Winnie the Pooh

11 Aug

Title: Winnie the Pooh
Year: 
2011
Directors: 
Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall
Writers: story by Stephen J. Anderson, Clio Chiang, Don Dougherty, Don Hall, Brian Kesinger, Nicole Mitchell and Jeremy Spears, based on the works of A.A. Milne and Ernest Shepard, with additional story material by Paul Briggs and Chris Ure
Starring: 
Jim Cummings, Tom Kenny, Craig Ferguson, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey, Jack Boutler, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Wyatt Dean Hall, John Cleese
MPAA Rating: 
G
Runtime: 
63 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
7.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 
90%

To be honest, I saw the new Winnie the Pooh movie for three reasons which, in specific order, where: 1) It had three songs in it performed by Zooey Deschanel, who regular readers of mine know is my dream girl, 2) It had TV’s Craig Ferguson voicing Owl and I’ll watch anything that has an appearance by Mr. Ferguson, even if it’s just his voice, and 3) I like taking a break from the usual CGI-animated movies, which usually come in 3D, and bask in the glory of good ol’ fashioned 2D animation. And even though those were, to me at least, three good reasons to give Winnie the Pooh a shot, I do admit they don’t sound reasons that make it seem as though I was expecting something great, and maybe I wasn’t, but this film really was something very very good.

It’s a film that’s just a truly nostalgic ride, one that really feels like the oldschool family films that could be enjoyed by parents and kids alike, that was sweet and short, that had some traditional animation values and just a sweet-nature behind it all, it was just as true a Winnie the Pooh movie as you’d imagine. And you have no idea just how much you’ll appreciate that until you actually watch it, I mean, this film is barely over an hour, it’s just seriously sweet and not loud at all, and in today’s intensely congested animated movie-world you’ll find that a film in 2D, with no A-list celebrity voicework done to get promotion, and no excessive mention of pop-culture is something to truly treasure. The fact that it features our favorite honey-loving bear just makes it all that much better.

And you fall in love all over again with the classic staples of the Pooh tales, like the fact that our animal friends misread a note from Christopher Robin to get the action rolling, the fact that they’re searching for Eeyore’s tail, the fact that Pooh is obviously still looking for honey. We know all of these things from years of growing up with these characters, and it’ll tickle our nostalgic bones in the best of ways, and the little ones who don’t know about Winnie the Pooh yet now have a great new film to get initiated with. And that’s one of the things that I loved so much about this film, that it tried to get new audience to the Winnie the Pooh brand by giving them exactly what it gave to so many generations before, and not by rebooting or updating the brand to make it more hip. The Hundred Acre Wood is the same as we remembered it, the film still teaches the same sort of lessons, the characters will burst into lovely little tunes, it’s all the same sweet kind of silliness that we’ll always love.

So if you have to take a kid with you to the movies, and you’re torn between this and Cars 2, let me advice you to pick this one without hesitating for a second. Because even if grown-ups won’t necessarily seek out Winnie the Pooh on their own, I can bet that they’ll have a serious flashback session to their childhood as soon as they see their old animal friends take a new approach to an old story, and they’ll probably even be a bit jealous of the infant sitting next to them, for the sheer fact that they’re meeting Winnie and Tigger and Owl and Piglet for the very first time. And, like I said, it’s just awesome to see an animated movie that doesn’t “star” a big-name celebrity. The biggest name here is Mr. Ferguson who’s actually wonderful as Owl, and all the vocal performances are really perfect, lively in a way that doesn’t like it does in so many other movies, in which celebrities try to be showy in their voicework.

Please go see Winnie the Pooh, I really can’t urge you enough to do so, don’t go about it like it’s a kids movie, because even though it is, the cuddly, hand-drawn characters and the soft colors will really move any adult who has grown up with these characters. Not to mention that the film is just very funny and amusing, in a way that only the earnestness of a Winnie the Pooh movie can be goofy, it’s a type of G-rated fun that’s so good-natured and sweet that you’d think you wouldn’t be able to find it in theaters anymore, and you should do your best to really appreciate that. The music is awesome, too, done by Robert Lopez, who’s a Tony Award winner for Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, alongside his wife. They’re just truly nifty compositions that will have kids loving the music and adults enjoying the quick lyrics, and then there are those songs sung by the lovely Ms. Deschanel, one of those few people who’s genuine brand of adorability would seem to fit right in the world of Pooh and his friends.

Grade: B+

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