Vault Disney

Vault Disney #51 – Winnie the Pooh

Original Release: April 15, 2011

Runtime: 73 Minutes

Directed By: Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall

Notable Actors: Jim Cummings, Jack Boulter, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey and Tom Kenny

Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, where Christopher Robin plays, you’ll find a character who has become something of a life affirming guide for me. If you haven’t read my post for the original Winnie the Pooh, you can do so HERE. And you really should, because I talk a lot there about the history of Winnie the Pooh and his relationship with Disney and I won’t really be re-covering that here. This is a short film and thus, this will be a short article. Yet, the facts remain very much the same from my original Winnie the Pooh outing. Pooh is fantastic and this film, with all its simplicity and lack of action or big drama, still manages to be absolutely wonderful.

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Oh bother.

Winnie the Pooh feels a bit like an absurdest play at times. None of the characters understand each other and they often forget what they are or what they can do. Owl forgets that he can fly at one point and then, when he does fly, goes right back to being in a pit and needing help. The entire premise of the film is that Christopher Robin has been captured by the terrible Backsun and must be saved. However, this only happens because his note “Be Back Soon,” is misinterpreted by Owl. The story is a farce, completely ridiculous because there is no Backsun to be caught in the first place. In any other world or story, this would be a slog, feeling boring and pointless, yet the characters of Winnie the Pooh are so full of charm that it manages to work.

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NOT AGAIN!

I’m going to level with you here. Pooh is fantastic in this film, but the real star here is Eeyore. In a quest to find his tail, Eeyore is given everything from a spring to a clock for a new tail and must deal with all of these. The thing I love about Eeyore is that for all his sadness and depression, he accepts whatever tail he is given. He’s so miserable yet when someone puts a cuckoo clock on his butt, he finds the best in it. This is not even mentioning that his polar opposite, Tigger, decides to turn him into Tigger two, affixing him with a spring and painting him with stripes. As this played out, I found myself dying with laughter, because Eeyore, while totally not the better for this situation, just goes along with it. He’s sort of like a cat when children are around. They toss the cat around and the cat just sort of lets it happen.

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Trust me, this is gonna be great…

To better understand what I love about this movie, here is an excerpt from the script that had me laughing out loud the whole time.

Owl:  All right. Yes, well, the thing to do is as follows: First, issue a reward to the…
Pooh:  Gesundheit.
Owl:  I beg your pardon?
Pooh:  Well, you sneezed just as you were going to tell me what the first thing to do was.
Owl:  I didn’t sneeze.
Pooh:  No, you did, Owl.
Owl:  No, I didn’t. You can’t sneeze without knowing it.
Pooh:  Well, you can’t know it without something having been sneezed.
Owl:  [Pause]  As I was saying, first, issue a reward.
Pooh:  [To Eeyore]  He’s doing it again.  You must be catching a cold.
Eeyore:  I’ll probably catch it, too.
Owl:  No, no, no! I’m not catching a cold.  The word is “issue,” not “achoo,” and “achoo” isn’t even a word.  It’s just a sort of sneezy sound like achoo!
Pooh:  Perhaps you should lie down, Owl?
Eeyore:  My throat feels a little scratchy.
Pooh:  Open wide, please.
Eeyore:  Ahh.
Pooh: [Inspecting Eeyore’s mouth] Just as I suspected.  Owl, we need honey.

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Diagnosis: Lack of honey.

The scene plays out like something you might find in great plays like “Waiting for Godot.”  It’s completely absurd and within that absurdity is hilarity.  After all, the entire film is one big misunderstanding after another.  Yet, at the heart of all of this is a story about friendship and kindness.  Tigger just wants to make Eeyore happy and when he can’t, he’s so sad, but Eeyore alleviates the situation by reminding Tigger that “the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is that there is only one.”  Piglet must go into the woods to save his friends, despite being terrified of the Backsun.  Pooh must fight off his hunger to be the better friend.  There’s just so much friggin’ heart in this film, I can barely deal with it.

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I bow before thee oh honey God.

A complaint of this film, of which there are very few, is that it is very short, coming in just over an hour.  Yet, to me, it is the perfect length.  The world of Christopher Robin invites us in to stay a while and contemplate these characters before kindly ushering us out again.  It never feels overlong and not once did I feel bored.  The film is the perfect length, which although short, still manages to encapsulate everything that made the original film so fantastic.

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Aww Piglet, I always knew you liked balloons.

The soundtrack is a lovely mix of calming music and folksy ditties.  A stand-out is Tigger’s “It’s Gonna Be Great,” which is everything you want from a Tigger song.  While none of the songs will win awards, they all fit perfectly with the package and make the film that much more charming.  The animation remains true to form as well and we have the feeling that we are home the second the film begins.

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In the end, all that matters is friendship.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I adored this movie.  Moreover, I adore Winnie the Pooh.  He has come to be one of my favorite characters in all of Disney and the friends he brings with him always leave a huge smile on my face.  This isn’t a tale about epic adventures or thrilling action.  It is a simple movie about friendship and huny, lost tails and Backsuns.  It’s simple yet elegant, strange yet moving.  If you are a Winnie the Pooh fan, this is everything you hope from a new tale from the Hundred Acre Wood and just like its predecessor, the dialogue begs to be listened to again and again.  As our last 2D film in this series, it leaves me with a sense of warmth and love that only a film like this can.

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Happiest. Day. Ever.

Next Up:  Wreck-It Ralph 

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NOTE:  Obviously all the photos are courtesy of Disney Entertainment and I would never in a million years claim them as my own.  That being said, all are actually taken with my phone during our viewing in order to capture the moment in a slightly different way than originally intended.

ALSO:  My Fiancee has a blog too and he is talking about all the classics we are currently watching, which involves more than just Disney.  Head over HERE and check it out!

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4 replies »

  1. Ok, this is one of those films that I really really dislike! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Winnie-the-Pooh franchise generally and I think ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ was an amazing film!

    But, I really really dislike this film! The main reason why I dislike it is that I feel they copied many elements from the 1997 direct-to-video film, ‘Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin’ into this one. The whole plot point of the characters thinking something’s happened to Christopher Robin to going out to find him to even the song they sing about the monster that they believed kidnapped Christopher Robin! It all just seems to be stolen from that previous Pooh movie which I felt did it much better.

    I loved Pooh’s Grand Adventure and thought it was incredibly emotional as well as had great memorable songs. The songs in this film I don’t think are memorable at all.

    I also feel that the characters of Owl and Rabbit seem somewhat similar in this film rather than previous Pooh adaptations.

    In the end, I really don’t like this film. Maybe if I hadn’t seen Pooh’s Grand Adventure or hadn’t grown up with it before seeing this film, I might have liked it better. But as of now, I’m not a fan of this at all!

      • Maybe so, but the similarities to the plots of both were quite apparent: in both, Christopher Robin is deemed missing, in both, a sort of scary creature/place is said to have him and a song is sung about it, and in both, the characters go on a quest to save Christopher Robin.

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