Rumble in the tummy – For every hi-tech animated kid’s film that has come out recently, this one is for you. Contrary to popular opinion, not every project requires a ridiculous budget and seamless CGI animation. So, to see Disney Animation take their beloved “Winnie the Pooh” series and give it this fresh yet retro active look is pretty neat. Sure, it may not earn what “Cars 2” has this year, but I bet just as many kids and parents will go see it, as stories like the one here just don’t come around as much as they should. 

As the story goes…Once upon a time in the famed ‘Hundred Acre Wood,’ there was a bear dubbed ‘Winnie the Pooh’ or as his friends liked to call him, ‘Pooh Bear.’ Pooh was not your ordinary bear, though, as he preferred playing and eating honey rather than hunting down his next meal. So, naturally when Pooh wakes up and discovers he is plum out of honey, he and his tummy begin to make some noise. Upon searching for some honey to borrow or eat, Pooh runs into Eeyore who was down on his luck. Turns out Eeyore lost his tail and just didn’t feel like himself without it. It was then Pooh went to his other friends in the ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ to hold a contest to find Eeyore’s tail. The winner would get a big pot of honey, which for Pooh, was all he needed to hear. Meanwhile, Christopher Robin leaves a note on his door stating he was “bizy” and he would be back soon, so naturally when Pooh finds this note, he brings it to Owl for clarification. But, when Owl relays the message from the note to all the friends improperly, panic set in resulting in a host of misunderstandings that would turn ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ on its head. 

Hidden faces – With any ordinary animation, there is always someone behind the character you are watching. If you’re like me, this sometimes causes you to wonder “who is that voice?” when watching. That was especially true in this case where unless you’re a wizard, would be hard pressed to figure out the star behind the voice; because outside of Craig Ferguson playing the voice of Owl, the cast behind this story of characters is a mix and match of unknowns at best. That doesn’t mean they failed to perform, it just means for the film it was, the stars involved didn’t matter all that much. So, no offense to Jim Cummings, Tom Kenny, Craig Ferguson, Travis Oates and Bud Luckey, but no one really knows who you are, but we appreciate the good work you put in as neither my 5-year-old son or myself had issue with the voices behind Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Piglet and Eeyore.  

An oldie but goodie – As easy as it could be to bash this film for not having “enough” of this or that, I simply can’t because it hits home in the one way that matters the most, heart. Yeah it’s silly and it’s the same old routine for the animals most of us have grown up with, but who cares. It’s almost a breath of fresh air to see Pooh and Tigger stumble around the ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ in this manner. And what I liked the most is how they integrated the book’s words and letters into the actual movie, like when Pooh used the physical letters from the storybook to make a ladder; or even when Pooh would scamper across the top of the sentences from one page to the next. That’s smart and for kids, a great way for them to see letters being used in a different manner than what they are accustomed to. Call it childish if you want, but to me it was right on par with what made these stories so popular back in the late 70’s. Taking advantage of CGI in this manner was brilliant in my opinion and clearly a good decision by the production team.

Bottom Line – Whether or not you subscribe to the unwritten theory that technology can be used in a variety of unique ways, “Winnie the Pooh” offers up a great story for kids of all ages. It may look like something you have seen before, but the way it is presented within its tidy 69-minute running time is like nothing I have seen in awhile, making it a perfect film to take in with the kids. 

A

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