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Eric Brevig
Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, TJ Miller, Andrew Daly, Josh Robert Thompson
Writing Credits:
Jeffrey Ventimilia, Joshua Sternin, Brad Copeland

Life's a pic-a-nic.

Everyone’s favorite pic-a-nic basket-stealing bear brings his meal-mooching ways to movies in this live-action/CG-animated adventure starring Dan Aykroyd as the voice of Jellystone Park’s famed troublemaker Yogi Bear and Justin Timberlake as the voice of Yogi’s faithful pal Boo Boo. Jellystone has been losing business, so conniving Mayor Brown has decided to shut it down and sell the land. Faced with the loss of his home, Yogi must prove he really is “smarter than the average bear” as he and Boo Boo join forces with Ranger Smith to find a way to save the park from closing forever. Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, TJ Miller and Andrew Daly co-star in this wonderful new incarnation of Hanna-Barbera’s classic cartoon.

Box Office:
$80 million.
Opening Weekend
$16.411 million on 3515 screens.
Domestic Gross
$98.153 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 80 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 3/22/2010

• “Spending a Day at Jellystone Park” Interactive Map Tour
• “Are You Smarter Than the Average Bear?” Interactive Picnic Challenge
Rabid Rider Looney Tunes Cartoon
• Yogi Bear Mash-Up
• DVD/Digital Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Yogi Bear [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 14, 2011)

Without the enormous success of 2007’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, would 2010’s Yogi Bear exist? Probably not. Sure, 2004’s Garfield “pioneered” the “cartoon character adapted to CG animal who interacts with live-action” field, but it didn’t produce truly big box office bucks.

Alvin soared financially, however, so it became logical that additional flicks of that sort would appear. Yogi takes us to Jellystone Park and its inhabitants, a group that includes Yogi Bear (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and his diminutive partner Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake). Food-obsessed Yogi makes multiple attempts to steal picnic baskets from visitors, a trait that causes him to butt head with Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh).

Two stories dominate the film. Wilderness filmmaker Rachel Johnson (Anna Faris) comes to Jellystone to make a documentary. In particular, she wants to focus on Yogi, as talking, tie-wearing brown bears tend to be rare. Ranger Smith immediately becomes smitten by her and they court.

In addition, local Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) plans to run for governor. He needs funds, so he schemes to exploit Jellystone for his own financial needs. This means he wants to rezone the park for developers. If Jellystone doesn’t turn profitable within a week, Brown will be able to use it for his own purposes.

Given the general lameness of Alvin and Garfield, I went into Yogi with awfully low expectations – and I do mean awfully low. Alvin was mediocre, Garfield was atrocious, and their sequels were no better. The genre came with poor standards, so I saw no reason to believe Yogi would be anything other than a lame cash grab.

Which it essentially is, but that doesn’t make it an unpleasant cash grab. Though it never actually threatens to become a good movie, it also avoids pitfalls that would make it a bad movie.

A pretty nice cast helps, though the film loses points for its lead actor. At times, Aykroyd delivers a credible Yogi, but he loses the voice more than once or twice, so he provides an inconsistent performance. Of all the actors, his work suffers from the greatest “mailed-in” tone, as he doesn’t seem terribly invested in his work.

On the other hand, Timberlake brings us a pretty darned good take on Boo Boo. He nails the sound of the voice and demonstrates solid comedic timing; though the movie doesn’t boast a ton of laughs, most of the chuckles it prompts come from Timberlake’s wry, understated delivery.

The supporting actors are often fun as well. Daly ratchets up the sleaze factor for his cartoony mayor and gives us some entertainment value, and TJ Miller’s dimwitted Ranger Jones also adds a little life. No one quite manages to overcome the movie’s roots, but they seem to enjoy themselves, and that adds to the flick’s sense of life.

Beyond that… well, it’s hard to find much to praise here. The story is a mishmash of themes without a lot to tie them together. Honestly, the movie would’ve probably been better without the various messages; if it just stayed truer to its roots and offered a silly comedic romp, that’d likely be for the best.

Sometimes a lack of criticism becomes its own form of praise, however, and that’s the case with Yogi Bear. Does it offer great entertainment or anything special? No, but it’s perfectly watchable and it comes with occasional moments of amusement. In a genre littered with bad films, I’ll take it.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Yogi Bear appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Across the board, this was an attractive presentation.

For the most part, sharpness seemed fine. Some wider shots demonstrated light softness, but those instances weren’t substantial. Instead, the majority of the flick offered detailed, distinctive visuals. No issues with shimmering or jaggies materialized, and I noticed no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws failed to materialize in this fresh transfer.

With its natural setting, the flick boasted strong colors. The park environment favored greens, and these came across with nice vivacity. Blacks were deep and tight, while low-light shots came across as clear and concise. Only the minor softness knocked this one down to “B+” level.

I also thought the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack seemed satisfying. Audio quality was always pleasing. Speech appeared natural and distinctive, with no edginess or other problems. Music showed good range and clarity, while effects appeared accurate and dynamic.

