When I was growing up I loved Pooh. I was raised on the 1977 film "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" and I couldn't have loved it more.
The way the characters interacted with the text, the gorgeous hand-drawn feel that was so faithful to the original E. H. Shephard sketches. It all felt like Disney had turned the A. A. Milne books upside down, shook them slightly and this lovely collection of stories had fallen out. They were marvelous.
Then came 80's Pooh. A brash, Disney-fied character with all the charm of a cold cup of tea. What a shame! Still, apparently it didn't put anyone else off. Pooh bear is one of Disney's best selling franchises outselling all Mickey and other classic Disney characters put together, on merchandise and features.
The brightly colored bear and his pals have stayed much the same since 1981's Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons (a short educational release) up until now...
Directors Stephen Anderson ("Meet the Robinsons") and Don Hall (writer on Princess and the Frog and Tarzan) have successfully stripped Winne the Pooh back to his original(ish) charming self. The bear of very little brain appears once more as if straight out of the story books.
Where every film in today's cinemas are CGI or 3D, the directors of Winnie the Pooh (2011) have taken an "if you can't beat them, do something completely retro" approach. The film makers have brought hand drawn Pooh back to life and made him and his crazy band of friends lovable once again.
Kiddies will adore the new Pooh and friends and the story is pitched safely at them - none of the hidden adult humor of other animated offerings. The newly exaggerated character traits of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acer Wood will appeal to youngsters if not their adult companions. Piglet is particularly irritating while Owl on the other hand is all the more entertaining in his new found egocentric manner.
In this new outing of Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore loses his tail, Christopher Robin is not captured by the fearsome - but imaginary - Backson and Pooh is hungry for honey. Just an average day in the Hundred Acer Wood then.
It's lovely to see Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Rabbit, Eeyore, Owl, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and Roo back on the big screen after so long. Winnie the Pooh has made a welcome and timely return! If you've got kids then this is the Pooh to introduce them to.
Review by ABW
Winnie the Pooh (2011) - in cinemas from 15th April 2011
Winnie The Pooh:
Voices: Narrator - John Cleese
Winnie the Pooh/Tigger - Jim Cummings
Eeyore - Bud Luckey
Owl - Craig Ferguson
Christopher Robin - Jack Boulter
Piglet - Travis Oates
Kanga - Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Roo - Wyatt Dean Hall
Rabbit - Tom Kenny
Backson - Huell Howser