51 Days of Disney (Day 51): Winnie the Pooh

I will go and watch Winnie the Pooh films for the rest of my life if they are all this good, and it is so good precisely because it doesn’t try anything new.

Talking about the story of Winnie the Pooh is kind of defeating, as it is the kind of movie where a lot of things happen, but nothing really happens. Pooh (Jim Cummings), Piglet, Owl (Craig Ferguson, Roddy MacStew from Freakazoid), Rabbit (Tom Kenny, Ice King from Adventure Time), Kanga, Roo, and Christopher Robin set out to find a new tail for Eeyore (Pixar’s Bud Luckey), who lost it again. Owl decides that there should be a contest to get a new tail for the depressed donkey, and everyone sets out to find said tail. Eventually, Christopher Robin goes missing, but leaves a note saying that he will be back soon. Pooh finds it (with the help of the Narrator, voiced by John Cleese) and gives it to Owl, who misreads it and thinks “Back Soon” is “Backson” and that the Backson has taken Christopher Robin naturally gets everyone freaked out. Rabbit decides that they should set a trap for the Backson and get their friend back and of course, it doesn’t work out as well as it should.

Also, Tigger (Jim Cummings yet again) is there doing everything that Tigger usually does, which in this movie involves teaching Eeyore to be another Tigger.

The film is based off of two stories from Winnie-the-Pooh, “In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One” and “In Which Piglet Meets a Huffalump”, and one story from The House at Pooh Corner, “In Which Rabbit has a Busy Day and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings.” The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was very disjointed, which is easy to understand considering that it was three shorts that were put together to make a feature-length film, but Winnie the Pooh merges all three stories into one and the film has a much more coherent feel because of it. The film itself is only 69 minutes long, so it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at all, and it is even bundled with a brand new short called The Ballad of Nessie, which is an adorable short about how the Loch Ness Monster got to Loch Ness after her and her rubber duckie, MacQuack, got upheaved from their previous home for the building of a mini-golf green. The short is narrated by comedian Billy Connoly and has music done by Michael Giacchino.

Everyone has their own favourite Winnie the Pooh character, and my favourite is Owl, and luckily for the Owl fans out there, he has a much larger role in this film than in other Pooh properties.

The movie was made to be exactly like the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, just with a new story. The film has the same level of self-awareness as it’s predecessor, with the narrator talking directly with the characters and the characters interacting with the book itself in some very brilliant ways. When the film went into production, the Walt Disney Animation Studio decided to have some of the senior-most animators and staff work on this project to get it exactly right. The deepness of the insistence on making it exactly like the original movie even went so far as to get the same sketchy nature in the animation. If you look at things like eyebrows or stripes, you willnotice that there is very little consistency in those features.

The backgrounds were done in watercolour to really pound the idea home that they are in a storybook, and the film even opened with a short live action sequence and a new version of the Winnie the Pooh theme song and sequence from the original film. The film was hand-animated except for one sequence that has CG animated honey. As I said earlier, the film is perfect because it is almost exactly like the original film.

The music was done by Henry Jackman, who also did the score for this summer’s X-Men: First Class, and had songs done by Kristen Anderson-Lopez (who was also the voice of Kanga) and Robert Lopez (who co-wrote two very family friendly Broadway musicals called Avenue Q and the Book of Mormon). Some of the songs, including a new version of “Winnie the Pooh” were sung by Zooey Deschanel. The best song in the film, which is also the best part of the film, is the “Backson Song”. It was very fun song that is made even better by the fact that the film switches to a style that very much looks like it was animated on a chalk board. The score is enjoyable, but nothing remarkable. It was very obvious that they were trying to copy the success of Buddy Baker’s original score, which was in turn inspired by the Sherman Brother’s songs for the film, but the score for Winnie the Pooh never quite reaches the same level.

Winnie the Pooh is an amazing film that everyone should see, it’s genuinely hilarious (with Disney actually managing to make a great Raiders of the Lost Ark reference after the second try and a fantastic stream of knot related puns that lasts for a good few minutes). They managed to make a movie that does basically does nothing new, but still feels fresh. They even managed to put a slight spin on the characters, and actually managed to make me like Rabbit by making him completely crazy instead of being just a wet-blanket like he always was. Go see this film as soon as you can.

Also, stay through the incredibly charming credits for a hilarious surprise.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by liz on 17/01/2012 at 7:49 am

    ITS MOOI

    Reply

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