Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #51: Winnie the Pooh

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
Dearly beloved.
We are gathered here today in the sight of the internet to mourn the loss of our dear friend, traditional Disney animation. TDA had of course been in very poor health this last decade or so, but we had thought he was finally turning the corner. The fact that he had been so close to a full recovery makes the circumstances of his death even more wrenching, especially knowing that his murderer still walks free.
You're a killer, Harry.

You’re a killer, Harry.

 What were you thinking Disney? Sending Winnie the Pooh out, alone and unarmed, against Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? In summer?!

"He knew the risks."

“He knew the risks.”

Well, there’s nothing left now. Traditional Disney Animation is dead. Lower him in.

Oh! Hold off the earth till I have held him in my arms once more!

Oh! Hold off the earth till I have held him in my arms once more!

"Mouse. C'mon buddy. You gotta be strong for Latin America."

“Mouse. C’mon buddy. You gotta be strong for Latin America.”

"There is nothing inside me. I am hollow now."

“There is nothing inside me. I am hollow now.”

You’re right. You’re right, I’m sorry.

Gotta get a grip.

A grip…

On Daniel Radcliffe’s lily white pencil neck…NO! BAD MOUSE!

 As absolutely crazy as it seems it retrospect, putting Winnie-the-Pooh up against Harry Potter probably wasn’t that outlandish an idea on paper. The two properties are aimed at quite different age demographics, and Disney was probably banking on their movie hoovering up all the younger cinema-goers who’s parents wouldn’t be willing to take them to a movie that is essentially Schindler’s List with wizards.

Oh Disney. Your naive belief that parents have any real control over what their children watch is what makes you so loveable.

Oh Disney. Your naive belief that parents have any real control over what their children watch is what makes you so loveable.

And while Pooh was undoubtedly the underdog in this fight, let’s not forget that the Bear of Very Little Brain is also the Bear of Massive Merchandising Revenue. Pooh may in fact be the single most valuable character in the whole Disney stable. So why was this movie absolutely crushed at the box office?

Okay fine, because it went up against fucking Harry Potter, but indulge me, please.

Bad reviews? Oh hell, no. Critics ate this up.

The fact that it was released in summer instead of in winter like most Disney movies? Nah, see I never bought the “People won’t go to see movies that are on at different times than movies like that movie are usually on” concept.

I have a theory.

If you want a bloodbath polite and well reasoned debate, ask a bunch of Disney fans how many sequels there are in the Disney canon. Rescuers Down Under  certainly. And Winnie the Pooh. But after that? Is Fantasia 2000 really a sequel considering it has no plot? Is Three Caballeros a sequel to Saludos Amigos? And if it is, does Melody Time  make it a trilogy since José Carioca and Donald Duck appear in it too? Hell, you could argue that Fun and Fancy Free  is a sequel to Pinnochio  because they both feature Jiminy Cricket and are both pant-shittingly terrifying.

But…if you were to ask just a normal person on the street how many sequels are in the Disney canon they’d look at you funny and ask “What’s a Disney cannon?”

Disney cannon

Pictured: A Disney cannon.

Y’see, to ordinary movie-goers the concept of a Disney “canon”, the idea that some movies are more Disney than others is meaningless. Disney made it, it’s a Disney movie. QED. Why should they care which part of the company created it? I mean, let’s be honest here, the whole notion of the canon is just a marketing gimmick that allows Disney to put a seal of quality on some of their movies while allowing them to pretend that their less exceptional output somehow doesn’t matter and OH JESUS CHRIST I’VE WASTED TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE.

Now, Joe Sixpack may not really get what the canon is, but he has slowly, and through painstaking trial and error, learnt one very important lesson:

Avoid Disney sequels like the fucking plague.

Rediscovering the original Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was one of my most pleasant surprises doing this blog. It really is a lovely little film. But it wasn’t the last Winnie the Pooh movie to be released by Disney.

 Not by a long…

















Alright, screw this, I gotta review to write, you get the idea.

Alright, screw this, I gotta review to write, you get the idea.

