Winnie the Pooh is the film embodiment of childhood innocence and true friendship.
It’d be hard to argue that there’s a better introductory character to the movies for children than Winnie the Pooh. This willy-nilly, silly old bear is the center of a great many stories by A.A. Milne that were eventually bought by Disney and made into one of their most successful animated franchises to date. One of the character’s keys to success is the simplicity of the stories and friends that surround him. There’s an innocence to him that can’t be matched, and his unwavering appetite for honey is usually the starting point for a great many of his adventures and this time is no exception.
Pooh lives in Hundred Acre Wood with his wide array of neighbours and friends. There’s his best friend Piglet, who’s as jumpy as he is faithful; Eeyore, an overly depressed donkey who can never seem to catch a break; Tigger, the most energetic (and only) Tigger in the world; Owl, the “brains” of the group; Rabbit, the most practical (and irritable) of the bunch; and finally the gang’s motherly figure, Kanga, and her son Roo. Of course, we can’t forget the one who watches over this wacky, lovable ensemble, Christopher Robin.
On a day that starts as any other day, Pooh awakens (or is awoken, in this case, by Narrator John Cleese) and immediately goes in search for honey to please his rumbly tummy. While on his quest he runs into Eeyore who seems to have misplaced his tail. Pooh quickly recruits all his friends to help find Eeyore a replacement for his lost derrière dangler, with the prize being a nice, big pot of honey (any ideas as to who chose what the prize would be?)
While looking to help his friend — and satisfy his growing hunger at the same time — Pooh heads to Christopher Robin’s house. Though instead of a snack, Pooh instead finds a note from Christopher Robin that he has trouble deciphering. Or as he’d put it, “I’m a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me.” The note is filled with improper spelling (which continuously adds to the childlike innocence found in this world) and reads, “Gon Out. Backson. Bisy. Backson. C.R.” Pooh takes the letter to Owl, who misinterprets it and deciphers that Christopher Robin has been captured by a creature named “Backson” and that they’re the only ones who can save him.
While an extremely brisk 69 minutes, Winnie the Pooh is filled with insurmountable charm, loads of laughs, and even more heart. There’s no deep story to be found here or plot twists to be had which greatly works to this film’s advantage. This is a movie that young kids will become enamoured with as it’s filled with bright colours, plenty of visual gags and easily recognizable characters. The shortness of the film helps make sure the sweetness doesn’t overstay its welcome and that the attention span of children is taken into account as well.
The animation is beautifully drawn and filled with love. It’s easy to see that a lot of time and care went into making this a worthy addition to the Disney animated classics instead of just another way to make a quick buck. The soundtrack has a handful of songs that were written and performed by actress Zooey Deschanel ((500) Days of Summer.) They’re sweet, soft and fit perfectly into the ongoing theme of friendship found within the film.
The voice acting is superb, with Jim Cummings leading the way as both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Cummings, who has voiced both roles for quite some time now, does a fantastic job bringing Pooh to life. The simple-minded charm that makes the character as beloved as he is just oozes from the screen like honey from a pot. The rest of the cast are perfect as well, nailing each of their roles so well that no character gets lost in the background (even though Eeyore would likely argue that he was.) If a standout performance had to be chosen it would go to Craig Ferguson whose portrayal of Owl is both masterful and hilarious.
Winnie the Pooh is the perfect film to introduce children both to movies, as well as one of the most lovable characters ever created. While in recent years hand-drawn animated films have taken a backseat to their CGI-produced brethren, the latest Winnie the Pooh adventure keeps to the series roots and delivers a vibrant 2D world drawn completely by hand. It’s probably for the best, as promoting a film based around seeing Pooh in 3D likely would have been a marketing disaster.
Directors: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall Notable Cast: John Cleese, Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey Writer(s): Stephen J. Anderson, Clio Chiang, Don Dougherty, Don Hall, Brian Kesinger, Nicole Mitchell, Jeremy Spears based off the character “Winnie the Pooh” created by A. A. Milne.
Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.