Tuesday 22 August 2017

Movies: Yogi Bear **

(G, GENERAL RELEASE)

Paul Whitington

A prominent feature of mine and many other childhoods, Yogi Bear was a verbose and winsome Hanna-Barbera cartoon character who spent most of his time trying to steal "pick-a-nic" baskets from unsuspecting visitors to Jellystone National Park with the help of his sidekick, Boo-Boo.

He spoke in a kind of dopey voice and sported a shirt collar and tie and a pork pie hat for some reason, and even had a girlfriend called Cindy, who sometimes doubted Yogi's assertion that he was "smarter than the average bear".

This Warner Brothers feature adaptation was made using the kind of CGI/live action mix popularised by films such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, and it remains a troublesome technique.

Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and Boo-Boo (brought to life, believe it or not, by the dulcet tones of Justin Timberlake) are constantly scheming to divest visitors of their picnic hampers, much to the displeasure of Jellystone's kindly chief warden Smith (Tom Cavanagh). But when the park's very existence is threatened by an unscrupulous local politician who wants to rezone the place as farmland, Smith and Yogi must join forces to do something about it.

Aykroyd was actually a pretty good choice for the voice of Yogi, and does a decent job overall. There is the odd funny moment too, but overall the film feels clunky and hesitant and the mix of CGI and actors just doesn't make for comfortable viewing. They might have been better off doing a Yogi cartoon feature, but of course that would have been a lot more expensive, and creatively demanding.

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