Winnie the Pooh Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall Cast: (voices of) Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, John Cleese Running Time: 1 hr 9 mins Rating: G Release Date: July 15, 2011
PLOT: During an regular old day in Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh (Cummings) sets out to find some honey. But first, he and his friends must try to find Eeyore's tail, and Christopher Robin.
WHO'S IT FOR? Teenage boys will refuse to let Winnie the Pooh win them over. Everyone else will be happy as long as you like musicals.
EXPECTATIONS: It was my number two most-excited summer movie. I was hoping for cute happiness.
ACTORS: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh/Tigger (voice): Cummings is great as Pooh. Here is a simple character worth rooting for. Honey. Friends. This is what matters to Pooh. Most of the time, honey comes first. With a tummy that grumbles that loud, who can blame him? It's never stupid for stupid's sake. He's simple and content, plus he knows his limitations. Score: 10
Craig Ferguson as Owl (voice): Owl knows everything, or at least he thinks he does. He's working on his memoirs with titles like "The Birth of a Genius." Pooh puts it perfectly, Owl likes speaking and telling the others what to do. Ferguson is the biggest name in this movie, and thankfully he blends right in with the cast. He's really putting together and odd and impressive career. Score: 9
Rest of Cast: Eeyore (Bud Luckey) is suicidal in an absolutely adorable way. The wonderful thing about Tigger's is there is only one. But Tigger decides to craft Eeyore into Tigger 2. Piglet (Travis Oates) has to rise to the occasion and walk through some scary woods. Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter) is cute as can be with that British accent. Rabbit, Kanga and Roo feel a little short-changed, but I guess that has to happen with this many characters and this short of a film. Score: 8
TALKING: Winnie the Pooh plays with words so adults will get a kick out of it, and kids will eventually understand. After all, the phrase "Back Soon" is turned into a hideous creature called the Backson. John Cleese is our narrator and he helps Pooh along, even telling him where to look from time to time. The best comes with a "Who's on First" misunderstanding with "Knot" and "Not." It's gold. Score: 9
SIGHTS: Not only do they verbally play with words, they physically play. The characters hop and fall and climb through paragraphs. It actually makes people think about books! I know, crazy times people. I love the hand drawn animation. They actually use flaws to their advantage, like Tigger's stripes not simply being sold black. And when they talk about the Backson, potentially the scariest thing for little kids, they use colorful chalk drawings to help it along. Score: 9
SOUNDS: I'm hoping my "man card" won't get revoked, but I'm buying the soundtrack. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward recreate the original "Winnie the Pooh" theme to perfection. My only complaint is, I only heard it once. I was actually hoping to hear it a second time during the credits. There's songs of honey and a new one called "So Long." It's all great. I expect Deschanel to be playing "So Long" at the Oscars. Score: 10
BEST SCENE: I loved all of the characters getting in on the "knot" or "not" confusion. It's classic comedy done right.
ENDING: Eeyore kills himself and Pooh checks into rehab for his crack, oops, I mean honey addiction. OK, actually they all live happily ever after. You'll want to stay until the very end for more Backson.
QUESTIONS: Seriously. Honey = crack, right? Pooh can barely focus, sees crazy things and "just needs a taste." Silly old bear.
REWATCHABILITY: I will own this movie. When I have a child, this will be played time and time again. They will eventually know the whole thing by heart and hate me for it.
Winnie the Pooh is as sugary sweet as ... well ... something that is sugary sweet. His quest for honey never gets old, and it's the perfect distraction for whatever kind of stress you have in your life. The film gets away with crafting a movie for very young kids that adults will enjoy.
Whether you know it or not, you're nostalgic for Pooh. You don't have to worry about it being too scary for kids, you don't have to worry about sitting through poop jokes, you don't have to worry about anything. This year Pixar went with the sequel Cars 2. Many will say it was for more cash. Winnie the Pooh is back and it never feels like a money grab.
Pooh stays sweet. Oh bother. Oh you better bother. You better bother indeed!
FINAL SCORE: 9/10