Posts Tagged ‘Yogi Bear’

Has the Well Run Dry?

March 10, 2011

Doing a blog like this gives me the opportunity to share interesting personal discoveries. Case in point, not too long ago I took my nephew to see Yogi Bear (in 3D). I had railed against the film in an earlier blog entry (see December 2, 2010 entry, Can’t the Powers That Be Leave Well Enough Alone) because I thought it showed a lack of imagination among studio executives. After all, just because the technology exists to make a movie with a computer animated Yogi and Boo-Boo doesn’t mean that such a movie should be made.

Well, I watched the film with my nephew and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it. It was an entertaining story. Dan Ackroyd was great as Yogi. Justin Timberlake was a very good Boo-Boo and the human actors looked to me like they had fun with their roles. So, the powers that be aren’t so bad for greenlighting Yogi Bear.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light in the Land of Blog. I learned that two previously successful films, one from the 1980’s and one from the 1990’s have either been remade or greenlighted. The films are Arthur and The Bodyguard.

The remake of Arthur is scheduled to come out in April. For those of you not familiar with the movie, the original Arthur is a comedy released in 1981 and starred Dudley Moore as a spoiled and boozy man-child millionaire who must choose between marrying for money or love. Liza Minnelli starred as the woman he ultimately chooses and Sir John Gielgud was Arthur’s erstwhile butler. I saw it when it first came out in and while I didn’t get all the jokes and lines, I liked the movie. The remake follows the same story line except that the 2011 version Arthur isn’t boozy and Helen Mirren plays Arthur’s nanny.

As for The Bodyguard, Warner Brothers recently approved a remaking this film. The Bodyguard came out in 1992 and dealt with a former Secret Service Agent who is hired to protect a pop star from a stalker. The original starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. The story has been updated, so instead of having the bodyguard be a former Secret Service Agent, the bodyguard is a former Iraq War Veteran and he has to content with the stalking via Twitter, Gawker Stalker and other Internet sites. So far, no actors have been chosen to star in the movie.

Good gravy! What has gotten into the studios? First they mine the comic books, then the sitcoms, now recent movies? It is one thing to redo Clash of the Titan because special effects are more advanced in the 2010’s then they were in the 1980’s. Arthur and The Bodyguard didn’t have any major special effects to begin with, so what could be improved about them? These films were both successful and good movies in their own right. Why couldn’t the studios leave them alone and greenlight a project that is not a remake or reboot? After all, there is so much talent and money out there. It is hard to believe that studio executives could not find, let alone fund, an original project.

Then again, I could be wrong. The new versions of Arthur and The Bodyguard could end up being just as good, if not better, than the original versions. Maybe they just needed some infusion of 21st Century sensibilities and doing that would give these films a little something extra to make them better creations.

Yeah and if you believe that, then I could sell you some bridge in Brooklyn and afterwards flap my arms and fly to the Moon when you find out that I don’t hold the deed to such a structure.



Can’t The Powers That Be Leave Well Enough Alone

December 2, 2010

Growing up, I watched a lot of television. Usually it was cartoons in the afternoon and sitcoms at night. The cartoons were a lot fun to watch, since they had zany characters, situations that looking back weren’t plausible but I was young and was willing to go along for the ride. After all, a rabbit that would approach a hunter and say “What’s up Doc?”, a woodpecker with wings that were more like arms and a very abnormal, bordering on pathological, laugh and a bear that wears a tie and a pork-pie hat whose companion/conscience is a bear cub that wears a bow tie would only work in the theater of the absurd world of cartoons.

Speaking of bears, in December 2010 a live action/computer animated movie called Yogi Bear will be released. Based on the cartoons characters created by the animation team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The movie deals with a corrupt politician (is there any other kind when it comes to a movie) who wants to buy Jellystone Park and turn it into a logging plant. So, it is up to Yogi, Boo-Boo, (Yogi’s companion/conscience) Ranger Smith (the park ranger Yogi clashed with while in search of pic-a-nic baskets) and a wildlife photographer (the love interest thrown in for the sake of the movie) to band together in order to stop the mayor’s plan.

Really, whose bright (and I’m being sarcastic) idea is this? Still, just because the technology exists for a film like this to be made, doesn’t mean it should be made. What made Yogi Bear fun was sly subversiveness about it. The cartoons were made in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s when the life in the U.S. was very much about being Organizational Man (or the wife of the Organizational Man) and Yogi was thumbing his nose at that with every pic-a-nic basket he stole.

Also, let’s not forget that sometimes it is best to leave artifacts of the past in the past. Yogi and other Hanna Barbara television cartoons were products of their time and need to be remembered that way. If a Yogi Bear movie can be made, what’s next? Films where dead actors/actresses are digitally recreated and placed in a movie?  Yogi, Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith were two-dimensional characters and were enjoyed as such. It would be nice if they were left that way.