Yogi Bear (2010)

Rated: PG for some mild rude humor.
80 minutes


Rotten Tomatoes:
13% favorable, 3.5/10 average

$80 million

Box Office:
$218 million (100 U.S., 101 Intl., 17 DVD)

Written by: Jeffrey Ventimilia & Joshua Sternin (Rio, Tooth Fairy), and Brad Copeland (Wild Hogs and TV like Arrested Development and My Name Is Earl)
Directed by: Eric Brevig (Journey to the Center of the Earth, before which he was mostly a visual effects guy)
Starring the voices of: Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake
Starring: Tom Cavanagh and Anna Faris
With: TJ Miller, Nathan Corddry, and Andrew Daly

Jellystone Park is in dire straits. Yogi’s basket-stealing antics have driven people away, and the local Mayor is planning to sell the land for logging rights to solve his budget incompetence. Somehow the park must be saved and everything made right again.

Entertainment Value: B+
I think this one reviewer at Rotten Tomatoes captured my thoughts precisely: “This is the sort of film that most hard-bitten critics will refuse to like.” I really enjoyed it. It was slapstick fun, it seemed like a decent homage to the original series, and it was fun for my boys. Plus, the evil mayor was played to witty perfection by Andrew Daly.

Superficial Content: A-
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/-Nudity A, Violence A-, Language A
This is really quite clean, the only issue might be a few body-humor kind of scenes. But for the most part, this is extremely family friendly, adamantly refusing to let language and sexuality invade the production.

Significant Content: B
Be yourself, and never try to be a second best somebody else. The way we succeed in life is by building on what we do well, not by trying to do everything well. But the really big theme here is the one buried in the political aspects of the plot. The message is simple. Tough financial times encourage politicians to close parks or squander public resources for a temporary solution. But some things that have financial value (or don’t make money) have real community or cultural value. Parks don’t make a lot of money, but they do make our lives better. Also, the mayor who is evil is lampooned for being politically ambitious by trying to deceive people, even planning to buy their votes.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
There isn’t very much thought value here, but I am inclined to give them some credit for really capturing in an almost live-action movie the genuine feel of a cartoon.

Discussion Questions:
~At one point the mayor ridicules the park for being the sort of low-income place where families come to roast s’mores. Do you think parks and forests make our lives better? What are some things in life that don’t generate a lot of money but still have a lot of value? What are the limits of measuring value in terms of money? How do these questions impact your view of Arizona’s current forest/budget situation?
~Do you think that a person’s attitude toward the environment and nature is an indication of his overall character? Can a Christian advocate destroying natural beauty?
~Why does Ranger Jones succumb to the Mayor’s scheme? Why must we be so careful not to covet what others have?

Overall Grade: B+
Zany. Cute. Clever. More entertaining than the average children’s movie.

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