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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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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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