Animated Movies, Disney, Reviews

Disney Canon Countdown 51: ‘Winnie the Pooh’

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It’s tough being a preschool aged child at the cinema these days. It may seem surprising to hear but, in reality, few films are made for very small children. In the attempt to craft the ‘family film,’ studios usually target an older child and hope the little ones will be moderately entertained along the way. This is why every Pixar movie – from Brave to The Good Dinosaur – I’ve taken my nieces to, one of them has had to leave the theater because of a scary or intense moment. It is for this reason that I really appreciate the 2011 film, Winnie the Pooh. It is carefully made for little ones, and I wish we would get more films like it these days.

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Based on the A.A. Milne short stories, Winnie the Pooh has many winks to the 1977 classic, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh , while still doing it’s own thing and having its own style. For example, the title song is similar but with a folksy cover of the song by Zooey Deschanel that was a charming new take on it:

Much like the original film, this new take is episodic in feel and is only 63 minutes long, which is perfect for a small child with a shorter attention span. The first part is about Eeyore looking for his tail and trying on a bunch of replacements. This is very cute:

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Then, the team becomes worried when Christopher Robin writes, “Gon Out Bizy Back Soon.” They think there is a scary creature called a “backson” out to get them. This is not quite the number of “Heffalumps and Woozles” but I love the animation and creativity on display.

Meanwhile, in other goings-on, Eeyore learns how to be a Tigger and Pooh dreams of being in the honey tree. The gang eventually sets a trap for the Backson and get caught in the pit themselves. Then, they get rescued by letters that fall into the pit from the book which was a nice nod to breaking the fourth wall, a hallmark of the films.

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Winnie the Pooh has a special place in many animation addicts’ hearts as it is likely to be the last 2D animated film we get from Walt Disney Animated Studios for some time. Indeed the animation is lovely (except for I always feel like there is something wonky about Christopher Robin’s eyes).

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Aside from Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, I think the voice casting is off. This stuck out to me more on this rewatch, for some reason, than it originally did. There’s just something about the voices of Tom Kenny, Craig Ferguson, Bud Luckey, and Travis Oates that doesn’t fit for the lead roles.

I admit Winnie the Pooh wasn’t really made for me but I can appreciate a film made with TLC outside of my target demographic. I think that is actually a good thing. I still find it a charming and enjoyable film especially if I get to see it with little ones. It teaches them a nice lesson and gives them a few new songs to hum along the way.

What do you think of Winnie the Pooh?

Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden

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About Rachel Wagner

Rachel is a rottentomatoes approved film critic and podcaster. She loves all things animation and does a monthly podcast on classic Disney films and on obscure animation at Rachel's Reviews. She also is the founder and lead host of The Hallmarkies Podcast. She grew up with mainstream classics like The Little Mermaid and The Simpsons but also loves indie and anime fare like Song of the Sea and Your Name. Most important to her is discussing all kinds of film and TV shows with her friends and all of you. Follow Rachel on twitter at @rachel_reviews and on her blog rachelsreviews.net