And it’s not like these were all straight to video either, quite a few of those movies actually had theatrical releases. So is it any wonder that the public weren’t queuing down the street for this one? They didn’t know that all those sequels were done by DisneyToons and that the grownups were actually in charge of this one. All they knew was that Disney had released a long string of pretty shitty Winnie the Pooh cartoons (no pun intended, I honestly swear to God). It’s Disney’s fault. They didn’t protect their characters.

You release a movie called "Frankenpooh" you deserve every damn thing that happens to you.

You release a movie called “Frankenpooh” you deserve every damn thing that happens to you.

So here we are. This is how it ends. But how does it end? With inspiring last words, or a damp fart as the muscles relax with the onset of death?

Let’s take a look.

We begin with a…live…action…sequence…


Oh look, the cat’s back.

We begin like the original movie did with a tour of Christopher Robin’s bedroom while the narrator explains that this room could belong to any small boy but that in fact it belongs to Christopher Robin.

This is Christopher Robin's bedroom! There are many like it but this is his!

This is Christopher Robin’s bedroom!
There are many like it but this is his!

With Sebastian Cabot now dragging the angels to the Man Village, the role of narrator has passed to John Cleese. John Cleese plays the part very laid back and calm and that’s freakin’ me out, man. Like the original movie, this one actually takes place inside the original book, with the characters actually living within Milne’s original text. The book opens and we’re re-introduced to the characters by the song Winnie the Pooh, which of course was originally written by the Sherman Brothers.

"The Brother's Sheeeerman!"

“The Brothers Sheeeerman!”

Man, the old running jokes are just swarming the gates today. This time the song is performed by actress Zooey Deschanel…
"Zooooooey Deschaneeeeel!"

“Zooooooey Deschaneeeeel!”

Really? She gets her own heavenly choir?

"She's America's sweeeeetheart!"

“She’s America’s sweeeeetheart!”

The animation here is very good, nicely capturing the simple charm of the original while still smoother and more fluid like you’d expect in a modern cartoon. There are little changes here and there (someone gave Christopher Robin’s eyes some scleras finally) and some characters (like Rabbit in particular) move a lot more dynamically but overall they kept what worked and what they changed works too. It’s not jaw-dropping animation. It’s just quietly very, very good.

The narrator wakes up Pooh (Jim Cummings) to remind him that plot needs to start happening and Pooh sets about fixing himself some breakfast. This brings us to our first original song The Tummy Song written by husband and wife songwriting team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. You probably haven’t heard of them. After this they did some other film for Disney. Can’t remember the name. I don’t think anyone saw it. The Girl Who Didn’t Mind the Cold? Something like that? I dunno.

Anyway, just like the animation does an excellent job of recapturing the feel of the original movie, the Lopezes do a great homage to the work of the Shermans here. Aware that they’re writing for very small children the song is simple and easy to remember while being insanely catchy. It’s a duet between Pooh and his stomach who now rumbles and growls like a caged beast. Also, it’s pretty clear that since last we saw him, Pooh’s honey addiction has escalated to dangerous new levels.

Guys. Its time to stage an intervention. The bears killing himself.

Guys. It’s time to stage an intervention. It’s not funny anymore.

 Realising his stash has finally run out, Pooh sets out to score some honey, searching everywhere in the Hundred Acre Wood for just a drop of “H”. Everywhere. No, seriously EVERYWHERE.



In the middle of giving Eeyore (Bud Lucky) a cavity search, Pooh realises that the sadass is missing his tail. Owl flies buy and Pooh asks for his help in finding it. In the original cartoon, Owl was voiced by longtime Disney spear-holder Hal Smith. Here, the role is taken by Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson. Owl is the character that changes the most between the two versions and I kinda have to say for the better. Whereas Smith played the part very close to the literary original, verbose, stuffy, and rather staid, Ferguson gives Owl a manic quality and a pretty rampant ego. He’s also hilarious.

We get a version of a bit from the original book where Owl says the word “issue” and Pooh and Eeyore think that he’s sneezing. Eeyore morosely says that it’s probably catching so Pooh inspects his throat before turning to to Owl and saying deliberately “It’s just as I suspected. Owl? We need honey.”



