Saturday, December 18, 2010

Everybody's Doing It: My Yogi Bear rant

I can sort of get over the fact that the new Yogi Bear movie is live-action and CG, despite the fact that every attempt at adapting a cartoon character to a live-action environment has failed here in America. Garfield and Marmaduke didn't do well domestically, and yet we're getting The Smurfs and rumors of a Family Circus and a Bugs Bunny feature as well. Why Hollywood continues this madness is anybody's guess.

But what bugs me the most is that the writers and advertisers for Yogi seem to think that Yogi's eating habits are the focus of his personality. Excessive indulgence is the heart and soul of the cartoon, right? The last thing I want to see in a movie is a CG bear covered in CG cheese and grease and bread crumbs, fulfilling somebody's fantasies of Yogi Bear food porn.

I don't understand where the writers got the idea that Yogi pulls fantastic stunts and builds crazy gadgets, either. I've watched the original cartoons since my childhood, and although I admit I haven't seen every episode, the show's theme strikes me as being the relationship between Ranger Smith and Yogi, and their conflicts for control. And where the heck is Cindy Bear??

...Something that really bugs me, though, is the completely random turtle in the trailers. It has a frog tongue. A freakin' frog tongue. It's like somebody in the story department honestly thought that turtles are amphibians, and that they had long tongues like frogs and toads, and persisted that they keep the gag despite arguments from the slightly smarter writers. Or worse, no one noticed even through rewrites, filming, animating it, and editing.
And they have the gall to swing that turtle around like nobody's business, shoving its anatomical FAIL in our faces in eye-popping 3D. I find it really disturbing and gross, actually. It makes me kind of wince.

UPDATE: I now have a very definite reason to not like this movie. According to Jim Hill Media, the Animation Supervisor Alex Orrelle said this:

"I have to admit that that was one of the real challenges of working on 'Yogi Bear.' Trying to figure how to take this character that had been created back in 1958 and then make him work for 2010 audiences," Orrelle continued. "I realized that this was going to be a real challenge when I showed some of the original 'Yogi Bear' cartoons to my kids and -- after 5 minutes - they walked out of the room because they were bored."

I think this clearly indicates three things:
  1. His kids are really lame and have no taste in humor.
  2. If his kids are at all typical of their generation, it means that kids today don't like Yogi Bear, and therefore don't want to see a movie about him. So it was a bad idea in the first place.
  3. Orrelle felt compelled to retool the character so that people who don't like Yogi Bear would want to see the movie. This has never been a good strategy: if The Monkees were trying to appeal to non-Monkees fans with their film Head, they learned that their non-fans wouldn't trust them as far they could throw them, and that their fans would be disappointed with the changes.

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