Movie Review: Winnie The Pooh

Winnie the Pooh
Written by Burny Mattinson
Based on the characters by A.A. Milne
Featuring the voices of John Cleese, Craig Ferguson, Jim Cummings
Rated G
Disney Pictures
Release Date: July 15, 2011

If you are tired of seeing a summer blockbuster involving superheroes, wizards, or transforming robots, perhaps a trip through the Hundred Acre Wood would do you some good. For the first time in six years, Winnie the Pooh returns to the big screen in a brand new feature from Disney Pictures simply titled Winnie the Pooh.

Pooh’s friend Eeyore’s tail has gone missing and it is up to Pooh to find it. Pooh discovers soon that a tail is not the only thing that is missing. It seems his human friend Christopher Robin has also disappeared, leaving a curious note behind. Where has Christopher gone? Does it have anything to do with Eeyore’s missing tail? And who or what is a “Backson?”

The film, which is based off of three Pooh stories written by creator A.A. Milne, doesn’t try hard to reinvent the wheel. The characters are not rebooted or remade for the new generation. Its sole purpose is to tell an entertaining, by the book story about Winnie the Pooh and accomplishes this task with flying colors.

The head writer, Burny Mattinson, crafts a script and story that feels both nostalgic and timeless at the same time. If you have seen one Pooh cartoon you have seen them all and this movie is no exception. Despite this fact, there is something inherently genuine about the movie that just wins you over. The movie also wins bonus points for including a life lesson that doesn’t feel ham-fisted. The characters also spot on and just like you remember them. Loveable and huggable Pooh still searches for honey, Tigger still bounces around with energy, and Eeyore still is a “Debbie Downer.”

The animation is also top notch. I am as much of a fan of the Pixar movies as the next guy, but I’ve always been a fan of the hand-drawn animated cartoon and nothing looks better on the big screen than the art style portrayed in Pooh films. It is whimsical and a sight to behold.

I especially liked the soundtrack to the cartoon, which features a couple of new Pooh-centric songs written and sung by the musical group She and Him. Lead singer Zoey Deschanel’s voice really works well with the score. She even provides her own take on the Pooh theme “A Very Important Thing to Do,” a treat for any viewer who happens to like Pooh and Deschanel.

I would have to say the only downside to a Pooh movie is that it is a Pooh movie. The movie is geared towards children so it is very bland and vanilla. Plus, since it is a by the books Pooh story, it could feel slightly monotonous. The film’s length, all 69 minutes of it, is also a tad light and might not be worth a movie ticket. However, if you are in need of a movie for your little ones, one can hardly argue that Pooh is the right choice for them.

Winnie the Pooh is everything that a Pooh fan ask for. The story and script is faithful to the characters and provides a great message to younger fans. It is sure to melt even the coldest of cold souls.

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