The new Yogi Bear movie will be about a live-action documentary filmmaker who meets a CGI Yogi and Boo Boo in Jellystone Park that is going to be sold by the evil mayor who owns it.
And Justin Timberlake will be Boo Boo Bear.
And ... what? You mean it’s not an April Fool Day joke? It really is a movie?
And the characters are going to look like this?
(See footnote below)
What can I say?
Probably the same thing that you’ve already told friends, or read on the internet or in newspapers:
• Hollywood has been out of new ideas for years.
• Hollywood takes old ideas and remakes/updates them so badly they don’t attract fans that made the original idea popular in the first place.
• Hollywood has a woody (and we don’t mean “Woodpecker”) for animation completely unlike the kind used to make classic characters popular because they think it’s old-fashioned.
• Hollywood insists on using generic-sounding “stars” instead of real voice actors in cartoons because that’s how it thinks it can broaden its
• Hollywood sucks.
You know, realistically, I’m not going to like this Yogi movie. Ever. No matter what they do. And there are two reasons.
First, which one of these is really Boo Boo Bear?
We all know it’s the guy on the right, even though the one on the left may be cuter to some and sing and dance a little better. But Don Messick is Boo Boo Bear. And Don Messick is dead. Boo Boo just won’t sound right any more.
After all these years, I still have problems with Henry Corden as Fred Flintstone, despite the fact he voiced the character for years after Alan Reed died. But I grew up with Alan Reed. Corden doesn’t sound quite like him and therefore, to my ear, doesn’t sound like Fred Flintstone (Reed had more range as a voice actor in my opinion anyway). If I’m not going to accept a well-established and respected actor as Fred Flintstone, who did the character’s voice longer than its creator, I’m certainly not going to accept some singer with a scraggly beard as someone he doesn’t even remotely sound like. Even if he did bring sexy back, though I didn’t realise it had gone anywhere.
But it’s not just Don Messick. Daws Butler has passed away. Warren Foster is dead. So are Ed Benedict and Monty Montealegre and Carlo Vinci and Hoyt Curtin and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera and .. well, just about everyone who created the originals that people loved. And even they had missteps along the way. Not all the seven-minute cartoons made 60 years ago were hits. And, for a bunch of reasons, I admit I didn’t really like the Yogi feature they came up with in 1964. Even if the original crew were still alive and in their prime, there would be no guarantee of success.
The same holds true if a group could be assembled that cherishes the old cartoons and wants to write and animate one the same way. Hanna-Barbera was left in peace to make the original cartoons. Other than a tight budget and maybe some suggestions from the sponsor’s ad agency, the studio was free to be as creative as it could in putting together the syndicated, seven-minute adventures of Yogi and Boo Boo in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. And that isn’t how movies are made today. The “conditions dat prevail,” as Doggie Daddy might say, have changed and any loving attempts at carefully emulating the originals would likely be stymied by clueless executives getting involved, pointing to “research” and making idiotic decisions.
So, considering that, where does it put a studio that merely wants to take a few characters, a setting and then go somewhere in its own direction to cash in on the Chipmunks-as-CGI craze?
Doing something the creators didn’t, even during the occasional misfire—insult the old fans.
About all I can hope for is if the movie is a success, it’ll finally spawn the release of the last group of original Yogi cartoons and the rest of fun shorts that first appeared on the second season of the Huckleberry Hound Show. But I’ll take a pass on this one with the theme-park-costumed Yogi. You don’t have to be smarter than the average bear to figure out why.
Yowp Note: The pictures of Yogi and Boo Boo came from the BCDB forum. The poster has now written: Warner Bros. requested that The Movie Insider remove the early rendering of Yogi Bear because the art is not final.
Another Yowp note: Yogi was part of an April Fool’s Day joke in a newspaper. Read here.