In a Summer Movie Season full of reboots and sequels – from fast and furious cars, transforming robots, mutant men (and women), not to mention some hangover-induced hijinks – it is so incredibly refreshing to see some old favorites return to the big screen and charm the socks – or in this case, the “tael” – off audiences. You’ll understand what I mean soon enough. As Pooh might say, “Patience, my friends.”
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new “Winnie the Pooh” brings with it nostalgia that is, arguably, incomparable. The characters – Pooh, Tigger, Eyeore, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo – are like old friends, ones who’ve surrounded us from our smallest of days. The new “Pooh” is a classic example of what a movie should be – full of smart and big laughs (and many, I might add), highly entertaining with a great story, characters you care about, a bit of action and suspense, a mysterious villain (but nothing at all scary for the younger movie-goers) and heart and emotion to leave you feeling good days later.
The folks at Disney don’t try to pull any punches either by trying to go 3D or high-tech. The Hundred Acre Wood and these hand-drawn characters aren’t made for it, and the studio fortunately applied the old adage, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” to this treasure.
To that point, there are some familiar voices behind a few of these classic characters; Jim Cummings has lent his voice to both Pooh and Tigger for years, garnering an Emmy nomination for his work as the bouncing and pounching; and Travis Oates is again the voice of the soft-spoken Piglet. But directors Don Hall and Stephen Anderson brought on some new talent, including comedian and “The Late Late Show” host Craig Ferguson as the wise, know-it-all Owl.
You’ll also hear the voice of Zooey Deschanel in the movie, her singing voice. The actress and musician performs several songs throughout the movie, including the opening, updated version of “Winnie the Pooh,” injecting her lively energy. She also wrote and performs the movie’s end-credits song, “So Long.” I won’t be surprised at all if she is an original song Oscar nominee early next year.
And speaking of the end credits, you must stick around until the very end, a scene that is the icing on the delicious cake that is “Winnie the Pooh.”
As you might imagine, the movie is Rated G, is wonderfully timed at just 69 minutes and, if you can’t tell, is a must-see!
So now, as promised, that “tael” thing I mentioned earlier. For the full explanation, plus a look at the story, the voices behind these incredible characters and Deschanel’s music, give youself five minutes to enjoy this featurette.