Yogi Bear

Movie review by Neil Sadler

Starring: Dan Ackroyd (voice), Justin Timberlake (voice), Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, T J Miller, Andrew Daly, Josh Robert Thompson, David Stott

Director: Eric Brevig

YOGI BEAR is preceded by a short Roadrunner/Wile E.Coyote film that is everything YOGI BEAR isn’t. It is well made, funny and captures all the elements that made the original characters so great and well remembered.

Both the short and YOGI BEAR itself are in 3D and they very clearly demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the technology. In the cartoon and for some points in the film itself, it adds to the story, brings you into their world more and through some neat tricks, makes you laugh.

However for the most part, the 3D in YOGI BEAR makes every background seem as if it were created and projected on a green screen. Rather than drawing you into the action, this separates you from it and makes it all seem less real and current. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, when a film is in 3D especially if it was not filmed for 3D but up-scaled, you lose a lot of the clarity especially in action scenes.

But the distance you feel from the action is not helped by the fact that the film, although mercifully short, still feels drawn out and uninvolving.

Riffing on a typical Yogi Bear story, we meet Yogi (Dan Ackroyd) and Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake!! Yes, really) who spend their days at Jellystone Park trying to sate Yogi’s constant hunger for picnic baskets. There is a convoluted plot concerning a corrupt politician determining to sell off the park for logging rights and some sub plots involving jealous rangers and Anna Faris as a love interest, but none of this excuses the fact that this is a film with four credited writers and not an ounce of originality.

I feel quite sorry for the human cast, as they are basically cartoon characters with about that level of humour and emotion. Anna Faris especially deserves a decent break. The SCARY MOVIE franchise was bad enough but this film stinks worse than a month old picnic basket.

At least Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake can hide behind their computer-animated constructs. Considering Justin Timberlake has made a career of imitating Michael Jackson vocally, both he and Dan Ackroyd do adequate imitations of the original voices but it is what they say that is so forgettable. Timberlake has proven he is a good actor in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and ALPHA DOG but comparing Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue with this is like comparing Yellowstone Park with a fake plastic office plant.

Cartoons work well because they are short and formulaic but as the SCOOBY DOO and FLINTSTONE movies showed, these formulas don’t work well when stretched.

Yogi Bear claims to be smarter than the average bear. Unfortunately his movie proves dumber than the average fare!

1 out of 6 stars

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