Now Showing on Cable: “Winnie the Pooh”

Making its debut this weekend on Starz was last year’s “Winnie the Pooh” from Walt Disney studios.

It’s traditionally animated and features all the classic A.A. Milne characters that inhabit the Hundred Acre Wood. Disney has brought them to the screen many times over the years, but in this particular installment, Disney released the picture with surprisingly little fanfare. I barely even realized it had come and gone. Possibly because they released it on the same weekend as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″.

Frankly, it made me wonder if Disney was “dumping it”.

If they were, there was certainly no reason to, as “Winnie the Pooh” is wonderfully crafted animated movie, worthy of a place in the Disney heritage.

“Winnie the Pooh” feels like a throw back to the Classic Disney films. Traditionally animated, splendidly voiced and chock full of entertaining songs, “Pooh” has an unmistakable retro feel to it. It would fit perfectly in amongst a marathon of the Disney films of yore.

Part of its charm is that unlike most of today’s animated fare, “Pooh” is less concerned with appealing to all ages and is squarely aimed at children. Not that adults can’t appreciate it… on the contrary, I found it highly entertaining. It’s simply that this movie wasn’t as concerned with telling a traditional, mature story, and more concerned with whimsical adventures and silly moments that would amuse children.

“Winnie the Pooh” leaps right into things… all your favorite characters are quickly introduced as if you already know them and the adventures are under way. Eeyore has lost his tail, and everyone must help find it. Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo all do their best to track it down, but they get in their own way more often than not. Pooh, of course, constantly craves honey, and frequently gets into trouble in his quest for it. Owl is too smart for his own good, Piglet is a nervous little critter, and Eeyore mopes about as if the sun never shines. And Tigger, well, it’s a good thing there’s only one Tigger in the woods. He’s a virtual booby trap.

It’s certainly a cast of lovable characters, which is why they’ve withstood the test of time.

For the most part, they all engage in silly misunderstandings and traipsing about the woods. Occasionally there are sweet, surrealistic flourishes such as dream sequences or a chalkboard drawing taking over the frame… and as Pooh stories are wont to do, they frequently break the fourth wall, with the Pooh characters interacting with the narrator (John Cleese) or pages of the storybook. The traditional hand drawn (with occasional CGI blend) animation looks great, and its a refreshing change to the 3D modeling that is used in most children’s movies today. Add in some fun, kid friendly tunes, and this is a movie that’s perfect for families with young children.

Plus, the brief run time (barely over an hour) will probably be appreciated by parents who don’t want to worry about keeping their kids in the theatre too long.

A-

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19 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “Winnie the Pooh”

  1. I really enjoyed this one. Especially the scene where they’re in the hole. I don’t think I’ve seen that many puns stuffed into one scene before.

  2. I thought this was a beautiful movie, it really captured the look and feel of the original movie and used CGI in a more subtle way that fit in with the traditional animation quite well. Really enjoyed it, and so did my daughter.

    • Cool. That’s good to hear. I had a suspicion that kids would really take to this one.

      It is a pretty awesome Disney flick. Very fun, totally sweet… like you said, the anumation looks great. Glad to see so many people responding to this one so well today

  3. It’s the only non-Pixar toon my 4-year-old and 2-year-old will watch. Thank goodness it’s charming as all hell! Love it!

    Great write-up Fogs. Right on the nose, as usual.

    • Thank you Dave, thank you. Appreciate that.

      Yeah, I know kids can be like that. Just have that craving for the familiar, you know? If this is one of the ones they’ve latched on to? You are fortunate. There are a lot of ‘em out there not as good as this. LOL

      You could be stuck with Gnomeo and Juliet! LOL!!

  4. I really liked this when I saw it. I was hesitant about the new voices (I grew up with Winnie the Pooh on tv along side the books). I thought they did a good job, once I adjusted. The only thing I wasn’t fond of was the music. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t feel that memorable.

    • Pooh and Piglet were spot on, I thought, as far as voices. Tigger and Eeyore needed a little adjusting… but hey. Its not as bad as the new “Looney Tunes”. I cant even watch for more than a minute. Bugs opens his mouth and I’m GONE. LOL

      I’d agree that none of the music was memorable, Nic, but you know, I wouldnt call it a detriment, either… I thought it was Ok….

      (Shrugs)

  5. Glad to hear this is actually pretty good… I don’t know what Disney’s marketing team was thinking with their approach there. (Boy it seems like we’ve been saying that a lot lately.)

    I don’t know… with a decline in traditional animation, and a decline in traditional stories — Disney’s feature for this year is something called “Wreck it Ralph”, about a video game character — I get the feeling that Disney doesn’t know who they are right now. The 2010s may go down as another Disney Dark Age.

    • It might… now that you put it all scary and whatnot like that. LOL!!

      I dont know what their intentions were here exactly… it’s REAL short. Like an hour 10 minutes. Maybe they thought they’d just give it a token theatrical run and then have the DVD sales and fodder for their cable channels…

      Who knows.

  6. Weird how this one didn’t get much press last year. I have a soft spot for Winnie the Pooh so I wouldn’t mind checking this out someday. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Fogs.

    • If you have a soft spot for him, this movie is practically a shoo in. I liked it a lot, and apparently everyone else did too. Lots of support for it showing up in the comments today.

      Its real short, give it a look see if you get a chance!

  7. I like this movie too… I agree with you that it appeals more to young children and not really teens or adults… but I think if you like Winnie the Pooh, you will like this new movie :D

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