"Winnie the Pooh"
Review by: Doug Nau
Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson
Produced by: Peter Del Vecho
Written by: Stephen Anderson
Based on the books by: A.A. Milne
Narrated by: John Cleese
Starring: Jim Cummings
Wyatt Dean Hall
Songs by: Robert Lopez (Music)
Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Lyrics)
Score Composed by: Henry Jackman
Inspired by the A.A Milne stories, it's business as usual in the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh wakes up absolutely famished and he happens to have no honey. So that sets him out on his journey, which is ultimately derailed-first by a contest to find Eeyore a new tail.Pooh later finds a note from Christopher Robin that reads: "Gone out. Busy. Back soon." But then Owl misinterprets the note, proclaiming that the boy has been captured by a creature called a "Backson." Soon, the whole gang is on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from the imaginary culprit. It turns out to be a very busy day for a bear who simply hoped to find some honey. (Disney)
Disney's fifthy Winnie the Pooh theatrical release since Pooh's Heffalump Movie and the second to be developed by Walt Disney Animation Studios since the original 1977 film in over 35 years. The story is very well told with much like the first film, it opens in Christopher Robin's room with his toys and is told from a book which plays a big role in the film as the characters interact with the letters in the pooh when they sometimes walk out of the picture as well as the narrator John Cleese. I thought they've woven the stories seamlessly with each other instead of form of three separate stories in a package film like the first film. I don't see this in anyway a follow up to the original which is far for unfair to compare the two films but i do think of it as a stand alone piece. Which, Disney did a terrific job for what they set out to do is to create a beautiful film that teaches the valve of friendship to a new generation of kids.
The animation is especially beautifully done and true to the watercolor style of first film. It is so refreshing to see hand-drawn animation in full glory on the big screen. The voice cast all did a terrific job with their roles, Jim Cummings who has voiced both Pooh and Tigger since 1988 return for this film which was smart for Disney to keep him for the two most beloved characters because people of my generation who are familiar with his vocals. The rest of the cast are new and each put their own interpretation and all serve their roles with justice. I especially liked Christopher Robin in this film because he looks more like a child than a teenager in the original film and Jack Boulter gives him a British accent and they going back to its country origin roots from the book into this film unlike the original Christopher Robin is more American. Other voices i liked are, Tom Kenny, Craig Ferguson, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Wyatt Dean Hall.
The score composed by Henry Jackman who adds a sweet and whimsy charm to the fun and mayhem of the film. There's also some familiar cues from the original film can be heard on soundtrack. One track in particular "Main Title Sequence/Winnie the Pooh" plays the same music from the opening sequence in the original film which. My favorite tracks on the soundtrack includes "Pooh Greets the Day","Get You Tiggerized!", "Woods and Words/Backson Tracks", "Picnic and Beehive Chase", "Stuck in the Pit/Baloon Chase", and "A Honey Happy Ending". The Songs written by Broadway composer and lyricist of Avenue Q, and The Book of Mormon Robert Lopez and his wife Kristin Anderson-Lopez are so catchy, witty, and fun for both kids and adults and are every bit as good as the songs from the original film. My Favorite song from the film is "The Tummy Song", "The Backson Song", "It's Gonna be Great", and "Everything is honey". Zooey Deschanel vocal is a perfect fit for this film, she adds a nice mix of sweet when she sings "A Very Important Thing to do. She and gives an acoustic guitar contemporary flare to the new version of the theme song and the end credit song "So Long".
So overall, It's a nostalgic classic that will bring a smile to your face with its charm, and whimsy wit. The stories are very well woven into one stories and the movie isn't formulated into separate stories. While i do agree that the running time is a little short for me and could have been longer even though i know this is meant for little children and kids these days are usually so high-maintenance that they lose interest and become too distracted to sit through a movie, but that is not always the case for some kids as most cartoons in the past prove you can hold a kids attention for the full length. The animation is worth viewing all its glory on the big screen and remains true to the original films watercolor style. The music is also very good and extremely catchy songs and as good as the Sherman brothers have wrote for the original film. I recommend this film to any fans of the Pooh Franchise and the whole family will have a wonderful time at the movie theater.
Disney. "Movie Synopsis". www.disney.go.com. Disney Enterprise, Inc., n.d. Web. 20 July 2012.