Owl yells “Enough of this infernal folderol!” and I will love him forever for it. Owl’s plan is to put up notices all over the Hundred Acre Wood offering a reward for Eeyore’s tail so with Christopher Robin’s help they make up a load of signs and nail them up everywhere. Pooh runs into B’loon, a perfectly normal red balloon that everyone treats like just another inhabitant of the hundred acre wood.

Unlike Gopher, who is dead to us.

Unlike Gopher, who is dead to us.

Tigger suddenly appears and tries to bounce baloon, but instead gets stuck to him through the power of static electricity. Tigger thinks that B’loon wants to be his friend, but muses that he could never have a sidekick as it would put B’loon in harm’s way.

You know, it’s a strange day when you realise that a stuffed cartoon tiger is displaying more maturity and responsibility than Batman.

Christopher Robin announces at a meeting that whoever manages to find a replacement for Eeyore’s tale will get a pot of honey as a reward. All the animals try various things (the balloon, a clock, a yoyo, Godzilla etc.) and everytime they try something new they sing a verse of The Winner Song. Finally it looks like Kanga (Kristen Anderson-Lopez) has won, but she cuts them off when they try to sing saying “Let’s celebrate with silence.”

"Well jeez lady, if you didnt want us to sing it why did you write us the song?"

“Well jeez lady, if you didn’t want us to sing it why did you write us the song?”

 Now suffering from serious withdrawal, Pooh heads over to Christopher Robin’s house but finds a note outside. He takes the note to Owl’s house, where all the other animals have gathered to give him the honey for finding Eeyore a new tail (Kanga’s one having unraveled). And holy shit but Owl seems to be enjoying that honey.

Its fermented bee vomit, get a grip man!

It’s fermented bee vomit, get a grip man!

Owl tells the others that the note reads “Gone out, busy, back soon” and interprets this to mean that Christopher Robin has been kidnapped by a monster called The Backson. He draws a picture with chalk and this brings us into The Backson Song, which is very clearly a spiritual sequel to Heffalumps and Woozels from the original. It’s a great, funny little ditty and the “chalk” animation (actually wide-tipped felt markers) is gorgeous. Anyway, Owl soon has them whipped into a paranoid frenzy and before you can say “Kill the Beast!” they’ve hatched a plan to lay a trap for the Backson to capture him and rescue Christopher Robin.

Tigger, meanwhile, has gone rogue and decided to bring in the Backson his way dammit. Instead, he comes across Eeyore who’s been left behind in the forest because he was too slow (also, the fact that he’s a complete downer probably didn’t help). With the song It’s Gonna be Great Tigger takes it on himself to train Eeyore how to be a Tigger. The song is probably the weakest in the movie. The lyrics are really repetitive and, while Jim Cummings is a good singer, the Tigger voice is not reallya good voice to sing in. Tigger dresses up as the Backson to train Eeyore in anti-Backson tactics but Eeyore up and disappears, leaving Tigger to believe that he’s been kidnapped by the Backson.

Meanwhile Pooh enters the next stage of withdrawal and starts hallucinating like Hunter S. Thompson in Vegas.

"We cant stop here, this is pot country!"

“We cant stop here, this is pot country!”

  Pooh has a full on hallucinogenic fever where he sees the whole world rendered in honey, and it is just a beautiful sequence that has a great song to go with it, Everything is Honey. 

Pooh comes across the Backson trap, which has been baited with a honey pot and, yeah you don’t need me to finish this sentence.



 The other animals search for Pooh, and when they hear the noises coming from the trap they assume that they’ve caught the Backson. They argue amongst themselves as to who should go and check, which leads to my favourite line in the whole movie; Roo’s cold, emotionless “Send the pig.” Rabbit comes up with a plan to get Pooh out which involves using Eeyore’s new tail (an anchor) and instead gets all of them (except Piglet) trapped in the hole.

Rabbit tells Piglet to go to Christopher Robin’s house and bring a rope back to get them out but Piglet is afraid of going through the Backson infested woods alone. So Owl flies out of the hole to give him a stirring speech and then flies back into the hole and I kinda love this movie.

Piglet finds B’loon in the forest and then runs into Tigger who’s still dressed as the Backson and through the power of slapstick both Tigger and Piglet end up back in the Backson Trap, while B’loon flies away.

