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Thursday, March 31, 2011

hey, boo boo (spoiler alert)

Last night, my family watched the Yogi Bear movie for the first time.  You know, the one that came out last Christmas.  We got it on demand through Amazon, which was great.  Using our Roku box, we streamed it right onto our television and were able to watch as a family.  Or, part of a family.  Katie wasn't interested, so John had to go entertain her.

Overall, I thought the movie was great.  I had read reviews back when it was in theaters that left me with a poor impression of the flick.  However, I didn't take note of any cussing, revealing outfits (some skirts were on the short side, but there were no titties bouncing), or inside "adult" jokes.  Yogi Bear seems to be a clean family film.  Hooray!

However, I do have some beef with the writers or producers or whatever the hell you want to call the people who are ultimately responsible for the ideas that are depicted within the movie.  I was quite appalled to learn that the psuedo-bad-guy, Ranger Jones, played by T.J. Miller, was an Eagle Scout.  Now, normally I appreciate representations of Scouting in the media.  But, this guy's Scouting background was brought up repeatedly in jokes and cat-calls.  Furthermore, and this is the spoiler for those of you who have not watched the movie, he didn't behave as a Scout would.  This guy was easily convinced to betray his boss and the park facility, though everything about the set-up went against the Scout Law.  He even admitted it.  He said, to some effect, "I'm a Scout, I'm loyal, I can't do this."  But, he did anyway.  The young man valued leadership (at least, climbing the wooded ladder), but did not respect his supervisors.  Furthermore, he was depicted as a complete dumbass.  Someone so utterly lacking in intelligence, respect, dignity, loyalty, and work ethic, would never complete the requirements to earn his Eagle rank, which reflects poorly on the Boy Scouts of America.

Granted, it is a movie.  However, any parent of a young son may see this character and determine that the Boy Scouts don't focus so intently on character development, or that the leaders really do just pass the boys along the ranks with no real effort.  Of course, Ranger Jones returns to his roots in the end, in a prodigal-son moment in which he effectively saves the park.  But, at that point, the damage is done and there is no further mention of Scouting or upholding the Scout Law.  Absolutely appalling.

What would I change?  Would I take the references to Scouting out?  No, not necessarily.  Scouts do make mistakes.  They aren't perfect.  They do try to correct their wrongdoings, as Ranger Jones did.  And, they can be made fun of for being Scouts, as Ranger Jones was.  But, why?  Do we have to continue the teasing?  Couldn't they have reinforced the characterization of a former Scout without the lame comments?  Did it have to be included at all?

If you saw a Scout behaving badly, would it diminish your view of the Boy Scouts of America organization?  If you saw an Eagle Scout acting as if his head was hollow, would you seek out the help of said organization to help instill character and values in your son's life?  If you have recently seen the film, do you think the characterization in the movie has any impact upon the Scouting movement at all?

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