sharp and features very little aliasing and fuzz. The audio was pretty well done also, with a great mix of music and effects. Dialogue is well done, but the real fun is the audio effects for the slapstick falls and hits and such. They really use the audio to amp up the action, and for kids it works its magic perfectly.
For me Yogi Bear is a mixed bag. The movie itself is not all that great for adults, or even fans of the original cartoon. It is pretty well made for kids exclusively, which makes it, at times, a hard watch for adults. There just is not a whole lot of meat here in the story or acting, but it is a fun, non-thinking kind of movie, and my 5 year-old son eats up Yogi Bear like he was raised on the cartoon. The antics seem to hit the right spot with my boy, so he is a huge fan.
Overall Score 6/10