In case you haven’t heard a really great movie opened in the theaters this week. It’s a magical movie that takes place in an enchanted land complete with talking animals, monsters, forbidding forests and deep and abiding friendships. And it’s not Harry Potter.
It is Winnie the Pooh.
While the rest of the world was dressing up as witches, wizards, giants and muggles for midnight showings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, our family beat the heat this weekend by seeing the heart-warming tale of Winnie the Pooh who had something very important to do.
This latest tale from the Hundred Acre Wood is a delightful story that appeals to young and old alike. Those of us who grew up with the original tales from A.A. Milne will be happily pleased with the way the Disney script writers have remained true to the original spirit and innocence of those stories. My one criticism is that Piglet gets treated quite harshly by Pooh and others in this movie. Several story lines weave to create this experience: Pooh’s relentless search for honey, Owl’s desire to write his autobiography, the loss of Eyore’s tail, and Christopher Robin’s first day of school and the misinterpretation of the note he leaves behind. The traditionally animated film is a refreshing break from the hyper-technical 3D world of most animation and film today, and John Cleese delivers a delightful “all-knowing” narration of this story.
Watching the movie was even a refreshing experience. The children giggling in the aisle behind me were wonderfully charming, and their giggling freed me up to do the same and made my experience of the movie even more enjoyable. There is nothing like laughter to open you up and make you more receptive to a positive experience. The knot/not scene was hilarious: the toddler version of “Who’s on First?”
Pooh, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo are trapped in a pit, and Piglet gets a rope, which for reasons I won’t reveal, he cuts into six pieces.
Rabbit: Can you tie a knot?
Piglet: Um, I can *not* knot.
Rabbit: Not knot?
Pooh: Who’s there?
There is even a honey “dream” scene that is reminiscent of pink elephants on parade from Dumbo.
The movie tale is fine for the toddlers, but there are jokes that the early reader and older child will relish in being able to understand as well. The animators do a great job making the text of the story as much a part of the tale as the familiar characters of Tigger, Pooh, Piglet and Roo.
The film has a valuable message too: think of others before you think of yourself, but it is not overly didactic or forced. It is a simple message delivered in a beautifully told story that is elegant because of its simplicity.
Disney pairs the movie with a nice little original hand-animated short that matches nicely the mood and feel of Winnie the Pooh, and after the movie, it’s worth sticking around for the credits. The animators do a nice job with this, even thanking the most important person on the team: “the caffienator”.
So while I cannot wait to jump on my broom and fly into the CGI animated world of Harry Potter and the magical world of Hogwarts with all the latest technology behind the magic and the muggles, I must admit that the enchanting world of the Hundred Acre World was a delightful break from our ultra high-tech, fast-paced world.
If you have a small child, find time to head out to this movie. It will do your spirit good. If you don’t have a small child, go anyway. This is a timeless movie with a timeless story that will appeal to anyone with a young heart.
Silly Old Bear!
© 2011 Michele Arduengo. All Rights Reserved.