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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Yogi Bear

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Yogi Bear, voiced by Dan Aykroyd, is seen in the movie "Yogi Bear."
Hey hey hey—it's "Yogi Bear" (Warner Bros.). The beloved Hanna-Barbera television cartoon character, first seen in 1958, returns in a new 3-D big-screen adventure. While the look of this strictly-for-the-kids film is impressive—with seamless interaction between the computer-generated talking bears, live actors and real settings—its one-joke premise fast wears out its welcome.

Yogi (voice of Dan Aykroyd) and his faithful sidekick, Boo Boo (voice of Justin Timberlake), live happily in Jellystone Park, where they spend every waking moment in search of their next meal. Yogi specializes in stealing the "pic-a-nic" baskets of campers, despite the protestations and warnings of his diminutive friend.

Aykroyd gives Yogi an accent that would fit in nicely on the Jersey Shore, while Timberlake seems to be holding his nose as Boo Boo.

Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanaugh), the nerdy overseer of Jellystone Park, tries vainly to rein in Yogi and keep the peace. Since Yogi's increasingly inventive methods at theft—including an array of Rube-Goldberg-like contraptions—do not a feature film make, two elaborate subplots are inserted for the human characters.

Enter Rachel (Anna Faris), a documentary filmmaker fascinated by talking bears, who becomes the perky blond love interest for Ranger Smith. Yogi offers courtship advice of a sort to the ranger: "Urinate on her to mark your territory."

Next, wicked Mayor Brown (Andy Daly) wants to close Jellystone Park and sell the logging rights to fund his race for governor. When the bulldozers arrive and the trees start tumbling down, bears must join forces with humans to save the day.

Director Eric Brevig ("Journey to the Center of the Earth") manages to enliven this surprisingly unfunny film with beautiful cinematography. If Jellystone Park looks a lot like Middle Earth, there's a good reason: "Yogi Bear" was filmed in New Zealand, taking full advantage of the lush and breathtaking scenery featured so prominently in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

"Yogi Bear" contains lessons on friendship and loyalty, as well as protecting the environment. "You have to fight for the things you love, whether a park, a girl or a roast beef sandwich," Yogi tells Ranger Smith.

But the title character's behavior will strike at least some parents as problematic. Yogi specializes in two things: stealing, and lying about it. He never learns his lesson, nor do kids want him to.

While Boo Boo is Yogi's conscience, much like Jiminy Cricket is to Pinocchio, Yogi does not seek redemption—only his next meal.

The film contains some mild rude humor and harmless cartoon action. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.
*****
Joseph P. McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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