Yogi Bear (2010) is rightly one of the most panned animation films of the last decade and in the the history of filmmaking. Despite resurrecting one of the most loved children’s animation characters, in Yogi Bear, from the popular 1960s TV show, the film is dull, horrifically cliched and poorly written.
Yogi Bear proves how fatal the mixture of live action and animation in a movie can be, with only a few examples which are not horrifically awful, most notably Space Jam (1996) and the classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). We feel that the film would have been far better if they had decided to go all animation, like the successful TV show of the 1960s. Instead we end up spending more time here with our boring live-action protagonist Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and love interest Rachel (Anna Faris), when we’re only really interested in Yogi (Dan Akroyd) and his young friend Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake).
The premise of the film is a classic, but drab, good versus evil in a money or nature scenario. Evil Mayor Brown, channeling the scheming Mr Burns of The Simpsons, devises a money making scheme, which could propel him to the office of Governor in the coming election. His target is the local, financially struggling, Jellystone Park , the home of Yogi, Boo Boo and the pride and joy of Ranger Smith. Mayor Brown plans to sell the land and distribute the money among his voters, to entice them into voting for him, while the beautiful local forest in chopped down for its valuable lumber.
Ranger Smith, environment activist and filmmaker, Rachel and of course Yogi and Boo Boo are not too pleased about this. They make a deal with the Devil, in the form of Mayor Brown, that they must cover the costs of the park in seven days to avoid it being sold. What follows are a combination of contrived events as both sides try to push the other into submission, as Yogi Bear acts as both helper and semi-antagonist to Ranger Smith, while lowly junior Ranger Jones, is tempted by the dark side and the power and influence of the Mayor and his office.
The antics of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo are slightly funny on occasions, as his well meaning actions, cause chaos and bring the pursuit for the preservation of Jellystone Park, back to square one each time, particularly when he tries to entertain Park goers as he water skis before a firework show, only to accidentally send the fireworks shooting at those watching on the water bank. But these incidents are too far between, as we focus on the clumsy, sleep endorsing romance between the Ranger and Rachael. Yogi and Boo Boo are always on the outskirts of the story, who barge in to situations for comic relief purposes.
The film is cheesy and painful to watch, but does make the viewer think deeply after finishing its eighty minute run time, mostly about how over an hour of their life had been wasted watching it. The film takes on another level of disappointment for fans of the original series from the 1960s, consider your nostalgic memories of Yogi Bear and his little sidekick well and truly tarnished. Your welcome says Warner Brothers.