Movie # 64: "Winnie the Pooh" (2011)
"Winnie the Pooh" is adorable and sweet and, miraculously, completely and utterly unironic, unsarcastic, and unhip (ie, it's not the bad sort of hip; more on this in a bit). It features terrific character animation by such Disney legends as Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, and Mark Henn and some cute songs by Zooey Deschanel and -heh- one of the songwriting minds behind "Avenue Q" and "The Book of Mormon". The animation is digital (using the ToonBoom software) but beautifully simulates the look of the beloved "Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" from back in the late 70's and the use of straight-up CGI is kept to the very barest minimum.
And "Winnie the Pooh" is also very definitely for young children (and their attendant adults of course). And it is short. Really, REALLY short. Like, barely qualifying as a theatrical-length film short. Like, were it not for the prologue and opening credits, it'd just make it to one hour short. That short.
Now, as we have seen, short animated films are not a bad thing, especially because they tend to be tight as heck and leave little room to screw things up. So every minute in "Winnie the Pooh" is dedicated to fun character moments and furthering the refreshingly basic plot (Pooh is hungry, he and the gang get caught up in searching for Eeyore's tail, a note left by Christopher Robin gets misinterpreted and this sparks another adventure, etc.)
And I probably don't even have to explain why an animated film for children that does not include any instances whatsoever of gross-out humor, sexual innuendos, cute animals singing catchy songs with horribly inappropriate lyrics, cute animals begging to eat at Chain Restaurant You Must Beg Your Parents To Take You To After The Movie, coprophagy, or Happy Madison alumnae is a freaking Godsend. (Side Note: You used to not have to worry about these things so much but we live in strange times.)
If there is anything negative I have to say about "Winnie the Pooh" it is that it is not *quite* as good as "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". (In particular, the Backson song ain't got nothin' on the Hephalumps and Woozles number.) It more closely recalls a particularly lavish episode of the Saturday morning cartoon. It is however much closer to the original Disney Pooh shorts and anthology film, and the way the characters get to play with the text again is wonderful.
There is also a fantastic gag involving Owl, Piglet, and a pit trap that is way too fun to spoil here and appears as though it was written just for kids who think the way I did at that age (and still do, of course).
For more posts in this ongoing series, go here, or click the Chronological Disney Animated Canon tag below.
Picture of the Day!
I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween. In lieu of a drawing, I bring you this lovely autumn market scene: