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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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Fidelis of Sigmaringen: If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life. 
<p>Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor. </p><p>As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers. </p><p>He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions. </p><p>He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed. </p><p>He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog Obedience means total surrender and wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. All the difficulties that come in our work are the result of disobedience.

 
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