Curse of the Chupacabra

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Return of a Timeless Classic

Welcome to my first ever movie review, although it may be my only movie review because I never planned on doing film reviews until I was invited to watch an advanced screening of Disney's Winnie the Pooh.

Walt Disney Animation Studios returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with "Winnie the Pooh.", featuring the timeless charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes, in this all-new movie which reunites audiences with the philosophical "bear of very little brain" and friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo… and last, but certainly not least, Eeyore, who has lost his tael… tail.

Upon taking my seat to watch a film with a handful of my most beloved childhood characters returning to the big screen, I was excited; however, a bit skeptical that the creators of this new animated feature would not keep entirely true to the overall essence and imagining that author A.A. Milne, and original Disney animators created some 35 years previous.

Within the first ten minutes of the film, but after the very cute short film The Ballad of Nessie, all of my skepticisms were washed away in a wave of pure honey delight.  What I found myself watching was every bit as much of a classic Winnie the Pooh tale as if Disney had created it while making the original tales 35 years ago then sealed this print in their vault until this weeks release in 2011.  The film not only has the same watercolor look while created in today's digital age, but the same play on words that, quite literally, fall off the page.  There is even a clever take on the classic Abbott & Costello bit, "Who's on first?", but instead of "who", a word that I may or may NOT tell you.

Executive Producer, John Lasseter (CEO, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios) and directors Don Hall (artist, Tarzan & Brother Bear) and Stephen Andreson (artist, Emperor's New Groove & Chicken Little) were faced with the challenge of improving on a classic when they took on a film with characters known worldwide.  The directors stated that the trick was keeping the treasured classic qualities while adding contemporary touches that would enhance the fun for today's audiences.

I have to say that the contemporary nuances were so subtle and unobtrusive that I actually found myself questioning if I had just seen or heard something that I would deem contemporary.  However, there was one moment that was all too obviously taken from today's film standards by adding a bonus scene after the final credits rolled up into oblivion.  I had not anticipated this in the slightest coming from this film and immediately thanked, applauded, patted myself on the back, for not leaping out of my seat during the end credits to go use the facilities.  I highly recommend staying until the house lights come back up and the screen goes dark.

So, being my first film review ever for this blog, I am more than delighted for it to be Disney's "Winnie the Pooh", a fantastic new blast from the past filled with charm, humor and imagination that will be a real treat for any parent, grandparent, Aunt, Uncle, 5th generation cousin, which grew up with the original featurettes, while entertaining today's youngster generation.  I seriously cannot rave enough about this film nor thank the creators enough for… well, creating it.  The 2011 version of Winnie the Pooh will surely be a little obsession of mine for years to come.

Recommendation:  Definitely "bother"

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