YOGI’S GREAT ESCAPE
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
This 1987 animated television movie opens with springtime dawning in Jellystone Park. Yogi Bear awakes from his winter nap hungry as can be. Fortunately for him, Jellystone Park is open for the season, which means plenty of pic-i-nic baskets will be arriving soon. Unfortunately for him, he finds himself in charge of a trio of bear cub triplets, who are as hungry as he is. To make things worse, Ranger Smith learns that Jellystone Park is in danger of closing. Yogi, Boo Boo and the triplets head out in search of a new home while Ranger Smith hires a rustic tracker to help bring the bears home.
WHAT I LIKED
With the release of the live-action/CGI “Yogi Bear” feature film, there has been a bit of a rediscovery of the original character, thanks to Warner Bros. With so many comparisons of the new movie to “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” it’s easy to lose sight of the charm and flavor of these older cartoons.
While I didn’t immediately think of a TV special from 1987 as being old (even though it’s been more than 30 years since it aired), I realize that this kind of show brings me back to my youth. And, like the recently released “Yogi’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper,” here’s a chance to bite your tongue about how silly the new movie is and realize that Yogi has always just been about silly shenanigans.
What I do like about these cartoons from the 80s is that Yogi and Boo Boo were already classic characters, and Hanna-Barbera has always been about cross-pollinating the stories. So, like “Yogi’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper,” there’s some cameos of other HB characters, including Quick-Draw McGraw and Wally Gator.
“Yogi’s Great Escape” plays out a bit like three different cartoons strung together, although there is a continuing story. It may not be the best the characters have to offer, but it’s a nice way to enjoy the silver age of Hanna-Barbera most famous bear, and share it with your kids.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The Hanna-Barbera cartoons have never been known for their high quality in terms of animation. In fact, the studio pioneered cheap made-for-Saturday-morning programming as far back as the 1960s. But by the time the shows reached the 80s, there was a change in style that isn’t as charming as the original low-rent properties. If you like the style and feel of series like “The Gummy Bears,” you’ll enjoy this episode. It’s not as good as “Yogi’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper” because of the era in which it was made, but it’s still cute to watch, and available on DVD from the Warner Archive vault.
Sadly, like most of the titles in the Warner Archive collection, there are no special features on the disc, and only scene marker at every ten minutes.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids and Yogi Bear fans.