Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DVD Review: Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh ***
Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson & Don Hall.
Written by: Stephen J. Anderson & Clio Chiang & Don Dougherty & Don Hall & Kendelle Hoyer & Brian Kesinger & Nicole Mitchell & Jeremy Spears based on the works of A.A. Milne & Ernest Shepard.
Starring: Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh / Tigger), Bud Luckey (Eeyore), Craig Ferguson (Owl), Jack Boulter (Christopher Robin), Travis Oates (Piglet), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Kanga), Wyatt Dean Hall (Roo), Tom Kenny (Rabbit), Huell Howser (Backson), John Cleese (Narrator).

My daughter is only two and a half months old, so obviously I have not been able to introduce her to movies yet. One day I will however, and while she doesn’t need to become as obsessed with them as I am (in fact, it will be better for her social life if she doesn’t) I would like her to appreciate film as an art form, as I do. That journey will have to start somewhere, and I can think of no better place than Winnie the Pooh – not necessarily their latest cinematic adventure, but it’s as good as anything else.

I haven’t paid too much attention to Pooh and the gang for years now – Piglet’s Big Movie, The Tigger Movie and Pooh’s Heffalump Movie came and went and barely registered on my radar, and I certainly didn’t watch any. But when the latest one came out, inspired by my new daughter, I decided to rent it and see what I thought. It’s amazing how quickly you can sink back into the characters you remember as children. Lovable, hungry Winnie the Pooh, always on the hunt for honey (or as he spells it “Huny”), his meek, adorable sidekick Piglet. The exuberant Tigger, always full of energy and confidence. Know it all Owl. Rabbit, who I’m pretty sure has OCD. Motherly Kanga, and her son Roo. And my personal favorite, the constantly depressed Eeyore. I’m not sure what it says about me that my favorite is Eeyore, probably nothing good, but I love him anyway. These animals, along with Christopher Robin, are known to pretty much everyone in the world, and although I hadn’t spent any time with them in probably two decades, I sunk back into their world easily.

The reason why Winnie the Pooh is appropriate for even the youngest of kids is because there is nothing really all that scary about it. There is never any real conflict, just a series of adventures the group has. Even in the classic Pooh vignette where he and Piglet think they are being followed, everyone can tell that it’s just their own footprints in the snow that freak them out. In this movie, there are two main storylines. The biggest is about poor Eeyore, who has lost his tail. Everyone pitches in to try and find it, and when they fail to do that, they try to find him a replacement tail – although none suits poor Eeyore. The other involves a note left by Christopher Robin telling them that he will be Bak Sun – which smarty pants Owl interprets to mean that he has been kidnapped by the evil Bak Sun, and they must try and get him back.

At barely an hour long, Winnie the Pooh is short enough for even kids with the briefest of attention spans. It was also just about perfect for me, because while I enjoyed getting back into this world at first, as it moved along, I was less enthralled with it. Nothing much happens in Pooh’s world, and that’s part of its charm, but it also means that after a while, your mind wanders. Nevertheless, I must admit I enjoyed my return trip to see these old friends, so long ago forgotten by me. I’m sure by daughter will love them just as much as I did.

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