One aspect about being a movie examiner is that I get to see almost all the newest movies in advanced and for free… whether I want to or not. Sure, when you get the invite to see “Iron Man 2” or “Inception” you can’t wait to go see it. When you get the invite for movies like “Cat and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” and “Charlie St. Cloud” you shrug your shoulders and head in because you have a job to do. When I went to go see “Yogi Bear” I put the movie in the latter category, but; ended up delightfully surprised.
Based on the beloved Hanna-Barbera cartoon, the movie takes place in Jellystone Park. Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) runs the park. His biggest problem is Yogi Bear (voice by Dan Aykroyd) a brown bear that talks, wears a hat and tie and spends most of his time finding new and inventive ways to steal people’s picnic baskets along with his trusted sidekick Boo-Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake). Jellystone is about to celebrate it’s 100thyear, but may not be opened long as the city’s mayor, Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) wants to shut the park down and sell it to a logging company in order to help fund his bid to become governor.
This is a live-action move, meaning that characters like ranger Smith, his love interest, Rachel (Anna Faris), Ranger Jones (T.J. Miller), who yearns to be top ranger in the park and the Mayor’s toady Chief of Staff (Nate Corddy) are all real while Yogi and Boo-Boo are computer animated who interact with the actors. There are some live-action movies where you can tell the line of sight with the actors are a little off with the animated characters they are suppose to be talking to which breaks the illusion, but in this movie the interaction is flawless. Plus, they don’t “phone in” the work they do on the bears. The fur looks real and even reacts the way you think it should when they come in contact with bushes or water.
I never expected to laugh once during this movie. I’m sure kids would find some amusing jokes with some of the pratfalls I saw in the commercials for this movie, but I found myself, and other adults, laughing out loud during many moments of the movie. The movie is in 3D and one things the filmmakers did was to use the 3D technology to get some of the laughs (when some of the characters spit food out at you, you can not only help to laugh, but you feel like you better wiped off whatever they just spit on you.
All the actors serve the movie as they should. Ranger Smith is likable and you hope he gets the girl. The Mayor and his Chief of Staff are a goofy pair. They are non-threatening and provide many laughs while clearly wearing the black hats in the movie. The movie is by no means the best family film to come out this year, butt at a time when the kids are off from school it’s a good option for the entire family to enjoy.