Not smarter than your average film
What I’m about to say is pretty taboo but I don’t care any more.
This animal-loving thing has got way out of hand.
I’m all for saving the many-spotted snorkeling frog of South America and the endangered pine cone-licking mouse thing of Wacka Wacka Island, but enough is enough.
Save the pandas? Sure. Rescue some orang-utans? Don’t mind if I do. Buy a fluoro wristband to support Sumatran tigers? It looks like a genuine, grade-A piece of crap, but yeah, OK.
I’m more than happy to hand over a few bucks here and there to help out the occasional needy critter.
I do, however, have limits and there is one particular creature that has earned my ire.
There is no naked celebrity PETA photo shoot in the universe that could quell my urge to hurl a spear, with all my mortal might, at Yogi Bear’s face.
A quick disclaimer: No, I haven’t seen the movie.
But I have seen the trailer and it made me wish I had pebbles for eyes and ears made entirely out of melted-down Lego.
Yep, the trailer was enough - I don’t need to watch 11 seasons of Two and a Half Men to know it’s where laughter goes to die, do I?
First it was Marmaduke, now it’s Yogi Bear. Why is Hollywood subjecting our children to such dross? Why are they treating them like morons? They deserve better.
I’ll be frank - if your child laughs more than five times during this wretched desecration of cinema, you should immediately give up on them.
Your son/daughter is already destined to have the comic timing of a walnut and the spelling ability of Ke$ha (who is regularly trumped by the walnut).
Every time someone praises Yogi Bear, a fairy is eaten by a puppy, which is swallowed by a lion, which is killed in a landslide.
But Jason, some of you will retort, what about the fact that it’s in 3D?
Sorry, you’re absolutely right. That changes everything.
I totally forgot about the bit where the bear spits in my face in 3D!
How cool is that OMG ROFL emoticon LOL?!
So you’re telling me I can actually watch this overweight bear gleefully urinate on all that is good and holy in this world in 3D? Wow! Double wow!
Obviously, I’m exaggerating a little bit. I’m sure there’s no need to take little Sally-Ann or Johnny to the GP for a check-up if they giggle at a bear bumping its rear end on fence palings.
You also needn’t worry about dead puppies, lions or fairies dropping dead if you give ol’ Yogi three-out-of-five stars.
My real point is this: What’s wrong with making kiddies movies with a bit of heart, intelligence and genuine charm?
Technological bells and whistles can enhance a movie, but they are no substitute for engaging characters and a polished script.
I’m getting a little tired of seeing trailers for generic, lazy flicks designed to cash in on short attention spans.
A trip to the cinemas is too expensive these days to waste on flashy colours and fart jokes.
When I saw Toy Story 3 last year, the cinema was full of both teary-eyed adults and wide-eyed little tykes.
The adults walked away with an urge to reconnect with all the friends they’d lost touch with and thank their parents for the few precious toys they were given as a child.
The kids – who spent the entire film cheerfully giggling and gasping at the appropriate bits - probably went home, ran straight past the Xbox and Nintendo DS and gave the dusty old teddy behind the bed a big cuddle.
In 15 years’ time, they’ll re-watch Buzz and Woody’s escapades and marvel at the simple, but powerful way they conveyed messages of friendship, loyalty, hope and forgiveness - just as I often do with the first Toy Story and The Lion King.
A lovingly-crafted children’s movie watched early on in life can sometimes have more value than a mountain of self-help books bought during one’s mid-30s.
Look, I’m not asking you to make your little one sit through the King’s Speech (a wonderful film) or buy them the entire Arrested Development box-set (even though it’s the gift that keeps on giving).
All I’m asking is this: give them a little credit and don’t feed the bears.
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