Winnie the Pooh Movie Review
Review by Rachel Hansen (A-)
We all have our different comfort foods; things that make us feel that everything is going to be ok. It might be macaroni and cheese, apple pie, a warm cup of coffee, or a nice cold beer. You know, whatever floats your boat. Well, for me, Winnie the Pooh is the comfort food for the child in me.
I grew up watching the adventures of the cute and cuddly bunch in the Hundred Acre Wood. The stories were simple, short and always contained a happy ending. That might be a little unrealistic, but in an age when children are exposed to so much violence, I'm all for a little idealism. The most recent Winnie the Pooh film does not disappoint.
The film starts with the group conducting a search to find a new tail for Eeyore (voiced by Bud Luckey) and Pooh's quest for some honey to quiet the rumbling in his tummy. However, the day's mission changes when the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood misinterpret a note left for them by Christopher Robin and assume he has been kidnapped by "The Backson." An elaborate plan ensues to save their friend.
Although this closely resembles the premise of 2007's Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, the idea of giving Eeyore a much more prominent role than usual and the sequence when fearful Piglet is called upon to save the group gives us more time with the other characters, instead of relying on Pooh to carry the film. There were many times I was laughing out loud along with the four- and five-year olds in the audience. The amazing Zooey Deschanel provides many of the songs, including a revamp of the classic theme, which help to modernize the film.
Directors Stephen Anderson and Don Hall have done a fantastic job assembling a cast of voices to accompany these classic characters; Jim Cummings as Pooh and Tigger, Travis Oates as Piglet, Kristen Anderson-Lopez as Kanga and John Cleese as the helpful Narrator. The only choice that I question is Craig Ferguson as Owl. Granted, the Owl we know and love is a little full of himself and a know-it-all, but Ferguson's interpretation takes these traits a little too far and results in making him a bit unlikeable.
The film employs all the aspects of the classic films: the Narrator playing an active role in the story, the classic animation style and the characters jumping from page to page and interacting with the text. All these things help to reinforce the nostalgic feel that made these films classics in the first place. At only 69 minutes, I imagine the length will go over well with the younger audiences who might not be able to sit still for too much longer, but might not sit as well with parents expected to fork over $12 per ticket. But ticket price aside, this is a perfect film for the entire family, including the kid in all of us.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.