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Movie Review: Winnie the Pooh

July 15, 2011

Winnie the Pooh – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

Release Date: July 15th, 2011

Rated G

Running time: 63 minutes

Stephen J. Anderson (dir.)

Don Hall (dir.)

Stephen J. Anderson (story)

Don Hall (story)

Based on the characters and stories of A.A. Milne

Henry Jackman (music)

John Cleese as Narrator (voice)

Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh / Tigger (voice)

Bud Luckey as Eeyore (voice)

Craig Ferguson as Owl (voice)

Jack Boulter as Christopher Robin (voice)

Travis Oates as Piglet (voice)

Kristen Anderson-Lopez as Kanga (voice)

Wyatt Dean Hall as Roo (voice)

Tom Kenny as Rabbit (voice)

Huell Howser as Backson (voice)

©Walt Disney Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Tigger (Jim Cummings), Kanga (Kristen Anderson-Lopez), Roo (Wyatt Dean Hall), Owl (Craig Ferguson), Rabbit (Tom Kenny), Eeyore (Bud Luckey) and most of all Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) in Winnie the Pooh.

Our reviews below:


Winnie the Pooh Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

The adventures of Christopher Robin’s beloved stuffed toys have delighted many over the years, and Walt Disney Pictures have restored them to their original glory with this wonderful new big screen outing.  Our story starts with the lovable Winnie the Pooh (voice of Jim Cummings) searching the Hundred Acre Wood for a pot of hunny.  On his search for a small taste of something sweet, he spends time with his unforgettable friends, Tigger (also Cummings), Owl (Craig Ferguson) and Rabbit (Tom Kenny) as well as Kanga (Kristen Anderson-Lopez) and little Roo (Wyatt Dean Hall).

This time they are all on a search to find a new “tael” for their friend Eeyore (Bud Luckey), who seems to have misplaced the strip of fabric usually nailed to his rear end.  But even these unselfless acts don’t seem to be lifting the spirits of the depressed donkey.  This really is an animated film that those of any age can enjoy, but adults will revel in the refreshing 2D look of the film.  The hand drawn animation here is beautiful, never relying on special effects or the cheap novelty of 3D.  One particularly memorable sequence is when Pooh has a psychedelic dream about an oversized pot of hunny.

Some big laughs are provided as the characters literally walk across the page and interact with the narrator (John Cleese), in some of the film’s most brilliant sequences.  Another delight for older audiences are the original and classic songs sung by the indispensable actress and jazzy pop singer, Zooey Deschanel.  I just love the sound of her voice, and she brings a delightfully playful and classy sound to the opening introductory song, as well as to the moments when music is used to carry along the story.  Deschanel also sings a wonderful original song titled “So Long” over the inventive end credits, and it closes the film on a nostalgic and even mature note.

Winnie the Pooh is short at only 63-minutes, and the plot is simple and easy to follow for even the youngest of kids.  But the unique and memorable characters are always a joy to watch, as the film lovingly retains the same spirit as the original stories by A.A. Milne.  Whether you’re new to the bear of very little brain or simply an adult looking for a trip down memory lane, there’s more than enough here to consistently make Winnie the Pooh a genuine delight for those of all ages.  The only unfortunate part of seeing the film in theatres, is that pots of hunny are not sold at the concession stand.

Before Winnie the Pooh, we get the delightful new animated Disney short film, The Ballad of Nessie.  Following a lovable loch ness monster and her rubber duck McQuack, we watch her story unfold with wonderful rhyming narration as she is misplaced from her home and must find a new pond.


Winnie the Pooh Review by Erin V.  

***1/2 (out of 4)

Winnie The Pooh will be enjoyed by adults on a purely nostalgic level, while a new generation can be introduced to the world of the Hundred Acre Wood.

In this story, Eeyore loses his ‘tael’ and they have a contest to try to find a new one.  The prize is a pot of hunny – just what Pooh is looking for.  On top of that, they believe Christopher Robin has gone missing after they find a note which is inevitably mis-read by Owl.  Although completely predictable, I had fun and there is enough story to keep kids (and their parents) going for just over an hour.

I felt the film to be a bit slow-moving earlier on, but then picked up nicely towards the middle and end.  John Cleese’s narration is good, and as always I love the constant reminders that we are ‘reading’ a book.  The letters on the page provide for some very funny moments.

When the film first started, it did take me a few minutes to get used to some of the new voices, considering the old ones were engrained in my memory from when I was younger.  Eeyore talks slightly faster, (voiced this time around by Bud Luckey), which was the first thing I noticed, and all of the others sound slightly different as well.  Except for Pooh himself, who is voiced by Jim Cummings who’s been doing the voice since the late ‘80’s.  Cummings has voiced Eeyore as well at least once in the past, but this time it’s Tigger that he also voices as he’s done since The Tigger Movie in 2000.  Still, all the voice cast do fine jobs once your ears adjust to the slightly different inflections for the characters – something only the older members of the audience will even notice.

The short film that plays beforehand, The Ballad of Nessie, is cute – I really liked Nessie’s wee duck ‘McQuack’ in particular – and fits with the animation style of Pooh (2D, of course).  The whole program’s running length – film and short – is only 70 minutes, but that’s just right for the youngest members of the audience.  Be sure to stay right through the credits though if you can, because there is some amusing stuff throughout…plus a final post-credits scene that provides a good laugh.


