Ryan K. (NDD#137) (41 Posts)

Ryan began his love of Disney at a young age, when he went to EPCOT Center the week it opened. His picture showed up in Southern Living Magazine from that trip, and he was hooked. Ryan began his love of Disney films when he attended a showing of The Lion King with his wife, Sally. From there, he went back and began watching all the Disney movies. Since then he’s taken on the challenge of watching all of the Disney shorts and films in order, over on DisneyFilmProject.com. Since then, the site has expanded to the weekly Disney Film Project Podcast and Tweetwatches! Ryan lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife and two kids, and makes frequent trips to Walt Disney World for fun and frivolity.

Winnie the Pooh had to go up against Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 when it was released.  This is unfair.  I have to get that out of the way, because I imagine that many of you will not have seen the film by the time you read the review.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is having difficulties with their films reaching the audience, can we agree on that?  Since John Lasseter and the Pixar crew came over, the in-house animation arm of Disney has produced some films that would rank up there with the best of the Second Golden Age, only to find them fall flat with audiences because of release dates and marketing issues.  Pooh has been no exception, getting crushed by Potter.

With this film especially, that is a crying shame.  Winnie the Pooh is a return to the Hundred Acre Wood by Disney’s core group of animators.  Mark Henn, Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja – these may not be names you now, but you should.  Unlike the direct to DVD sequels or the cheap TV style animated films that have dominated Pooh product recently, this is a real sequel to 1977’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

The thing that struck me about this while I was watching, though, was how exceedingly funny it was.  The entirety of the film is laugh out loud funny for kids and adults.  This is the sort of thing you would expect from a Pixar film or even a Dreamworks film, but in Winnie the Pooh, Disney manages to make a film that can be hilarious for adults without using suggestive humor or entendres.  That’s very difficult to do, but it’s brilliant in this movie.

There’s no grand message or revealing story in this movie, instead it’s like the Seinfeld of films.  Nothing happens of much consequence throughout, but that’s sort of the point.  The filmmakers drop us into the world of the Hundred Acre Wood and allow us to stay there and enjoy ourselves.  We live in that world and its ethos for around 70 minutes, and it’s fantastically fun.

This is a world where the stresses we all face day-to-day do not exist.  It’s a world where the major issues of the day are not debt ceilings, phone hacking or unpaid bills, but lost tails, where to find honey, and imaginations run wild.  The characters don’t have to grow or adapt, because they are as familiar as a warm bed or a comfy shoe.  We know them, and, by knowing them, we can settle into this world easily and without regret.

Each of the characters has been updated in some small way to be more contemporary, either with their voice or their look, but they still remain timeless.  Craig Ferguson as Owl is perfect, and the combination of Goldberg animating Rabbit along with Tom Kenny’s voice is sheer genius.  Everything works in this film, from the little details to the big overarching story.  It stands out as a work of charm and heart in a summer full of dark and ominous.

Contributed by: Ryan Kilpatrick (NDD#137) Ryan is the DDL Film Blogger. He is also the creator of Disney Film Project.

4 thoughts on “WINNIE THE POOH

  1. My 2 boys ages 4 and 2 sat through this movie only opening their mouths to giggle. This is the kind of quality family movie that I would hope Disney will keep putting put!

  2. We brought our kids to see the movie and they loved it (as did we).  Unfortunately, the theater was nearly empty.  Only 12 people there in all!  When it was over, most walked out during the credits sequence.  Luckily, my wife had heard that there was something special at the end so we waited it out.  (This isn’t too hard since Pooh and company frequently come out and interact with the closing credits.)  The bonus at the end was well worth sitting there a few minutes more.  We’ll definitely be buying the DVD of this when it comes out so the boys can enjoy it again and again!

  3. LOL – looks like my husband came to comment first. As he mentioned, we picked seeing Winnie the Pooh on opening weekend. I am still waiting to see Harry Potter (perhaps this weekend). Although the movie was on the short side, it was great for all ages. Loved Eeyore and his sense of humor and other things for older members of the audience. 

  4. This film is one of the best I’ve seen this year. You’re absolutely right–it’s hysterical. Not many movies make me laugh out loud, but this one sure did. In fact, there were so many moments where we were laughing so much we didn’t catch the other gags in the scene. Definitely makes it worth seeing several times.
    The studios did this film a huge disservice releasing it when they did. Perhaps it should be re-released at a better time, although I don’t know when that would be. Christmas?

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