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Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Winnie the Pooh
Directors: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall
Writers: Don Hall, Stephen J. Anderson, Clio Chiang, Don Dougherty, Brian Kesinger, Nicole Mitchell, Jeremy Spears, A.A. Milne, Ernest Shepard, Paul Briggs, Chris Ure
Voice Cast: John Cleese, Jim Cummings, Bud Luckey, Craig Ferguson, Jack Boulter, Travis Oates, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Wyatt Dean Hall, Tom Kenny, Huell Howser
Synopsis: During an ordinary day in Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh sets out to find some honey. Misinterpreting a note from Christopher Robin, Pooh convinces Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore that their young friend has been captured by a creature named "Backson" and they set out to save him.
MPAA Rating: G
Silly Old Bear
As we get older, we often find ourselves growing out of a lot of things that used to make us happy as children. Unlike an adult, a child can easily get lost in a time of innocence. A child isn't pressured with the burdens of societies' norms, as they're only held back by the limits of their imagination. That's why I think families will come to love this movie. I know most people will probably dismiss "Winnie the Pooh (2011)" as a Disney film geared exclusively to toddlers. However, it's actually better than you might think.
Sure, the story is simple enough to appease children of all ages, but it's still sensible and witty enough to appeal to adults as well. Reminding us of what it was like to be a child again, as this film touches the heart of the audience to take us back to a time when things were a lot simpler. A time before societies' norms dragged us down from believing that we're only bound by our own imaginations. A simpler time when the only thing that truly mattered was the memories and friends you had, as a child. Wouldn't we all want to relive those days again?
Well, "Winnie the Pooh" may not exactly get much points in terms of innovative story telling, as I doubt we'll be talking about this film again when it comes to Oscar time next year. Sure, it might get nominated for "Best Animated Feature", but I doubt seriously it'll have much of a chance to win. Not when there's films like "Rango" and "Rio" that surpass this movie in every fathomable way. However, within it's own simplicity, "Winnie the Pooh (2011)" is perhaps one of the most entertaining cartoon movies of the year.
I'll admit coming into this movie, I was a tad skeptical on how well it would be, as I thought perhaps this film would end up being another "Care Bears" movie; where you'll love the story as a child, but as an adult, you'll hate every minute of it. However, Disney not only manages to recapture the magic that made it such an innovative animation studio, before the days of Pixar, but it also creates a simplistic heartfelt story that'll touch the inner child in all of us to want to relive those days again....if only for a little while.
Over the years, Winnie the Pooh has been one of the main staple characters for Disney, since they acquired rights to the story in 1961. Spawning various animated TV series, direct to video/DVD specials, to even feature length films. In this latest chapter, Winnie and his friends start off their day like any other, as their story book misadventure is narrated by John Cleese, a man who needs no introduction. As Pooh (Jim Cummings) scours the woods to get more honey, he runs into his long time pal Eeyore (Bud Luckey), who ends up misplacing his tail. At the suggestion of Owl (Craig Ferguson), Pooh and his friends hold a contest to see who can find Eeyore a new tail that he'll be happy with to replace his old one. The prize? One giant pot of honey that definitely piques Pooh's interests quite a bit.
Unfortunately, after several attempts, none of our protagonists are able to find the right tail that suits Eeyore at all. To make matters even more interesting, Pooh later finds a note at the door of Christopher Robin's house saying:
Yes, I know the last few lines are grammatically incorrect, but that's exactly how the letter is written in the film. Of course, poor Pooh can't read the letter, so he asks Owl to decipher it for him. Owl comes to the conclusion that the unthinkable has happened, and their friend, Christopher Robin, has been kidnapped by a mysterious creature known as the "Backson." Needless to say, the events that transpire from here will not only warm the heart of the audience, but it'll definitely offer plenty of good laughs as well.
However, what really stood out to me about this film was the voice acting. Although I don't usually give a lot of credit to voice acting when it comes to animated features, but there are times it does truly make a difference in an animated film. The chemistry between the actors was so perfectly crafted that you couldn't help but fall in love with each of the characters. Hell, even Owl is lovable, and he's basically a straight up jerk throughout most of this movie. However, Craig Ferguson manages to add that little comical twist to the character that makes Owl all too hilarious that you never can bring yourself to hate him; regardless of all the stuff he does to mess with Pooh and his pals.
In the end, I could probably talk about this movie all day, but I wouldn't want to give away too much of the film, as it's only a little over an hour long. Not really a long film, but it's definitely worth watching with your kids, as it's one of those rare family films that both adults and kids will enjoy. Or if you don't have kids, then it's still worth watching if you happen to love old style comedy reminiscent of past Disney animated movies. Definitely worth a three out of four in my book, as "Winnie the Pooh" shows us that you're never too old to enjoy a cartoon like this.