Winnie the Pooh
dir Stephen Anderson, Don Hall
prd Peter Del Vecho, Clark Spencer
scr Stephen Anderson, Clio Chiang, Don Dougherty, Don Hall, Kendelle Hoyer, Brian Kesinger, Nicole Mitchell, Jeremy Spears
voices John Cleese, Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny, Bud Luckey, Travis Oates, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Jack Boulter, Wyatt Hall, Huell Howser, Zooey Deschanel
release UK 15.Apr.11, US 15.Jul.11
11/US Disney 1h09
Winnie the Pooh
Honey, honey: Pooh and friends

cleese ferguson deschanel
Showing with:
The Ballad of Nessie (2011)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Winnie the Pooh Disney animators return to AA Milne for another adventure for this memorable menagerie of fluffy toys. While it's very cute, there's not really much here for anyone over the age of 5.

As the narrator (Cleese) informs us, something important is going to happen today in the Hundred Acre Wood. But for Pooh (Cummings), morning dawns with a tummy rumble. In search of honey, he discovers a note from Christopher Robin (Boulter) that is misunderstood by everyone. Owl (Ferguson) spins a tale about a menacing creature called the Backson, which Rabbit (Kenny) devises a plan to catch. Everyone pitches in, including goofy Tigger (Cummings again), timid Piglet (Oates), helpful Kanga and Roo (Anderson-Lopez and Hall) and gloomy Eeyore (Luckey), whose missing tail sparked the whole panic.

Despite a rather tacked-on moral about putting your friends' needs before your own, there isn't much to this cheerful little film. It's so deliberately made for very young viewers that there's no subtext at all. The plot meanders with lively diversions, and the characters are cheeky and sometimes very funny. It's endearing but never particularly interesting. And the songs (including a couple sung by Deschanel) are repetitive and obvious.

That said, fans will love having these characters back on the big screen. And the animators have done a superb job retaining the look of the classic cartoons while adding some gorgeous touches through a sharp attention to detail, lushly hand-painted backgrounds and some eye-catching digital sequences. In other words, it's extremely old-fashioned in its approach, yet it still manages to look fresh.

Whether young children who are more used to animated action will be patient enough for this gentle ditty is anyone's guess. Certainly, grown-ups will feel restless, as the film's simplistic story and pace leave us yearning for something to connect with. Some witty visual touches help, as the characters exist literally on the storybook page (a bit of a mixed metaphor since they're also seen as stuffed animals in the live-action framing scenes). And the nostalgia factor makes it personally engaging, as does the fact that this movie looks like nothing else in the cinemas.

cert u some themes 5.Mar.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall