I’m honestly not sure if Winnie The Pooh is a really great movie, but I know this much … I felt awfully great after seeing it. So why argue with the heart? As sweet and gentle as you’d expect, this silly willy old bear can do no wrong.
And kudos to Disney for not raiding Pixar’s glitz closet and keeping it old school with one of their more beloved projects. Winnie the Pooh is a reboot, yes. But it doesn’t tinker with what works; and thus, this very short, very simplistic handdrawn animated film is everything we love about A.A. Milne’s character. Best put, it’s timeless.
Now, it’s been a few years since I visited the Hundred Acre Wood (two of my three kids are now teens, so I unfortunately can’t use them as an excuse to watch cartoons anymore), but I’m pretty sure Winnie The Pooh is a mash-up of previous episodes. No matter. With this bunch, it’s all good stuff.
The tale begins with Pooh’s rumbly tummy leading on a quest for honey, which keeps getting sidetracked by hurdles: Eeyore loses his tail, a note (misread by Owl) from Christopher Robin has the gang on the hunt for a mysterious creature, etc. Again, I think we’ve seen these stories before — and wouldn’t you know it? They hold up.
There are contemporary elements in place that give Winnie The Pooh some updated gloss: John Cleese is the narrator, Craig Ferguson is the voice of Owl and Zooey Deschanel performs a few numbers for the bouncy soundtrack, but none of those things steal much of the spotlight or detract from the film’s charm. The focus remains on cozy, warm nostalgia. And no 3-D effect can beat that.
Out of a possible five stars, I’ll give Winnie The Pooh a four. The feature is currently playing at the Pen-Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.
Jason Armstrong is a movie reviewer living in the Okanagan.