I wouldn’t say Yogi Bear was a huge part of my childhood, but I liked the dumb ol’ bear’s cartoons growing up. I can’t recall hearing about Yogi Bear’s big movie back in 2010, but I recently had the chance to watch it. Now is there a reason I never heard about this movie for almost a decade? Or is it a good movie?
The film is set in the present day (versus the 1960’s setting of the cartoons) with Ranger Smith being the head ranger (but only superior to one other ranger there) at Jellystone Park. He meets the beautiful Rachel Johnson who want to make a documentary of the animals at the park. The two of them are “oddballs” in their own ways, but their attraction to one another is obvious.
But unknown to Ranger Smith, the Mayor of the local city is in a budget crunch. Mayor Brown is a terrible leader and has essentially privatized any city asset he can when he can’t balance a budget. He’s about to run for Governor and he has a plan to close down Jellystone Park and give it to a logging company. He thinks the move will be seen as a blessing, and he tells Ranger Smith he has a week to save Jellystone Park, or be forced to find another park to range.
Up against nearly impossible odds, Ranger Smith holds a festival on Jellystone’s 100th anniversary to make people care about the park again. The one problem is Yogi Bear, and to a lesser extent, his pal Boo-Boo. He oftens takes picnic baskets from happy campers, but Ranger Smith tells Yogi to lay low, but you can’t keep a smarter-than-the-average bear out of the game.
Overall Yogi Bear is a disappointing, but ironically not a surprising failure of a film. The only two notable celebrities this movie has (Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake) are only the voices of Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo and I thought they were bad impressions of the original cartoon. The story is a mess and rather bland and stale. Granted it’s not horrible, it “makes sense” and the acting isn’t awful. But it just seems like a movie made for Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, not one made for the silver screen. It’s even more bizarre than this movie was a box office success, but critics and fans weren’t so happy when the movie was over.