Tone and look of Yogi on the mark

South Waikato res­i­dents and scenery fea­tures through­out new film Yogi Bear. Fair­fax movie re­viewer Graeme Tuck­ett of­fers his opin­ion on the lat­est an­i­mated movie of­fer­ing. Toko­roa turns out in style for Yogi Bear film

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

There were only 31 episodes of the orig­i­nal The Yogi Bear Show. They ran on Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion in 1961 and have been re­peated around the world ever since.

Wil­liam Hanna and Joseph Bar­bera con­ceived the talk­ing bear dur­ing the early years of their le­gendary an­i­ma­tion com­pany.

Around Yogi, Han­nah and Bar­bera also pro­duced Top Cat The Flint­stones and The Jet­sons.

Be­fore tight­en­ing bud­gets forced the stu­dio to lower its stan­dards, a sin­gle 10 minute episode of any of these shows could take 26,000 hand-drawn frames.

Com­pro­mises, re­cy­cled se­quences and sim­pli­fied char­ac­ters’ move­ments meant later Hanna Bar­bera prod­uct took only 1300 il­lus­tra­tions to tell the same story.

Times change and soon enough the golden age of early 60s kids’ car­toons was over.

Later, Hanna Bar­bera prod­uct – es­pe­cially Wacky Races and The Smurfs – had the com­pany main­tain­ing a pres­ence on the world’s tele­vi­sion screens but those orig­i­nal episodes of The Yogi Bear Show are a small mon­u­ment in tele­vi­sion his­tory to two men’s ge­nius and artistry. They de­serve to be re­spected.

Not that the fab­u­lous pack of six year olds I watched the movie Yogi Bear with cared for any of that.

All they wanted was to be en­tranced and charmed and prod­ded into laugh­ter by what­ever the fat brown hairy thing with the hat and the funny voice was do­ing. (Not me. The bear.) And the bear did pretty well.

Yogi Bear sticks closely to the spirit of the tele­vi­sion show: Jelly­stone Park, Ranger Smith, side­kick Boo Boo; all are present and cor­rect.

The plot – sav­ing the park from a ra­pa­cious mayor and a log­ging com­pany – wasn’t too daft a way to fill in 80 min­utes, while the char­ac­ter­i­sa­tions and the voices were pretty much per­fect.

Dan Ack­royd nails the Art Car­ney/ WC Fields’ qual­ity of Daws But­ler’s im­mor­tal orig­i­nal Yogi, while Justin Tim­ber­lake brings a lot of char­ac­ter and wit to his idio­syn­cratic take on Boo Boo.

I was sur­prised to find my­self car­ing about this film, but I did, and I was happy.

The tone and the look of Yogi Bear are just as they should be. And the un­der-nine au­di­ence who the film was meant for were lov­ing it. Which is all, re­ally, that mat­ters.

If you’ve al­ready taken the nip­pers to Tangled, you can safely choose Yogi Bear when it rains.

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