Yogi Bear is a soulless picture with a terrible script and acting from people who knew they weren’t making high class family entertainment. The visual effects were at least half decent but everything else was either dumb or unfunny, a deadly combination for any comedy.
Genre(s): Animation, Family, Comedy
Warner Bros. | PG – 80 min. – $35.99 | March 22, 2011
Directed by: Eric Brevig
Writer(s): Jeffrey Ventimilia & Joshua Sternin and Brad Copeland (written by)
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake (voices); Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh
Theatrical Release Date: December 17, 2010
Features: Featurettes, Looney Tunes Cartoon, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 1.5/5
“I love this place!” exclaims Rachel, the character played stiffly by Anna Faris. I wonder if Faris had walked into Warner Brothers thinking she was auditioning for the next Batman movie and they drugged her and instead she signed on to this stinker known as Yogi Bear, the latest addition in a sadly long list of ill advised cartoon-to-live action adaptations (see: Garfield and Alvin and the Chipmunks).
The story seemed to be lifted from, of all places, Dr. Dolittle 2 as thanks to a state funding shortfall and an unscrupulous mayor (ANDREW DALY) with ambitions for the governorship decides the way to raise funds is to close down Jellystone National Park and cut down the trees providing a windfall for the city and the ass hat can pay off voters with $1000 checks.
One of the reasons apparently for the park’s demolition is that one Yogi Bear (voiced by DAN AYKROYD) and his pal Boo-Boo (JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) wreak havoc amongst visitors as Yogi does his darnest to steal their… don’t make me write it… pic-a-nic baskets (*sigh*). This greatly displeases Ranger Smith (TOM CAVANAUGH) – in that he makes goofy faces – as he wishes Yogi would just act like a regular bear. But then his attentions are diverted when naturist Rachel (FARIS) stops by to shoot a documentary and decides she wants Yogi and Boo-Boo to be the center of it so she outfits Boo-Boo with a camera hidden inside a bow tie (no doubt that will come in handy).
Anyway, back to the deforestation scheme, Ranger Smith tries to save the park by raising enough money to keep the place in the black for the fiscal year but as you might guess, Yogi gets in the way despite his best intentions. Trying to be the center of attention, he puts on a show for the packed park by water skiing which brings one question that you might ask: why wouldn’t a walking and talking bear be impressive? Well, apparently that’s something accepted as we learn later after Yogi and Boo-Boo venture into the city and nobody blinks an eye at the sight… While I agree a stunt bear is amazing, one would assume a walking and talking one would bring in just as much revenue.
In regards to the casting, not to disparage any of these fine actors, I realize mortgages have to get paid so any opportunity for a decent paycheck should be jumped on and with this group, I can understand why. So I can’t really fault them here especially with a script this ridiculous and jokes that completely fall flat. Having seen “Scrubs” and “Ed”, I know Tom Cavanaugh is a good actor. Ditto for Anna Faris, at least comedy wise, with her performances in the Scary Movie… movies. Those tended to be a mess with terrible jokes but she seemed to give it her all. With Yogi Bear, both of them knew they were in a crap movie and tried to make the best of it.
Speaking of making the best of it, I will admit the voice casting at least did get it right with Dan Aykroyd as Yogi and Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo. Unfortunately as good as the two sound, and from memory they were fairly close to the old animated series, the humor was downright awful with only one or two jokes actually getting a measly chuckle out of me.
Directed by Eric Brevig (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Yogi Bear is a soulless picture with a terrible script – by writers who brought you Tooth Fairy and Wild Hogs (and one has a Gilligan’s Island adaptation coming up), and acting from people who knew they weren’t making high class family entertainment. The visual effects were at least half decent but everything else was either dumb or unfunny, a deadly combination for any comedy.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2/5
The Blu-ray comes with a glossy and reflective slip cover.
Under Spending a Day at Jellystone Park, you can go to various sections to watch individual features. Why didn’t they just list them out or at least give us the option to do so? I have no idea. All together, these 14 featurette total around 34-minutes and is the definition of quantity over quality… Also, these seemed to have been thrown together in the sections at random.
Stand-In Shenanigans (2:31; HD) – The two stand-ins for Yogi and Boo-Boo are at focus in the featurette and how they contribute to help the actors. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Ranger Jones’ Real Life Audition (3:04; HD) featurette is on T.J. Miller’s audition for the part including working with a real bear. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Baskit Nabber 2000 (2:00; HD) – Ever wondered how the Baskit Nabber 2000 was made? Yeah, neither did I. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Voicing Yogi and Boo-Boo (4:14; HD) is a short behind-the-microphone look at Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake doing their voice work. Of the featurettes, this is probably the most interesting. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Jellystone Park Jewel: Litterbug (1:29; HD) – Ranger Jones talks about litter in this skit.
Vote for Mayor Brown (1:13; HD) is a campaign outtakes for the fictional a-hole politician. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
“Sickness Was Love”: A Love Song for Rachel (2:22; HD) is the musical video of sorts of the song… ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Jellystone Park Tourism (1:19; HD) – Ranger Smith hosts the mock promotion video for Jellystone. ** Blu-ray Exclusive *
JELLY JARRING RAPIDS:
Animated Bears (2:33; HD) – Featurette about the actors working, most often, against nothing except sticks or a stuffed bear. It then goes into “detail” on animated Yogi and Boo-Boo. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Jellystone Park Jewel: Yogi’s Secret Hiding Spot (1:46; HD) – Ranger Jones shows the objects Yogi has hidden in the forest (well, behind a tree). It’s just a lame, lame skit.
The Rapids (3:14; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette on the rapids shooting both on location and against a blue screen. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Everyone Wants to be Yogi (2:27; HD) – The cast (including Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake and Anna Faris) and crew explain their fandom for the old cartoon.
Building Jellystone Park (3:22; HD) covers the locations in New Zealand used for filming. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Frog-Mouthed Turtle (2:48; HD) centers on the development and design of the turtle at the center of the third act. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Separated from that section, because it’s also available on the DVD, is a Yogi Bear Mash-Up (3:37; HD) where you can look at a comparison between the live action movie and the animated television show mixed in with sound bites by the cast.
Are You Smarter Than the Average Bear? – You can find the answer to this question by taking this fun interactive picnic challenge. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Looney Tunes “Rabid Rider” (3:07; HD) is a new CG animated short about the antics of Wyle-E.-Coyote and his nemesis, the Road Runner. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The set also includes a DVD/Digital Copy combo disc. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Yogi Bear is presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio (shown in theaters in 1.85) and in 1080p high-definition. The picture looks good enough especially considering it’s bright and shiny that will keep the attention of any kid watching. The detail levels are pretty good especially the animated elements while the live action actors have well balanced skin tones.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t particularly special, just getting the job done. The dialogue level is nice but I didn’t hear that much depth during the action sequences, the rapid scene specifically. The rear channels get some use but it’s all low by comparison with other recent Warner releases.
OVERALL – 2/5
Younger viewers (and I mean 5 and under) might have a fun time but the adults may want to gauge their eyes out and cover their ears. There’s very little about Yogi Bear that I can recommend. The voice acting might’ve at least been pretty good but when you don’t material that works, the entire picture falls flat.