Film Review: Traditional, Silly Fun in Disney’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’

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CHICAGO – Walt Disney Pictures goes old school with their latest animated tale, a return to the Hundred Acre Woods and the adventures of “Winnie the Pooh.” Using the style of the classic “2-D” cartoon method, and crafting a story that is decidedly old fashioned, the folks at the Mouse Factory resisted updating the Pooh formula. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

This is your daddy’s, hell, it’s your granddaddy’s Winnie the Pooh, going back to the innocence of childhood. The film uses the energy of a child’s imagination as its universe, supposing that Christopher Robin can create the whole energy of Winnie the Pooh by making believe that his toys can come to life, thereby creating all of Pooh’s friends and supposed monster enemies. Instead of pop culture references, it’s a misunderstanding that fuels the adventure.

The animated story starts with a live action shot of Christopher Robin’s room, a collection of stuff and stuffed toys, all catalogued for the purpose of imagination. This is actually the origin of the Winnie the Pooh stories, as the English author A.A. Milne used his child as the model for Christopher Robin and adopted the names of his son’s toys to populate his story. Once the story begins, the switch occurs to the Hundred Acre Wood and the familiar Disney cartoon style that has been used for Pooh, and the bear’s actions are crisply narrated by John Cleese.

The woodland inhabitants include Winnie the Pooh (voice of Jim Cummings), his pals Eeyore (Bud Luckey), Owl (Craig Ferguson, Piglet (Travis Oates), Kanga (Kristen Anderson-Lopez), Tigger (Cummings again) and Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter). Pooh is in constant pursuit of his beloved sweet honey, the rest of the menagerie operate off that plot point. They also interact within a picture book, occasionally running into the letters on the page or speaking directly to the narrator.

In a case of misunderstanding, the gang reads a letter from Christopher Robin saying he will be “back soon.” Owl interprets this to imagine that Christopher R. has been kidnapped by a creature named the “Backson.” Soon everybody is fearfully setting traps and preparing military strategies to deal with the unseen menace. Hey, what else do cartoon-like talking woodland creatures have to do?

”Winnie the Pooh” opens everywhere on July 15th. Featuring the voices of John Cleese, Craig Ferguson, Jim Cummings, Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Travis Oates, Bud Luckey and Jack Boulter. Based on characters created by A.A. Milne, directed by Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall. Rated “G”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Winnie the Pooh”

A Page Out of Pooh: The Surreal Storybook Letters in ‘Winnie the Pooh’
A Page Out of Pooh: The Surreal Storybook Letters in ‘Winnie the Pooh’
Photo credit: © Disney Enterprises

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Winnie the Pooh”

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