The soundfield was decent though rarely exceptional. A few scenes added some pep – like fireworks or the side effects of Yogi’s shenanigans – but not a ton of these occurred. When appropriate, they added some zing across the five channels, but the majority of the movie went with general ambience. All of this was good enough for a “B”.

Despite the movie’s decent financial profile, the Blu-ray lacks many extras. Spending a Day at Jellystone Park gives us an “Interactive Map Tour”. This lets you visit the movie’s locations: we go to “Ranger Station”, “Jellystone Lake”, “Redwood Valley”, “Jelly Jarring Rapids” and “Lookout Mountain”. Across these, we find a mix of components:

Jellystone Park gives us “Stand-In Shenanigans” (2:31) and “Ranger Jones’ Real-Life Audition” (3:04). “Shenanigans” talks about how extras would fill the shots to give the actors live-action references; it features director Eric Brevig and actors Anna Faris, Andrew Daly and Tom Cavanagh. “Audition” shows actor TJ Miller’s try-out – shot with a real bear.

Lookout Mountain features “Baskit-Nabber 2000” (2:00), “Voicing Yogi and Boo Boo” (4:14) and “Jellystone Park Jewel: Litterbug” (1:29). “Voicing” discusses performances with Brevig, producer Donald De Line, and actors Justin Timberlake and Dan Aykroyd. “2000” looks at effects with Aykroyd, VFX producer Steve Kullback, CG sequence supervisor William Georgiou, and visual effects supervisor Betsy Paterson. Finally, “Litterbug” is a fake public service announcement with “Ranger Jones”.

Jellystone Lake offers “Vote for Mayor Brown” (1:13), “’Sickness Was Love’: A Love Song for Rachel” (2:22), and “Jellystone Park Tourism” (1:19). “Vote” is a fake campaign ad, while “Sickness” provides a music video. “Tourism” features Ranger Smith and others as they attempt to promote the park.

Jelly Jarring Rapids boasts “Animated Bears” (2:23), “The Rapids” (3:14) and “Jellystone Park Jewel: Yogi’s Secret Hiding Place” (1:46). “Bears” shows methods used to mesh humans with CG animals; it features Brevig, Faris, Paterson, VFX art director Michael Meaker, lead animation supervisor Joseph Ksander and actor Nate Corddry. “Rapids” delivers notes from Faris, Cavanagh, Brevig, and Paterson; it looks into the effects used for a white-water sequence. “Place” gives us another message from “Ranger Jones”.

Redwood Valley finishes the package with “Everyone Wants to Be Yogi” (2:27), “Building Jellystone Park” (3:22), and “Frog-Mouthed Turtle” (2:48). “Yogi” talks about the character and his adaptation via notes from Aykroyd, Timberlake, Faris, Miller, Corddry, Brevig, Ksander, Paterson, Daly, and executive producer Andrew Haas. “Building” looks at set design with Brevig, De Line, Haas, Cavanagh, Faris, Paterson and production designer David Sandefur. Lastly, “Turtle” discusses another animated characters with remarks from Meaker, Timberlake, Ksander, Kullback, Paterson, lead compositor Brandon Nelson, CG sequence supervisor Jonathan Robinson and digital effects supervisor Jason Bayever.

Add all that up and what do you get? A minor look at the film but not anything with great heft. The short featurettes throw out some interesting tidbits, but they lack much depth. We get an acceptable overview of some areas and that’s about it.

Called an “Interactive Picnic Challenge”, Are You Smarter Than the Average Bear? offers a basic memory game. Like “Concentration”, you have to remember and match hidden pairs of images. It comes with three levels of difficulty, though these really just alter the amount of time you have to complete the game. It’s a moderate challenge at the hardest level, but not particularly difficult.

A new Looney Tunes cartoon comes next. Rabid Rider runs three minutes, seven seconds and provides a computer-animated Road Runner adventure. I’ve never been a fan of the franchise, and I can’t say this new short changes my mind.

Next we find a Yogi Bear Mash-Up. This goes for three minutes, 37 seconds and mixes clips from the Yogi cartoons and movie with comments from director Eric Brevig, VFX producer Steve Kullback and actors Justin Timberlake, Andrew Daly, TJ Miller, Tom Cavanagh and Dan Aykroyd. It’s vaguely fun to get some direct comparisons between the original animation and the film, otherwise this is a short, pointless piece.

The disc opens with an ad for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. No other promos – or a trailer for Yogi - show up here.

A second platter provides both a digital copy of Yogi for use on computers or digital portable gadgets as well as a DVD copy of the film. This delivers a barebones package, so don’t expect any extras.

As family entertainment goes, Yogi Bear seems respectable. No, it doesn’t dazzle, and it’s usually pretty forgettable, but it throws out enough comedy to make it better than expected. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio along with a modest allotment of supplements. I can’t say that I liked Yogi, but it offered a painless and occasionally amusing little romp.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7307 Stars Number of Votes: 26
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main