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WINNIE THE POOH, 2011
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WINNIE THE POOH, 2011 MOVIEWINNIE THE POOH, 2011
Movie Reviews

Director: Stephen J. Anderson Don Hall

Starring: Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Peter Cullen, John Cleese, Tom Kenny,

Review by Mark Engberg

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SYNOPSIS:

While out looking for some honey, Winnie the Pooh is pulled into a quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit.

REVIEW:

In September 2009, Disney-Pixar’s chief creative officer John Lasseter announced that the company wanted to create a Winnie the Pooh movie that would “transcend generations”.

Begging your pardon, Mr. Lasseter, but it seems that The Walt Disney Company already achieved that. After all, Disney licensed these characters in 1961 from A.A. Milne’s books, which were first published in 1926. Is there a single person alive today who has not been affected by the simplistic wisdom of this silly old bear of very little brain?

“Winnie the Pooh has already been one of my favorite characters,” Lasseter said. “Everyone always thinks Winnie the Pooh is for little kids but I screened original prints of the two Disney films and what’s interesting was how they made a theater full of adults laugh so hysterically.”

This is true. I am thirty-seven years old, and I found myself laughing openly at this delightful bear and his endless pursuit of honey. In this age of competitive animation that prioritizes state-of-the-art technology and computer graphics over a worthwhile storyline, it is refreshing to see that there are some elements from of our childhood that do not need to be fixed.

Maybe my audible laughter is really just a sign of relief that Disney can finally acknowledge this fact.

The new film is indeed faithful to previous Pooh films in that it utilizes watercolor backgrounds in place of digital animation. Furthermore, Burny Mattinson, who worked as an animator in 1977’s “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, serves as story supervisor and lead artist.

Based on three separate stories found in Milne’s books, the film is a meager collection of adventures concerning the boy Christopher Robin and his anthropomorphic animal friends. These characters are blissfully true to their motivations and their representations are as clear as we remember them forty years ago.

But there are some minor differences that were necessary for the production of this rebooted version. For one, the great John Cleese voices the storybook narration with traditional irritation that is sure to entertain the older audience members. Even more fitting is late night talk show host Craig Ferguson playing the part of the loquacious Owl.

But beyond that, “Winnie the Pooh” does not dare to deviate from its familiar playground at Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher Robin does not carry a cellphone. Eeyore does not take anti-depressants to combat his ennui. And Winnie the Pooh does not opt for Nutella as a healthier alternative to honey.

These new adventures are presented with such charming and antiquated simplicity that it is actually hard to tell that it is modern cinema. And that is a good thing.

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The entire gang is reunited for these new adventures, with the exception of Gopher (who was never in the original books anyway). What are these new adventures? I could tell you, but what fun would that be for you? All you really need to know is that this movie is completely suitable for your children, no matter their age.

Unlike so many Disney features that have come and gone since Pooh first got stuck in the honey tree, there is not a speck of indecent material that can be argued as being inappropriate for the youngest (and most important) audience members.

This movie is as pure and wholesome as the unprocessed honey for which Pooh yearns. Got kids? Take them to see this film so they can share the joy of your own childhood. Don’t have kids? Go see this movie anyway. It will remind you of the innocence of being a child, and of the utter importance of one’s own imagination.

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WINNIE THE POOH