Quick Hits on Winnie the Pooh – Stephen Anderson, Don Hall (2011)

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-I would venture to guess that this new-fangled Winnie the Pooh story has at least as much, if not much more, power with adults as it does with kids. This is the type of Disney piece that I’m sentimental and nostalgic about from my own youth. The Winnie the Pooh show was something I watched all the time as a kid, even into my teenage years. And this movie goes further into being for adults by having John Cleese narrate and interact with Pooh. It’s a superb narration, the kind of thing Cleese is perfect for as anyone who listened to his audio book version of The Screwtape Letters might know. I’m not sure what such an addition might mean to a child, but it’s perfect for the adults in the room who, if they have kids, will have to watch it dozens of times. I might watch it dozens of times myself, and the idea of having children is repellent to me.

-I’ve always had a deep, personal identification with Eeyore and his mopey disposition, one that is only rivaled (beaten, truthfully) by my identification with Charlie Brown. For whatever reason, whenever people couldn’t think of something to get me for a birthday or Christmas when I was younger, it would be something Eeyore related and I built those into a small collection of figures and (shut up) stuffed animals over the years — a collection also beaten by Charlie Brown stuffs, I should point out. This movie fits right into that identification, because Eeyore and his missing tail (and contest to replace it) is one of the film’s three running storylines. The contest to replace it — and the attention that comes with it — seem to almost embarrass the donkey as he mopes through much of the rest of the film, except one excruciating (though somewhat funny) segment where Tiggr aims to exploit Eeyore’s identity crisis and turn him into Tiggr Two. “The best thing about Tiggrs’,” Eeyore tells him before walking off, “is that you’re the only one.”

-The running time is a little bit of a problem. It’s barely over an hour with the full credits (though the credits do feature some more animation of the Pooh gang). I mean, it’s a fine running time for kids who have not yet gone on Adderall or Ritalin, but the rest of us are left wanting more story, more gags, more of Pooh’s rumbling belly song.