Winnie the Pooh Review by Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Winnie the Pooh and his friends are back in yet another charming adventure.  This tale is about a tail, that is Eeyore’s “tael.”  It has gone missing, and Owl is issuing an award to anyone who finds Eeyore a new tail.  The stuffed animals all try to replace the missing plush appendage, only to come across a mysterious note regarding Christopher Robin and a “Backson.”  Now the toys not only are looking for a tail, but the “Backson” as well which they believe has kidnapped Christopher Robin.

Winnie the Pooh takes us on a delightful, innocent and nostalgic journey down memory lane.  Inspired by A.A. Milne’s clasic books, (in particular, chapter 4 of Winnie the Pooh), this film keeps the same format as the original’s.  It has the same charming narration, this time by John Cleese as well as the book text that Pooh and his literary friends interact with.  The live action opening in Christopher Robin’s room is just like the original.  Unlike in the 1980’s cartoons, he also has a charming English accent.  The entirely hand drawn 2D animation is a welcome departure from the cheap, garish CGI Pooh series that Disney has come out with in recent years.  Unlike most children’s entertainment, Winnie the Pooh maintains a classic and low-key feel throughout the entire film.

The music here is also excellent.  Along with the Sherman Brother’s classic theme, this one also contains many new songs written in their classic style.  Sung by the Pooh gang and Zooey Deschanel, these memorable songs complete the relaxed 1940’s feel of Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh will appeal to both fans of the original, as well as a whole new generation of fans.  This is one movie that everyone from preschoolers to centenarians are sure to enjoy.  Be sure to stay through the end credits to see a quirky surprise epilogue.

Written in the style of beloved children’s writers such as Dr. Seuss, The Ballad of Nessie brings back memories of Disney classics.  Nessie is a happy aquatic reptile, living peacefully in a Scottish pond with her rubber duck.  But when a greedy developer turns her pond into a mini-putt golf course, she must find a new home.  This short film is animated in the style of Disney classics, with a charming score by Michael Giacchino.


Winnie the Pooh Review by Maureen

**** (out of 4)

Back in the Hundred Acre Wood, where Christopher Robin plays we’re treated to a delightfully charming visit with Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the stuff and fluff animals.  The folks at Disney have managed to keep all the charm and simplicity of the original stories in this latest 63-minute film.

Winnie the Pooh opens in classic fashion with the narrator (John Cleese) reading from A.A. Milne’s book and talking to Pooh (Jim Cummings).  As always, the printed words from the book are as much a character and part of the story as the animals, Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and little Roo.  Pooh is still a bear of very little brain with a constant craving for hunny.  The gang’s all focused on finding a new “tael” for Eeyore and the scary Backson’s got them all worried.  The closing credits feature a delightful glimpse of the scary creature.

The 2D animation is perfect without a hint of CGI.  This Winnie the Pooh looks, feels and sounds like a classic.  The songs include the original tunes as well as some new ones written and sung by Zooey Deschanel.  Her voice works wonderfully for this sweet little movie.

As a longtime fan of classic Winnie the Pooh, I’m happy to say that this movie had me smiling from start to finish.  That also includes the The Ballad of Nessie that plays before the movie.  Make sure to stay through the end credits.  At only 70-minutes even kids with really short attention spans can make it through to the end.  Winnie the Pooh is a honey of a treat for viewers of all ages.


Winnie the Pooh Review by Tony

*** (out of 4)

Winnie the Pooh was first produced as a Disney feature film in 1966, followed over the years by several other features, the last one in 2005, as well as numerous videos and TV series. The newest film begins in the usual way, panning a real bedroom set full of vintage toys under narration from John Cleese leading to the opening of the book with its animated drawings. What is clever this time is that the book’s pages return from time to time with the text becoming part of the action, and in the closing credits we see shots of the bedroom toys re-enacting the action of the film, followed by animated characters moving among the names (using the same typeface throughout), and finally a nice bonus for the handful of patrons who have stayed to the end.

The animated images are better than ever, and the new generation of voice actors is close enough to the original ones, with Jim Cummings as Winnie and Tigger, Craig Ferguson as Owl, Tom Kenny as Rabbit, Bud Luckey as Eeyore, and Travis Oates as Piglet. Added to the original Sherman Brothers theme song sung by Zooey Deschanel are several new songs by her and the Lopez partners. The story lines of Pooh’s constant search for honey, a tail for Eeyore, and a creature called the “Backson” are simple enough for children and amusing enough for the rest of us. The running time of 63 minutes (including about 10 minutes of credits) after the six-minute Nessie short is a good length for little kids (compared to Cars 2 for example). A welcome addition to the franchise.

Preceding Winnie the Pooh is The Ballad of Nessie, a charming animated short with Billy Connolly narrating in Dr. Seuss-style verse the story of the friendly Loch Ness monster and her wee rubber duck McQuack amid the challenges of habitat depletion.


Consensus: With beautiful 2D animation bringing the beloved characters of the Hundred Acre Wood back to life in their original glory, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh is sweet as hunny and a genuine delight for those of all ages.  Arrive early and don’t miss the charming short film, The Ballad of Nessie***1/2 (Out of 4)

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