Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Directed by Stephen Anderson & Don Hall
Written by Anderson, Chiang, Dougherty, Hall, Kesinger, Mitchell & Spears

Winnie the Pooh is a classic tale known by almost everybody. The world of the Hundred Acre Wood all began with the work of author A.A. Milne, but most people are much more familiar with the Walt Disney version, which was originally released in 1977 as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which was more of a collection of shorts than its own separate animated film. This time Disney tackles the imaginary world of Christopher Robin once more. And this time it is done in traditional Disney fashion, with beautiful hand drawn animation amidst the computer animation craze. It also delivers great entertainment for the youngest of audiences.

The story this time is perhaps less episodic, but equally as simple, as the original release in 1977. The main operation for Pooh is, as always, the search for honey. His tummy is rumbling, but soon he realizes that his friend Eeyore is without “tael”. So he, and the rest of the gang (Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Tigger) create a contest to find Eeyore a new tail. Then things take another turn when Christopher Robin disappears and the gang figures he has been captured by an evil monster named the “backsoon” when they misread a note left by Christopher. Soon the mystery is solved, Christopher returns and so too does Eeyore’s tail.

The brilliance of animation is its ability to fully realize the imagination and that is what this film is all about. We are whisked away into the imagination of one little boy, Christopher Robin, who loves his stuffed animals and even creates an entire world in which to interact with them, the Hundred Acre Wood. The imagination of Christopher translates into that of the characters as well, and no scene is more evident of that than the “backsoon” monster scene, where they discuss what exactly a “backsoon” is.

And what is more brilliant than this cast of characters? Beloved by many, Pooh and Tigger are certainly the stand outs, but Eeyore, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo are essentials to Pooh viewing,and each gets their fair share of time on screen. Each has a unique and likable personality, but what makes them all so endearing is their everlasting friendship which is on full display in this film. To see them interact and simply care for each other is a joy in and of itself, but they are also very funny together, which makes for a great experience at the theatre.

Yes it is simple; the complex is left for more sophisticated cinema and animation. But the simplicity of the 63 minute film is also its strength. The Disney magic takes over and creates a beautiful tale filled with family friendly humor and a wholesome message for the youthful audience that is sure to make it to the theatres. There may not be a bigger audience for the film apart from young children and their parents, although I am 23 and enjoyed myself after willingly and enthusiastically attending a showing of the film, but that does not detract from the entertainment that is to be had. And this is definitely the kind of film that will warm the hearts of many and perhaps get a whole new generation to love Winnie the Pooh and its great cast of characters.

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