DVD Review: Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Caper

Hi again…

Yogi Bear… The name brings back images of a goofy bear stealing picnic baskets from visitors to Jellystone Park with his pal Boo Boo. “Smarter than the average bear,” Yogi and Boo Boo would work to outsmart Ranger Smith while filling their bellies. And though I enjoyed many of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the era of Yogi, it wasn’t one of those that left a lasting impression.

Yogi was never alone in the Hanna-Barbera universe. He shared adventures with Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Quick Draw McGraw, and many other characters starting in 1958 and has appeared in multiple television shows in the years that followed. The latest Yogi Bear live-action/animated film from Warner Brothers is just the latest in an attempt to revive his career.

With Yogi Bear making his way onto modern 3D movie screens a week before Christmas 2010, I had to wonder if we might see some of the older Yogi titles being re-released on DVD or Blu-ray to help spread the word. As if the folks at Warner Brothers were listening to my thoughts, they released Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Caper on DVD in early December.

In the All-Star Comedy Caper, Yogi and Boo Boo have escaped from Jellystone Park to visit their friends in the “Big City” at the same time that his friends from the “Big City” (Huckleberry Hound and so on) made a special trip to Jellystone to see them! Oops. As you might imagine, Yogi quickly finds himself in trouble. He tries hiding while posing as Santa Claus in a department store. It’s there he and Boo Boo meet Judy Jones, a little girl more than a little upset with her father who doesn’t have time for her. Of course, Yogi and Boo Boo want to help restore her faith in Christmas if they can and the trio run off together.

Judy’s dad – the millionaire businessman J. Wellington Jones – isn’t amused and starts to look for his daughter, who has obviously been kidnapped! Soon Yogi, Boo Boo, and Judy are on the run from the police as well as Ranger Smith, who has come to the city to find Yogi. When the bears offer to return Judy to her home, she doesn’t want to go home…

About this time Huckleberry Hound and the gang find Yogi and Boo Boo and offer to help find Judy’s way home. They search everywhere and run into other animated characters such as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, Pixie and Dixie, Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, and Yakky Doodle. But nobody can seem to find the little girl’s house.

When the police and the Ranger finally catch up with Yogi, Boo Boo, and Judy, they are none too pleased. But Judy announces that she hadn’t been kidnapped and that she’d run away, which makes her father understand why he needs to spend time with her. Daddy springs Yogi and Boo Boo from the back of the paddy wagon and drops all charges against our heroes. And Yogi, Judy, and the gang celebrate a Christmas in the park and brighten everyone’s holiday spirit.

Really it’s a cute story that drives home that spending time with your kids during the holidays (and the rest of the year too) is important and should not be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Also included on the DVD is the short “Yogi’s Birthday Party” in which Ranger Smith, Boo Boo, and Cindy Bear help throw Yogi a surprise birthday party. To keep him in the dark, poor Yogi thinks he’s going to have to perform some kind of act in front of a television audience and he goes out of his way to figure out what he’s good at!

Though it was fun to see Yogi and the gang, I have to admit I really enjoyed seeing Snagglepuss after all these years. His catchphrases “Exit, stage left!” and “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” have stuck with me and seemed to resonate with my daughters as well. So maybe I’ll have to see about finding some other Hanna-Barbera cartoons on DVD to fill a small void in my cartoon collection!

If you’re looking for a fun Christmas-themed special with characters that haven’t been seen on TV for a while, I’d definitely look for Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Caper on DVD. It’s short and fun and should keep younger viewers entranced for a little while!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other holiday-themed DVDs below!

DVD Review: Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales

Hi all…

When the holidays roll around, I can’t help but think about the many great Charlie Brown television specials that appear throughout the year. Of course you have It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at Halloween, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas at Christmastime, but you also have Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, with many others. The jazzy piano music of Vince Guaraldi provides much of the soundtrack in my mind to this very day.

Based on the Peanuts comic strip of creator Charles M. Schultz, which began appearing in newspapers by 1950 and ended in 2000, each of the animated specials has offered a slice of the world Charlie Brown and Snoopy inhabit. And I know I for one will happily revisit that world just about any day of the week. Even so, I know I haven’t seen all of the Charlie Brown/Peanuts television specials that have aired over the years. The usual suspects appear every year on TV, but there are many that appeared once and then seemingly disappeared into that space where forgotten cartoons go.

That’s why I’m very happy that Warner Brothers has been re-releasing many of the older animated Peanuts features that we haven’t seen before. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is one of the specials that falls into this category. I don’t remember ever seeing it on television, but am happy to share it with my two daughters who haven’t seen very many of these amazing cartoons.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales focuses on a series of Christmastime vignettes featuring a different Peanuts character. Snoopy, Linus, Sally, Lucy, and Charlie Brown are all featured. Snoopy struggles with trying to forge a Christmas peace with the ferocious cat next door and wants to ice skate with Lucy though she wants nothing to do with him. Linus works on his letter to Santa and tries to figure out the girl who sits behind him in class who is always changing her name. Sally writes a letter to “Samantha Claus” and embarrasses herself in class, Lucy tries to be nice, and Charlie Brown tries to prepare for the holiday.

Through each little story, you catch a glimpse into the minds of these characters. And though I prefer A Charlie Brown Christmas, I think Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales may be added to the long list of holiday specials to watch as Christmas grows near.

Also included on the DVD is “Is this Goodbye, Charlie Brown?” in which Linus and Lucy unexpectedly move away, forcing Charlie Brown, Sally, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang to deal with their loss. Though I liked this feature, I have to wonder why it would be included on a holiday-themed DVD.

But if you’re looking for another classic holiday special for your arsenal of DVDs, I’d definitely check out Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other animated classics below!

Trailer Time: Cars 2 looks awesome in the new trailer

Hi there!

While watching Tangled at the theater on Thanksgiving night, I saw this Cars 2 trailer in 3D and have to say I was impressed. It looks fun and in the same irreverent but family-friendly zone that the first one was in – and that’s all I can ask.

The crew is back – Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), Mack (John Ratzenberger), Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Tony Shalhoub (Luigi), and Ramone (Cheech Marin) – and I can hardly wait to see what Michael Caine does as British agent Finn McMissile…

Plus, the lines when McMissile introduces himself to Mater made me laugh out loud:

Finn McMissile: “Finn McMissile, British Intelligence.”
Mater: “Tow Mater, average intelligence.”

The 3D in the trailer even looked pretty good, but I would expect nothing less from Pixar. They don’t let mediocrity slip through their defenses.

I’m looking forward to this one coming out in Summer 2011!

Enjoy the trailer!

–Fitz

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