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Yogi Bear 3D(2010)
A documentary filmmaker travels to Jellystone Park to shoot a project and soon crosses paths with Yogi Bear, his sidekick Boo-Boo, and Ranger Smith.
For more about Yogi Bear 3D and the Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray release, see Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 23, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Eric Brevig
Writers: Jeffrey Ventimilia, Joshua Sternin, Brad Copeland
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, Nathan Corddry, Andrew Daly
» See full cast & crew
Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray Review
Picnic basket thievery in 3D!
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 23, 2011
That bear knows how to steal a basket.
It's easy to turn a movie like Yogi Bear into a punching bag, and considering that the film practically comes with a pair of gloves that make pounding it into submission all the easier, it's difficult to find fault with any opposition to this or any other like-minded film. Still, it's better to set aside that hostility and examine Yogi Bear through the proper context, looking at the movie's goals and target audience. Up against something like No Country For Old Men, sure, the movie is a disaster, but comparing it to its likeminded brethren -- Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore for instance -- it's easy to find plenty of things to like about this lastest live action picture lifted from a favorite childhood cartoon. Yogi Bear is built for laughs; everything else, plot included, is secondary to putting together a string of humorous moments and lively visuals that, for the 70-some minutes the film actually lasts, will entertain the kids and maybe even bring a few smiles to the faces of the "here we go again" adults in the audience. Yogi Bear certainly isn't smarter than the average CGI kiddie movie -- there's no mystery to the plot at all and it's easy to predict how things will play out, practically down to the very last shot -- but the movie never steps out of bounds, takes itself seriously, or otherwise violates its own admirable goal of making people laugh.
Jellystone Park is approaching its 100th birthday. Its scenic backdrops and natural beauty are all well and good, but the park has something wonderfully unique that, as far as anyone knows, no other park in the world can claim: not one, but two talking bears. Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd, Ghostbusters) and the pint-sized Boo Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake, The Open Road) not only talk, but they have a knack for constructing intricate contraptions to aid them in their true love, picnic basket thievery. Theirs is a rough relationship with park ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh, Snow 2: Brain Freeze) and his bumbling assistant Jones (T.J. Miller), but the bears are allowed to go about their business of stealing baskets and munching on park visitors's lunches. Unfortunately, all else is not well at Jellystone; low attendance and a lack of revenue has the park on the brink, and the conniving local Mayor, Brown (Andrew Daly), has decided to rezone the park, sell off its timber, and save the dire local economy while also lining his pockets with enough bread to mount a run for Governor. Ranger Smith needs to raise $30,000 to keep the park afloat; combine that with low attendance, Yogi's antics, and the Mayor's devious scheme, and it would seem that all hope is indeed lost. When an enterprising Documentary filmmaker named Rachel (Anna Faris, The House Bunny) appears on the scene, she teams up with Smith and the talking bears to help save the park and make sure there will always be a picnic basket ready for Yogi and Boo Boo to steal.
Yogi Bear's plot is as transparent as they come, and it's a tale as old as time: over-the-top business suit bad guy wants to tear up the park to line his pockets and advance his career, but a band of unlikely heroes will emerge to save the day. It, or variations thereof, has been done to death, in anything from Ernest Goes to Camp to Alvin and the Chipmunks, and always with the same predictable result: mayhem begets an opening for the bad guy who takes advantage of the situation only to be thwarted by the same kind of mayhem that started the crisis in the first place. It's textbook formula, but it generally works, so long as viewers go in not expecting to be surprised in any way, shape, or form. Speaking of Alvin, it's the current champion of this subset of films; there are plenty of similarities between it and Yogi Bear, but where the former finds heart in its plot, the latter has an empty hole. Where Alvin takes its time to build up characters worth caring about, Yogi more or less plops them on the screen and hopes for the best. Yogi Bear is good for some laughs -- no shortage of humor here -- but it's otherwise a vacant, vacuous picture with no other redeeming qualities, save for the film's well-done 3D visuals. More on those in a moment.
Much of Yogi Bear is, indeed, filler; the plot is dragged down by the usual barrage of subplots -- the faux romance being the kicker -- but it's still all done in a "no harm, no foul" sort of way. Fortunately, the various side plots don't over-lengthen the movie; sans credits, it chimes in at around 70 minutes, which seems like just the right length for a movie that has nothing new to offer and doesn't do formula quite as well as its contemporaries. The characters are all generic, too, driven by broad and sweeping emotions and defined plainly by a one-sidedness that serves only to move the plot along from one humorous Yogi incident to the next. The acting is certainly far from being award worthy, but the primaries get the job done; Andrew Daly's got nothing on David Cross -- who played a similar villainous slime ball in the aforementioned Alvin -- but he hams up the obligatory bad guy role well enough, having plenty of fun with the part, which is about its only saving grace. Justin Timberlake has Boo Boo's voice down to a science, but Dan Aykroyd sounds like he's trying a bit too hard -- albeit while having a lot of fun -- with Yogi. It's a near spot-on impersonation, but it doesn't quite replace Daws Butler's real thing. The human characters aren't really a hindrance; they exist in that perfect little family-friendly movie universe where even in those scenes where it seems all hope is lost they still exude some kind of palpable confidence that all will once again be right with the world, even as they hang their heads in shame and defeat.
Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Yogi Bear: the reference-quality Blu-ray 3D title? One can make a strong case for it. Warner Brothers's 1080p 3D release is positively stunning; this is one of the most natural, well-spaced, extra-dimensional Blu-ray 3D releases available. It begins with the Warner Brothers logo looking as good as ever; the band around the "WB" letters truly seems to encircle them rather than merely lie on top of them. The natural and seamless 3D visuals continue on throughout the film. Not only is general depth fantastic in every single shot -- truly giving great life to the Jellystone backdrop -- but the film is awash in 3D visual effects that can be labeled as nothing other than "flat-out cool." Whether Yogi's telescope that sticks straight out of the screen, a slow-motion shot of potato chips and other goodies hovering in the air and appearing so real that viewers will literally want to reach out and grab them, or fireworks that shoot like a missile out of the screen while surrounded by an abundance of floating sparks, the transfer delivers a steady diet of "wow!" 3D elements that bring vibrancy to the picture and give it something of a more playful feel than it might otherwise enjoy if the 3D visuals were limited to merely adding a third dimension to the image. There is a drawback, and it's that human characters sometimes don't mesh quite so well into the frame, sometimes almost looking like 2D captures inserted into the 3D landscape. It's enough to warrant a half-point drop in the score, but it's not a regular occurrence.
Just as critical to the overall picture quality is the ease with which the transfer yields wonderful details and bright, sturdy colors. The real-life elements -- leaves, tree bark -- offer precise definition. Other detailing is quite good across the board, whether those aforementioned natural objects, skin and clothing textures, or even the weave of picnic baskets. If there's a downside to the detail, it comes in the CG animation; bear fur can look a little worn and soft, but the pinpoint definition is definitely there in close-up shots that practically reveal every individual strand of fur. Colors are vibrant and cheerful, particularly evident in the natural greenery and various earth tones as seen around Jellystone. Black levels are rock solid, and skin tones, too, are natural in appearance. The source is quite clean; noise shows up in a few places, but banding, blocky backgrounds, and other uglies are nowhere to be seen. This is a top-tier transfer from Warner Brothers; it's darn-near perfect, and it's hard to beat as an overall demo-worthy Blu-ray 3D disc.
Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Yogi Bear's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is nearly as impressive as its 3D visuals. It begins as a bit reserved; music is wonderfully accurate and spacious but floats along more in the background than as a prominent element of the film, and effects are limited to well-integrated nature sounds, such as chirping birds and other park-specific ambience. As the film moves along, though, it picks up some energy. A brief sample of Sir Mix-A-Lot's famous "butt" song sends some high-level bass pounding into the soundstage, while powerful rapids spill through the listening area. The surrounds pick up much of the natural ambience of Jellystone while also helping to create a good deal of space and accuracy amongst some of the more prominent sound effects, such as wayward fireworks zipping through the listening area. The film is primarily a dialogue-driven affair, however, and this lossless soundtrack never misses a beat in spoken word delivery. Yogi Bear won't stretch systems to their limits, but this is a fun, clean, and highly satisfactory listen that works on every level.
Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Yogi Bear features a nice little assortment of extras; there are some to be found on both the 2D and 3D discs. All of the extras on the 3D disc are, yes, in 3D. Disc three houses a DVD copy of Yogi Bear as well as a digital copy of the film.
Blu-ray 3D Disc
Blu-ray 2D Disc
DVD/Digital Copy Disc
The digital copy, sampled on an iPhone 4, features a wishy-washy soundtrack that handles atmospherics and energetic music better than its hollow-sounding dialogue. On the other hand, the video quality appears quite good, featuring minimal compression issues while yielding sturdy detailing and crisp colors.
Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Yogi Bear may lack in creativity, but it succeeds in creating those warm and fuzzy feelings, that sense of satisfaction and safety that one can derive from a movie as comfortably formula as this. Most important, it's just downright funny when it tries to be, and the 3D visuals look great; that doesn't make it a great film, per se, but it makes it good enough to be labeled as a success considering what it sets out to achieve. Flat characters and a plot that's as predictable as the sunrise only seem like minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things, given, of course, that one looks at the movie the way it's meant to be seen. Warner Brothers's Blu-ray 3D release of Yogi Bear delivers a wonderful reference-quality 3D transfer, a fine lossless soundtrack, and a nice little assortment of extras. Recommended.
Yogi Bear: Other Editions
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Yogi Bear 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Yogi Bear Blu-ray & 3D Blu-ray Announced - February 12, 2011
Warner Home Video has announced Yogi Bear for Blu-ray release on March 22, in two configurations: a BD/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack and a 3D BD/2D BD/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack. This family movie, based on the classic Hanna-Barbera animated series, features the ...
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