Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New 'Winnie the Pooh' Movie Links to Disney's Past

Disney released some new concept art, design sketches and plot details for their upcoming return to the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh. 

Pooh will be voiced by the versatile Jim Cummings, who also provides the voice of Tigger.

The story takes place over the course of a single day, which begins, as usual, with the "silly old bear" going in search of honey. His search gets sidetracked when gloomy Eeyore (Bud Luckey) loses his tail and his friends decide to help him find a new one.

The adventure continues when Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter) briefly departs the Hundred Acre Wood, leaving behind a note saying "Back soon"...

...which Owl (Craig Ferguson) misinterprets as meaning Christopher Robin has been captured by a vicious beast called a "Backson."

And soon, all of the friends are off to find and rescue Christopher Robin.

These simple story elements draw their inspiration directly from A.A. Milne's original books. It's very gratifying to see Disney getting back to the roots of what made the Pooh films of the 1960s and 70s so great. Like its early predecessors, Winnie the Pooh will once again begin with live footage of Christopher Robin's bedroom before leaping onto the pages of a Winnie the Pooh book, a reminder that what we're about to see is the product of both an author's and a young boy's imaginations.

Another tribute to the past is having senior story artist Burny Mattinson as part of the Winnie the Pooh's creative team. He drew the story sketches you see below (color by Paul Felix):

Mattinson is a 58-year veteran of the Walt Disney Studios. He began his career in the Disney mailroom at the age of 18. Despite having no formal art training, he was a talented artist and within six months started working as an in-betweener on Lady and the Tramp.

Over the years, Mattinson perfected his craft, working under legendary animators Marc Davis and Eric Larson. Mattinson's credits included 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book and The Rescuers. He wrote, produced and directed The Great Mouse Detective. He also worked on all the original Pooh short subjects, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974).

Later, as a story developer, he contributed to modern Disney classics such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. "Storyboards," he said, "are as close to direction as you can get,  You're telling cameras where to go, what's happening on screen, where to cut, and really making a blueprint for the film."

Mattinson was named a Disney Legend in 2008.

Winnie the Pooh opens nationwide in the U.S. on July 15.

No comments:

Post a Comment