July 24, 2011

Movie Review: Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Let me be right up front with this, I do not have kids, nor do I have any particular attachment to the characters. On top of that, it is fairly clear that I am most decidedly not a part of the target audience for this movie. So, many are left scratching their heads as to why I went to see it. Well, the easy answer is that I love movies, but then again, that love has is limits. Let's say I thought the commercials looked cute and I felt compelled to support the old school feel that it brings to theaters,

It seems that whenever it comes to adapting a known property to the big screen there is a drive to modernize it or somehow bring it into the real world. You need look, no further than the upcoming Smurfs movie. For some reason they thought it was a good idea to bring them into present day New York. Why? I have no idea but it was no a good one. We need to see the Smurfs in the Smurfs village. Maybe I am wrong and they made something good, but I doubt it.

Back to the movie at hand. Winnie the Pooh has returned to the big screen and they have kept the look and feel of the classic Disney adaptations from the 1960's and 1970's. We do not get a new, hip Pooh or a wisecracking skateboarding Tigger. This is a thoughtfully made film using traditional cell animation and with a voice cast that approximates the voices we are familiar with.

This movie is of little consequence in the big picture of things, but on a smaller scale it is a delightful little movie aimed squarely at the children, or those who are young at heart. As I sat there I could not help but think of simpler times. The movie is brief, failing to even reach seventy minutes, but it uses it's time well.

There are a couple of stories flowing into each other. There is Pooh's never ending desire to consume honey leads into a search for Eeyore's lost tale which flows into the search for a creature called the Backson, believed to have abducted Christopher Robin. There is not a lot of time spent on each story, but the flow together nicely and tell a collective story of friendship and selflessness.

The animation is nicely rendered in a classic fashion. The story is told in clever fashion, gently narrated by John Cleese and in an interactive fashion as Pooh will converse with the narrator, not only that but we see Pooh wander right out of the story and literally onto the words of the story being told.

This is a sweet, innocent movie with a good message. Winnie the Pooh does not have a cynical one in it's body. It is a classically styled film that an appeal to the young and old. Despite it no having any sly or clear nods for the adults, there is nothing wrong with feeling like a little kid once in awhile think of it as a true escape from the troubles that surround us on a daily basis.

Seriously, this is a movie that we should support. It resisted the modernization trend that infects adaptations of late and made a nice, gentle movie that is a simple joy.

Highly Recommended.

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