Here's a fun fact about Yogi Bear: Like many Hanna-Barbera characters, Yogi wore a collar -- a corner-cutting trick that allowed animators to only draw the head in repeated frames, reducing the amount of drawings needed for an episode by more than 80 percent. That fact is sort of a metaphor for Hanna-Barbera in general, a passionless entertainment machine that copped proven popular personalities and crapped them out in cartoon form to the end of keeping kids stationary between commercial breaks. So hey, this upcoming movie adaptation of the cartoon ought to really get the kids playing outside, amiright?
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Because if the original cartoon wasn't cynical enough for you, then brace yourself for the feature-length live-action/CGI movie, which a high-powered team of marketing execs calculated will appeal to the now-domesticated gen-Xers who grew up on the stuff while simultaneously keeping their kids entertained with enough hilarious butt jokes and 3D to overlook the gratuitous product placement! Three cheers for bread and circuses! If there's any benefit at all to this movie, it's that it will be utterly forgotten within six weeks.
While it lasts, though, The National Wildlife Federation has hopped on the bandwagon with a marketing tie-in that aims to "extend the movie's lessons" -- which actually sounds kind of sinister if you think about it. Still, the intentions are good. Here's what the NWF suggests you learn:
Have a picnic - of course!
Get outside - Hike a trail, fly a kite, float leaf boats down a stream, skip a stone across a pond, sled in the snow, roll down a hill, climb a tree, play hide-and-seek in the tall grass, or build a fort.
Watch wildlife - Use binoculars to spot birds, roll over a log to find insects and worms, sit still and study squirrels or rabbits or other mammals, scoop up some pond water and zoom in close, or enjoy the light show when the fireflies come out at night.
Find a park near you - In the movie, Jellystone Park™ is in trouble because not enough people are visiting it. Search NatureFind to find a park in your neighborhood and pay it a visit.
Camp out - Set up a tent and sleep under the stars.
And those are all great ideas, actually. In fact, we're going to go and play outside right... oh, hey. Grape Ape is on.