Christopher Robin: Silly old bear.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Seven years ago Disney released its last 2-D animated movie. And sadly their last movie was one that was incredibly obscure. Winnie the Pooh despite being a good movie has a couple of flaws. However the animation was not one of them. By Disney standards, it was still good. And like its previous incarnation in 1977, it sticks to the heart of what made it so good.
The story involves all our main characters Winnie the Pooh (or Pooh for short), Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Christopher Robin, and Roo. Pooh is looking for honey and finds out that Eeyore has lost his tail. Thus everyone works to find a replacement for him but none of them seem to work out. So they leave that plot thread and go onto another story. Pooh goes to see Christopher Robin but misreads a note that a monster has abducted him called the Backson. Thus Pooh and his friends all set out to capture the Backson and rescue their friend.
The stories give a great deal of time to let the characters breathe and do what they are well known for doing in addition to a lot of fourth wall jokes talking with the narrator and so forth. And it not only provides plenty of enjoyment and succeeds in recreating the original’s atmosphere but also these characters are just as enjoyable here as they were back then. However what made it work better in the original is that despite only being comprised of three shorts it had a lot going on in said shorts. This movie has only two stories and despite both of them being well told they seem very disjointed. Even keeping it to one story would have been fine.
John Cleese is perfect as the narrator. He both provides similar dignity and humor as the original while also giving it his own edge.
The songs are incredible. One of the songwriters also voices Kanga, which is a neat detail. The animation gives extremely creative visuals. The new rendition of the opening song is sung very well. A Very Important Thing to Do despite being short gives a great sense of warm and fuzziness feeling. One of the songs involving Owl telling them about the Backson is animated entirely through chalkboard drawings and its amazing in how well drawn everything is. Everything is honey is right up there with Heffalumps and Woozles with its abstract imagery and premise and truly tests the limits of hand-drawn animation.
The animation in the rest of the movie is something of a mixed bag. The backgrounds still look sketchy as though they were from a children’s book, which once again helps contribute to the overall atmosphere. However, the character designs look a tad too updated and clean. They also gave Christopher Robin human-like eyes, which is a tad off-putting considering that it was something that the vast majority of the other characters have dotted eyes. However, it doesn’t take you out of the movie.
Winnie the Pooh is not a great movie but it is a good one. There are no real problems in the movie outside of sticking it to just two stories. Whether you’re binge-watching all of Disney’s 2-D animated movies or just want to watch this for fun it’s well worth your time. And much like the original Pooh and his friends give you a sense of child-like spirit that you’ll always enjoy returning to.