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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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