Tuesday, July 19, 2011

'Winnie the Pooh' is Nostalgic, Delightful Fun

I managed to miss out on last weekend's Harry Potter juggernaut in favor of a nostalgic trip to the Hundred Acre Wood. I had my 4-year old granddaughter in tow to justify Christopher Robin's bedroom over Hogwarts, but I would've gladly seen Winnie the Pooh without her (sorry Donna). She was more excited about seeing The Smurfs in two weeks anyway. I really need to keep working on her. She can't possibly be related to me.

Winnie the Pooh is a charming, lovingly crafted film rendered in the classic 2D style. It has the lush, deceptively simple watercolor backgrounds that evoke both the late 1960s Disney cartoons and E. H. Shepard's illustrations in the original A. A. Milne stories. The story is of little consequence. Like so many other Pooh stories, it's a day in the life of the honey-loving bear and his friends. The morose donkey Eeyore loses his tail. Christopher Robin is mistakenly thought lost and captured by a fierce imaginary creature called a Backson--that steals your socks and makes your clocks run slow. There are no explosions, elaborate special effects or fart jokes in Winnie the Pooh. The most violent thing that happens is bouncy Tigger pounces on a red balloon.

All these benign goings-on may lead you to believe Winnie the Pooh is just a movie for kids. If you buy into that, then you are indeed a bear of very little brain. Safe for children? Absolutely. But to dismiss Winnie the Pooh as mere kiddie fare is to not fully appreciate the artistry and fun of the film. The voice cast is excellent, especially Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson as the pompous Owl and the versatile Jim Cummings who does double duty as the voice of both Tigger and Pooh. It's also a pleasure to hear Monty Python alum John Cleese narrate the film, much in the same manner as Sebastian Cabot did in the originals. That familiarity should resonate with adults, who will also appreciate the opening live action shots in Christopher Robin's bedroom and the way the animated characters literally pop right out of the storybook--and occasionally get tangled up in the letters.

In a summertime full of the usual loud, effects-heavy "event" films, Winnie the Pooh is a nostalgic and delightful time at the movies.



  1. Great post about the Winnie the Pooh movie! I laughed out loud about the part about being so excited to see the movie over Harry Potter :)

  2. I'm a big Winnie-the-Pooh fan. Wonderful post! Just found your blog and became a follower.

    Also impressed by your "Disney News" archive. I am doing research for an upcoming post I'm writing and am looking for an article that was printed in the Fall 1993 issue. It was entitled "A Suitor for Snow White or... Memoirs of a Devoted Collector."

    Tim, do you have scans of individual pages from the Disney News magazines? Would love to include this one...with credit and link back to your site of course.

    Let me know if this is possible, and keep up the great work.