"Later. idiots."

“Later. idiots.”

 But Pooh is able to make a ladder of fallen letters for them to climb out of and then Christopher Robin arrives with B’loon and explains that he’d just gone to school and that the note said he would be “back soon” and that Owl was talking out of his ass. In gratitude to B’loon for finding Christopher Robin the animals give him the honey pot and Pooh watches as as it floats away.

"Hey bear! You like apples?"

“Hey bear! You like apples?”

 Now, pretty much starved to within in an inch of his life, Pooh goes on one last desperate search for honey which brings him to Owl’s house. Pooh notices Owl’s new bell ringer and Owl explains that he found it on a bush and took it home. Pooh realises that Owl has taken Eeyore’s tail and is now using the bodypart of one of his friends as a household accessory.

"Youve crossed the line Owl. Youve crossed the goddamn line."

“You’ve crossed the line Owl. You’ve crossed the goddamn line.”

Pooh forgoes the honey and runs to bring Eeyore his tail back, finally learning to put his friends over his own needs. And as a reward, his friends present him with an absolutely massive pot of honey.




If the age of hand-drawn animation at the Disney studio was to end, which movie should draw down the curtain? It’s a difficult question to answer, if, like me, you’d rather that it never ended. While it may not have been an obvious choice, Winnie the Pooh is actually a rather fitting end to the era. Like its predecessor, which in the canon represents a farewell to a whole generation of Disney mainstays (The Sherman Brothers, Sterling Hollaway, Barbara Luddy, Sebastian Cabot and of course Walt himself), this movie is a simple, charming farewell. I liked it. I liked it a lot. And I will never forget the movies of which it is the last.
Not even when I’m a hundred.
And hey, we’ll always have Studio Ghibli, right?
"Fuck. Every. Damn. Thing."

“Fuck. Every. Damn. Thing.”

Animation: 16/20
Effortlessly recaptures the charm of the original, while quite noticeably improving on it.
Lead: 18/20
Cummings does Sterling proud.
Villain: n/a
Sorry. The only villain here is the pitiless force of the marketplace and an apathetic movie-going public.
Supporting Characters: 16/20
Ditching Gopher earns them an extra point.
Music: 15/20
Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez do a damn impressive Sherman Brothers Impersonation.
Next Update: 11th September 2014
Next Time: We take a look at the children’s classic Labyrinth, featuring a young Jennifer Connolly, effects work by the Jim Henson team and okay fine we all know what you’re here to see…
There. The caged serpent. Ya happy?

There. The caged serpent. Ya happy?

Neil Sharpson aka The Unshaved Mouse is a playwright, blogger and comic book writer living in Dublin. The blog updates with a new animated movie review every second Thursday. He’s also serialising his novel The Hangman’s Daughter with a new chapter every Saturday. Like Unshaved Mouse? Let the good people at the Blog Awards Ireland know what’s what by voting for me HERE.


    1. As for the film itself, I think it’s really charming. Not one of Disney’s best, but it doesn’t deserve to be forgotten (though that’s the marketing’s fault).
      It’s basically the Rescuers Down Under of this age (“The Forgotten Gem” as I call it). I do like how Winnie the Pooh isn’t “modern.” It feels more…timeless? I didn’t expect there to be pop culture but still. It’s really enjoyable to see nowadays, even with it’s basic plot (as planned). Can’t wait for Wreck-It Ralph!

  1. Another reason I think the movie failed was because people think Winnie the Pooh is for kids. I don’t mean in the sense that Disney movies are for kids, but that Winnie the Pooh is targeted at a younger audience than the usual canon film. If a “normal” Disney movie had gone up against Harry Potter, it probably would have done better than this movie did.

    As for me, I’m not sure if this movie is better than the original Pooh movie, but I still like it well enough. Besides, the scene where Owl flies out of the hole then flies back in is the funniest part from either movie.

    1. That’s so true. Winnie the Pooh is more “kid-ish” compared to most of the other Disney films in the canon. Take Frozen. Frozen was released on the same weekend as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but came in second place and has the largest opening for a Disney film ever. I know Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph still helped to that, but I digress.

