I wanted to go see this in theaters but never did for one reason or another. Why you might not be asking yourselves? Why would a twenty one year old you male want to go see Winnie the Pooh? Because I like animation and am fine with my nostalgia. I loved the old animated Winnie the Pooh, especially the TV series. It was great. I still have the opening/closing imprinted in my brain.
Winnie the Pooh looks great. That’s actually quite important. It is classic 2d animation and more importantly it looks old and by that I mean it looks a lot like the original Winnie the Pooh animations that I remember. It’s possibly a bit cleaner and the colors seem possibly slightly different, but it wasn’t like they went and changed anything to drastically.
The voices were pretty solid overall. Jim Cummings kept Pooh solid and his Tigger was pretty good most of the time. Christopher Robin was different, but not really in a bad way. Rabbit’s voice changed for the worse. I still can’t place it though. I always remember him being a bit whiney and grumpier old man sounding. Craig Ferguson as Owl was completely different as well, but it worked great. It was hard at first though getting the old pervy man from the Late Late show out of my mind when Owl first started talking though. Still, Craig is doing a good job with the voice work these days and hopefully he keeps getting those jobs. Hell, maybe Sid the Rabbit from his show will get a movie.
The voices aside, the characters were a bit different. Eeyore was more depressing, which I LOVED! He’s not supposed to be happy. In the books he’s incredibly suicidal at points. The rest of the characters seemed a bit to wacky overall, especially Rabbit. Similar to the criticism of the voice work, he just wasn’t at all like he used to be and that’s what made that character good. He brought balance to the group. The characters seemed to have been dumbed down a bit as well. They weren’t the brightest group fo animals, but they’ve seemed to have lost a few IQ points in this movie.
Disney movies are pretty well known for musical bits. Kids movies in general are. Unfortunately Disney seems to suck at producing good songs anymore. Maybe it’s because Tim Rice and Alan Menken aren’t doing them all. While I don’t want to beat this to death, this is another spot where Winnie the Pooh fails compared to previous versions. The old songs were memorable. I still remember them. The new songs lack that quality. That and they just weren’t all that good. Again, this isn’t unique to this movie. It seems to be a trend or maybe they are ok and I’m just very nostalgic about the old ones.
I feel that DreamWorks started the trend of adding more adult humor to family movies with Shrek and that trend seems to be continuing across the board. Winnie the Pooh didn’t Shrek adult humor. It was actually quite witty though. The jokes were clean even if kids would understand them, but they were actually intelligent. I was shocked by how good they were and I’d actually prefer this type of humor for older audiences in family movies than some half concealed joke about a thong. Overall the humor was really good and I’m still just amazed by it because it was mostly witty and used heavy wordplay emphasis.
The film was pretty meta to. I recall the old TV series or film occasionally being meta, but not a lot. For an hour long movie there are a number of interactions where the narrator (John Cleese!) talks to Pooh directly (he even shakes the book!). Pooh also frequently is seen walking out of the hundred acre woods and into the long paragraphs of the books. It’s not just a transition thing, but part of the film. Pooh and Eeyore talk while sitting on a paragraph and the letters frequently fall into the pictures where are characters live. It was kind of bizarre. I don’t know how well that would work for the kids. I’m not even sure I liked it because it seemed over used.
All in all the movie was great, but it defiantly is a new kind of Winnie the Pooh. My dislikes of the film were minor and basically all aimed at comparing it to what I grew up with. And yes it is an hour long, but it works. The length didn’t seem to be a hinderance although I don’t think they would’ve been stretching it to far to have gone on another half hour. Don’t know how kids will react, but as a senior in college, I still enjoyed it and assume parents wil be able to as well.