Published on September 6th, 2010 | by admin0
Extreme Inbetweens #1: Yogi Bear
…defamation of cartoon icons, or why the Yogi Bear movie will suck bricks
By Colin “Ballsmonkey” Hill”
In 1996 I went to see a movie called “Space Jam”. Trailers for it made the movie look like a fun, nutty, adventure that teams Michael Jordan, the greatest Basketball player of the time, with the Looney Tunes, the greatest cartoon characters ever created. I must have seen that movie three or four times, I loved every minute of it. Why? Because I was young and dumb. Space Jam was a complete bastardization of everything Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleing, and Robert McKimson worked so hard to create. It took the characters that made them famous and turned them into a 90-minute long Nike commercial, hiring writers who have obviously never watched a cartoon in their life and had them rip the very soul out of Bugs Bunny and the crew and present us with pale imitations of their former selves.
Space Jam is a prime example the studio executives have no business handling cartoon characters. Sadly it wouldn’t be the last example…enter Yogi Bear.
This cinematic bile is the latest in a string of live action/CGI hybrids based off famous cartoon characters. Why not just do them in regular animation like they should be? Because audiences don’t wanna see that crap! Why look at appealing, well constructed, and unique cartoon characters when we can watch horrifying, mutant, abominations against God for two hours. Seriously, I don’t know what these dingbats are thinking but here’s a newsflash, not everything translates well into live action. Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, Scooby Doo, not a single one of them bear even a resemblance to their animated counter parts, instead they look like the end result of a doomed lab experiment to create a new scent of Axe deodorant.
Hollywood has tried for years to pull off cartoon characters in the real world, and it’s always failed. They try to make the characters and tweak them with real world proportions and sensibilities, but they always come out looking like a hideous, shambling mockery of they once were. One look at them and you don’t wanna hug them, you wanna kill them fire (see Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, Dino in the Flinstones movie, and Transformers for prime examples). With 2000’s Rocky and Bullwinkle they tried to keep the classic cartoon look, but in the end it just looked awkward in the real world background. Look, the reason these characters work in animation…is because it’s animation! You’re creating this world for these characters to exist in, and you believe it, because there’s nothing off putting about it. Trying to take those characters and adapt them to the real world will always result in failure because they weren’t meant for this world. Even human characters tend to look awkward and bland, like the Flinstones, they take the creativity out of them and just make them look like everyone else. It’s just not fun. With the Yogi Bear movie it looks like they didn’t know whether to go fully real or cartoony and the end result looks like an acid trip by Joe Barbera.
Speaking of which, if Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were alive today, what would they say about this? They’d say they love it and fully support this because around the 1970’s thy really stopped caring. That presents another problem, there’s no one around anymore in a position to step up and say no. These beloved characters are sadly forever at the mercy of soulless monkeys-in-suits who have made it their mission to destroy imagination and originality and profit off of the remains. While he couldn’t stop them, I at least applaud Chuck Jones for not supporting that travesty that was Space Jam. Now who’s left?
I really don’t know why people pay to see these movies, (and by the way, I put most of the blame on the audience, because it’s your fault Hollywood is making these, you’re demanding them, you’re paying for the tickets, you’re not telling them to stop, you’re just as much to blame). They can’t think their getting the same thing they would watching the cartoons, because they’re not. What they’re getting is a writer’s twisted idea of what these characters are like, and worse, these movies go on for over an hour. How the hell do you take a six minute cartoon, stretch it out into an hour, and expect to get a good result? By the look of the trailer I can’t make out a distinguishable story, it just looks like a bunch of gags strung together, which isn’t really a bad thing, the Yogi Bear cartoons were just a series of gags, but the clear difference, the cartoon wasn’t over an hour long! And a certain point, that stuff will get old, and without an interesting story to hold the viewers interest, they’ll give up on it midway. But that’s beside the point.
Look, I like that Warner Bros is utilizing it’s large back-lot of cartoon characters and getting them back into the mainstream, but this is the worst possible way to do it. Kids back in 1996 weren’t seeing the Looney Tunes when they watched Space Jam, they were watching this unfunny, obnoxious, fake cartoon characters that were trying to pass themselves off as cartoon characters. Kids that went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks weren’t seeing the Alvin, Simon, and Theodore we grew up loving, no, they were seeing three little autotuned mutants. Alvin didn’t even wear his trademark red hat for christsakes. These characters are being put in the hands of writers and producers who don’t know dick about what it takes to make a cartoon work. Sad part is there are plenty of people today that do, but aren’t being given a shot. If Warner Bros wants to bring back the Hanna Barbera characters, there are better ways. Guys like CraigMcCracken and Gendy Tartakovsky are perfectly capable of making something truly worth seeing. They’ve successfully taken Hanna Barbera’s original system and molded it into their own, and have made truly amazing pieces of animation with it. Give them Yogi Bear, give them the money, give them the go-ahead, and they could produce a series of new, funny, beautiful looking Yogi Bear cartoons that kids can watch.
Make no mistake about this series, though, when you start reading it. No character is safe and you’re going to need quite a lot of comforting after some of the more gruesome points. You have been warned.
Yogi Bear won’t be the last to be tarnished by these monsters. Tom and Jerry are next up on the chopping block, and George Lopez and Mike Meyers are all ready to leave their wretched unfunny marks upon Speedy Gonzales and Pepe Le Pew respectively. Not even the greatest cartoon star of all time, Bugs Bunny, is safe. People, there’s a simple way to stop all this, just don’t go. Don’t take you kids to see it, don’t go out of curiosity, and don’t even go for the sole purpose of mocking it. If you stop watching it, they’ll stop making it. But alas that’ll never happen. Kids are stupid; they’ll eat this stuff up, and then realize later what a mistake they made. At this point I’d rather the characters just sit in the WB vaults and collect dust rather than be exploited like this, at least in the vaults they’d keep their dignity.