  2. I really liked this movie, too bad that for a long time I thought it was one of those ugly sequels 😦
    Good Revie Mouse!

  3. It was still D-U-M-B to release this movie on the same weekend that Harry Potter opened. Worse than the Princess and the Frog’s opening a few weeks before Avatar. MAYBE it would have helped if this movie was released at a different time, even if it was just a little? Maybe? And The direct to video sequels certainly didn’t help Pooh’s image.

    John Lasseter, the man who tried to give traditional animation a second chance at Disney, I commend you for the effort, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.

    RIP Traditional Disney Animation
    1937-2004, 2009-2011

    And FYI, the method where they draw characters and settings then program them into a computer, or drawing electronically into a computer, to me, doesn’t count as traditional Disney animation. I’m talking about fully 2D animated movies from Disney. And those are now extinct.

      1. I know this was. Did I say it wasn’t? If so, apologies for the misunderstanding. What I meant to say was the CGI movies that they produce nowadays like Frozen (and maybe Wreck-It-Ralph) where they animated characters first then program them into a computer, or drawing them electronically into a computer, is not the same as animating a movie like this one or Disney’s other 2D films. Like drawing 2D characters and making them look like 3D ones, if that makes any sense. I hope you get what I’m trying to say.

  4. Great review!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that I’m not a fan of this movie at all. I really dislike it (I seem to be the only one). And it seems to be for 2 reasons:

    1) I’m not a fan of how some of the characters seemed to have change. Rabbit and Owl, for example, seem to have nigh similar personalities. And Roo being cold and saying “Send the pig” is a line that just wouldn’t befit Roo in any previous ‘Winnie the Pooh’ adaptation.

    and 2) Much of the ‘Backson’ plot point is pretty much stolen from the previous movie, ‘Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin’ which I think is an epic masterpiece compared to this.

    Oh, if you waited till after the credits, the Backson makes an appearance.

  5. This one wasn’t spectacular. Had a few good parts and a couple decent songs, but other than that, not much. The new voice cast really bugged me for some reason, I know it shouldn’t be a big deal but it just really got on my nerves. I did really enjoy the Backson actually showing up at the end, thought that was pretty funny. Yeah, not too much to say about this one otherwise. Oh, one note, I don’t remember much of it but I do recall quite enjoying the Tigger Movie. Think I may have even seen it in theaters (I would have been 6 at the time)

  6. Great review!
    But u know what’s my fav scene? The whole scene where Piglet is trying to get them out.
    A long book.
    Cut flowers into 5.
    You cannot knot?
    Owl flies out and back in.

    I cried of laughter every. Single. Time.

  7. I feel bad for not remembering this one. I honestly could not tell you whether it didn’t get released here or whether that’s due to my being in Year 12 at the time.
    But you’ve reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to ask for ages: which of the movies you’ve reviewed has your daughter seen? And does she have any favourites?

    By the way,

    1. Bloody stupid phone – by the way, I have been reading Hangman but with so many assignments due at once and a couple of big personal projects on the go it’s becoming difficult to find time for detailed feedback. 😦 But I haven’t dropped out of the fanbase.

      1. I haven’t met many little girls who could resist a princess, let alone two.

        Thanks. I’ll still read, but for the next few chapters at least, I think I’ll just enjoy the ride.

        I just noticed “heffa nice day” up there.

        HEFFA NICE DAY?!?!?!

  8. I admit….I still haven’t seen it. Partly because I don’t really feel like I am still part of the target group. But normally that wouldn’t keep me from at least taking a look. No, the true issue I had with this from the get go is that the original Winnie the Pooh had a perfect ending. The Rescuers – that’s a property for which you can make countless sequels if you are inclined to do so. Fantasia was designed to have sequels from the get go. But Winnie the Pooh already had a perfect closure and I certainly didn’t want anything to be added to it (it was difficult enough to ignore the cheapquels and the TV Show). I already said good-bye to my childhood (one which is way nicer than the one for the Toy story franchise), I didn’t really want it to pop up again.

  9. Great (and short) review. This is the only film in the canon I have not seen thus far (though I will watch it very soon for my Disney reviews, as I am writing Bolt right now), and for a while, I did think this was a DisneyToons film.

