Category Archives: hanna-barbera

Yogi Bear 2010

Yogi Bear ~ This is the live action and CGI big screen movie from Christmas 2010 that pretty much bombed at the box office. Much like The Green Hornet a year or so back, I have to wonder if its because the current movie going audience has no point of reference for Yogi Bear any longer.

When I was a wee toddler waaay back in the late sixties, I have great memories of watching classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters like Yogi Bear with my dad. It’s a good memory, sitting with my father, seeing the five to eight minute adventures of Huckleberry Hound, Jinx the Cat, Pixie and Dixie, and Jellystone Park’s favorite pick-a-nick basket thieves, Yogi and Boo Boo Bear.

Later those good memories of semi-good kids cartoons were ruined by parents groups in the seventies, leading them to join together to fight pollution on “Yogi’s Gang,” and then later were sidelined as peripheral funny animal characters on “Scooby-Doo’s Laff-A-Lympics.” After that, except for a handful of forgettable appearances, Yogi was, well, forgotten. Maybe, after the seventies, with good reason. Still, the 1960s cartoon shorts have a warm spot in my heart.

That said, I doubt most of the folks who saw this in theaters even knew who Yogi is, um, was. Those that did, might have been put off as I was. The CGI Yogi and Boo Boo is kinda cool, until you see them next to live action human beings. Then the reality sets in that they are bears because the size ratio is correct and troubling. Bears, even those wearing ties, sometimes tend to eat people. I can see young kids being maybe freaked out by this.

The plot is much too long and complicated for the characters who work best in ten minute increments at most. Similar structure has ruined of films of this genre like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and even Looney Tunes and The Simpsons. Honestly, I would have been happy with eight ten-minute vignettes than one eighty-minute movie, but that’s me.

Intellectually disturbing (for me at least) is the fact they acknowledge Yogi and Boo Boo are not only bears, but talking, thinking, tie wearing bears. They even acknowledge its rare, but they never explain why. That drives me nuts. Maybe it’s just too meta for me to get past, but it bugs the hell outta me.

Then there’s also the voice casting of Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake as Yogi and Boo Boo. Timberlake is not bad at all, but Ackroyd, once you know it’s him, never sounds like anything but Dan Ackroyd doing a bad Daws Butler as Yogi Bear imitation. Some folks may have enjoyed and praised us, but not me, I couldn’t get past it.

All in all, Yogi Bear wasn’t bad, fairly harmless actually, and did have the spirit at least of those original sixties cartoons. Anna Faris didn’t annoy the hell out of me, and it had Journey music, so it couldn’t be all bad. Good for the kiddies even though they might not even know Yogi or Boo Boo.




A Film Review of Scooby-Doo

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Being a comics fan there is a terror that I know only too well. It is the fear that a work from one genre (usually comics, but sometimes in this case a TV cartoon) will be brought to the big screen and altered in such a way to destroy it or make it unrecognizable. Ask any comics fan what they thought of Batman and Robin or Superman III and you might get some grasp of this terror. Hollywood hates comics and cartoons, that’s just the way it is.

Scooby-Doo is the exception. Its opening scene is the cartoon series. It’s as if the characters were lifted from Hanna-Barbera land and made flesh and blood – it is beautiful. And then the unthinkable happens. They evolve. The Scooby Gang grows up, they are changed by circumstances, they become three-dimensional. This is a win/win situation. The fans get the folks they’ve already fallen in love with and new movie people get real fleshed-out (pun intended) characters.

The story concerns the Mystery Inc. crew (Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and his CGI rendered talking pooch Scooby-Doo) reuniting to investigate a haunted theme park that seems to be brainwashing the youth of America. It pretty much could have been lifted right out of the cartoon and yet fits perfectly in the movie context. The cast is perfect especially Linda Cardellini as Velma when she trades in the bulky sweater for a low cut shirt.

There are lots of nods to the cartoon like references to Shaggy’s possible drug use, Fred’s strange fashion sense, Daphne always getting captured and Fred and Velma’s questionable sexuality. All in all this was a lot of fun and really, what more can you ask of in a movie? Go see it, you’ll enjoy it.