Anthony's Film Review
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
A short but delightful Disney animated film featuring everyone's favorite lovable bear...
If there is one character from the Walt Disney animation studio who undoubtedly has won the hearts of so many people, young and old, it's Winnie the Pooh. The character is just so adorable to watch, and if you have a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear, he's very huggable. Of course, it's not just about Pooh. His friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, including Tigger (the bouncy tiger), Eeyore (the sad donkey), Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, are just as lovable. It's no wonder that the world of Winnie the Pooh, as created by British children's author A.A. Milne and adapted by the Walt Disney studio, has captured the hearts of many kids and adults.
For me, I remember watching the beloved bear in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree as well as episodes of the television series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Years later, in 2011, I noticed a one-hour Winnie the Pooh movie released in theaters. At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to see it, but once I did, I understood what the filmmakers were likely trying to do: pay tribute to both A.A. Milne and Walt Disney. While the previous Pooh films make people strongly associate the character with Disney, this movie gets people to see that Winnie the Pooh has been brought to life by a British author and an American animator, not just the latter.
Just take a look at the film's opening and you'll see what I mean. Believe it or not, it's a series of live-action shots (at least I think it is, unless it's intensely realistic computer-generated imagery), showing the bedroom of Christopher Robin, the young boy whom everyone knows as the human friend of Pooh. We see the various toys he has, including stuffed animals of Pooh, Tigger, and the other characters. We also hear narration from John Cleese as he introduces the story. That's when we see a copy of a book, titled Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, opening up to the first chapter.
Obviously, this is where the animation begins. But what you see on the screen isn't necessarily 100% animated characters or background. At times, you will see the animation interact with text from the book's pages. For example, the first chapter talks about Pooh waking up, and we see the animation of Pooh in bed in between the lines of text being narrated. When Pooh doesn't wake up, the book rotates in order to knock Pooh out of bed. When I saw this, I thought this was a nice touch and a great way to present traditional Disney animation without being totally confined by it. If you think that's great, expect to see more humorous text-animation interactions, in the story as well as the end credits.
The movie is based on some of A.A. Milne's stories. There are really only three things happening here. One, Pooh's stomach is growling loudly because he is starving for some honey (which is, of course, spelled "hunny" in Pooh's world). Two, Eeyore's tail is gone, leading to a funny contest to give Eeyore a new tail, whereby various objects are attached to his rear. And three, Christopher Robin leaves a note that is misread as a distress signal. The note simply says that he will be "back soon," but strangely enough, Owl interprets it as a message that Christopher Robin has been captured by a monster called the Backson. I will say nothing more about the plot to let everyone discover the fun and humor of what happens next.
When you have a lovable character like Pooh and the simple humor and charm that goes with him, you can't go wrong. Even as this 2011 movie is another entry in a series of animated works over several decades, I have yet to hear about a Pooh movie that is disappointing. Really, if you love Winnie the Pooh, you'll love this movie. You will enjoy it as another traditional Disney animated film, as well as a Pooh movie that gets a bit more creative than usual and pays tribute to A.A. Milne as much as Walt Disney.
For more information about Winnie the Pooh, visit the Internet Movie Database.