That willy-nilly, silly old bear Winnie the Pooh (2011) is back in a brand new animated adventure from Disney, this time boasting a great voice cast including Jim Cummings (voicing both Pooh and Tigger), John Cleese and a rather funky soundtrack from indie actor/singer, Zooey Deschanel.
We join Pooh Bear (Cummings) and friends in the Hundred Acre Wood at a time when disaster has struck- poor old Eeyore who has lost his tail! All the inhabitants of the wood go in search of the tail and along the way they discover that Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter) has been kidnapped by the dreaded ‘Backson’ monster. Pooh in his infinite wisdom, bravely decides that they must find the monster, rescue Christopher Robin and perhaps pick up a smackerel of a little something along the way.
This new Winnie the Pooh possesses a fantastic magic that will instinctively remind adults of older Disney films of their youth such as The Sword in the Stone (1963) or Robin Hood (1973). It also has the potential to demonstrate that lost charm Disney once had that beguiled past generations to the younger audiences of today. The animation has been beautifully rendered with hand drawn backgrounds and a pleasing illustrative quality to the characters.
Directors Stephen Anderson and Don Hall have opted for what you used to expect from a Disney film, namely an innocence and childlike dreaminess that pulls you back in time to when your parents read the A. A. Milne classics to you at bedtime. There is a definite bookish quality to this film where the characters literally hop from page to page playing with the words.
It is precisely this referencing to the original texts that gives this film its strength. The film opens with a live action introduction where the traditional stuffed toys are placed around Robin’s bedroom, and then John Cleese’s wonderfully British accent begins. Disney clearly learnt that by allowing the stories to retain their British quality rather than Americanising them would only be for the better.
Further flashbacks to the Disney of yester-year can be found in what can only be described as psychedelic music scenes, particular when then are on the hunt for the Backson creature where the animation takes on a child-like naivety swamped in bright colours.
The humour of the film is genuinely entertaining, especially when Piglet gets in knots about “not’s.” This word play, which is part of the joy of the original books, may not appeal to the films immediate audience but will certainly make adults chuckle.
There is just something amazingly kitsch about this film that makes you wonder why Disney doesn’t make more like this. This new animation can only be described as a charming and pleasurable; forget Cars 2 (2011) or that high tech stuff from Pixar this old school animation is a nostalgic delight that it will appeal to children and adults alike.
Make sure you enter our Winnie the Pooh competition, where we have 3 DVD copies of the film to give away. Follow this link for more details.