    I did not even know this film was in theatres. It as really fun to open it at the same time as the final Harry Potters film, and I HONESTLY do not see why they would use THIS film to revamp traditional animation. There have been countless Winnie the Pooh sequels within the last 10 years, so it is not like people would run up and watch it. It seems like they purposely sabotaged this movie, so traditional animation can end.

    This film seems nice enough though.

    1. I agree that this movie was sabotaged just so traditional animation could be killed off for good. It’s like they decided to go with a film that only little kids would be interested in and on top of that release it at the same time as Harry Potter. It’s kinda like they were doing this ON PURPOSE. Like the investors (or maybe some other people) were like “Hey, make a Winnie the Pooh movie and put it on the same day as Harry Potter. Come on, people will flock to the theaters to watch it in droves.” And then the film fails and they’re like “Oh gee, this movie didn’t do so well. You now have to stop with traditional animation because these results say nobody likes it anymore. CGI is all the rage now!”. And then the 2D animation department is gutted and they’re like “Yes! Mission accomplished: traditional animation is gone for good!”

      Now before anyone goes “That’s stupid. No one would do that! Why would they set a movie up to fail? It’s not worth it!”, this is just a theory. I’m not trying to find evidence or anything to back up my claims, this is just what went though my head the way I imagined it. Who knows what the real story is.

  10. Sadly, I didn’t see this one in theaters myself, but I have the excuse that I was (and still am) a poor college student at the time. I DID, however, get it on DVD as soon as it came out, and it’s a really fun movie. I love the knot joke, but you’re right, it’s kinda impossible to re-create without GIFs or something (I actually saw a really great GIF of it on Tumblr a few months back). My only complaint is it’s so short! The Phineas and Ferb DCOM is longer.

    Labyrinth next time? Oh boy, THAT’LL be interesting. It’s actually a funny story, how I was first introduced to it, but I’ll save it for next time.

  11. While 2D animation as we know it may be dead, I think in future we may start to see Paperman-style features trying to evoke the same aesthetic. I’m rather looking forward to Moana, which is supposed to be done in a “painterly” style (though they said that about Tangled as well).

  12. Loved the review! This was one of your shorter ones, I noticed. Given the movie’s run time, that should be no surprise, though.
    Haven’t seen this one, but I probably will. Now I can’t wait for the next film in the canon, Wreck-It Ralph, which I like…more…than…………(in tiny voice) Frozen (puts on flame helmet).

    1. Actually, that flame helmet will most likely not be needed for you as there will most likely be more people who don’t like Frozen than who do like it in the comments section. A storm is brewing and will hit on the Frozen review come October. Besides, I’M the one who most likely needs the helmet and other parts to the flame armor. Why? You’ll have to wait and see.

      1. I like Frozen, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t consider it top 10 material.
        I fear for the comments section for the Frozen review, should it become a war zone and get burned to the ground.

      2. Well, a lot of other people also like Frozen alright, but they just want it knocked down to below top 10, so you have more people that share your opinion than those who DO consider it top 10. I too am fearful for the comments section of the review, but more-so than you, because I’m going to say something that I’m pretty sure almost EVERYONE is going to pounce on me for (and for the record, it’s not going to be anything like “Elsa is a lesbian” or anything like that. Just wait until the review comes out before you start guessing). Like I said, the one who REALLY needs to come with flame armor is me. So when the review comes, you can sit back and relax. I can’t say the same for myself.

  13. Farewell traditional animation, you will be missed. God, why can’t America view animation the same way Japan does. I don’t even watch anime and I know they have the right idea!

  14. If this is to be goodbye, well… I can think of worse ways to go but by the side of a silly old bear.
    This movie is a bit hard to talk about, mostly because I don’t really have that many thoughts about it. It is simply what it is- an hour long sweet little adventure where Pooh Bear and friends are their usual selves, sing a few songs, are pleasant and warm to each other and we end by walking off into the horizon. If it is the end, it’s an unusually lighthearted and sombre one (those two do so go together now shut up), it’s like seeing a grand-parent off on their last day in life yet you don’t spend it doing anything super special. You just sit down, share a few jokes, have some cookies, ask them how their day went, they ask you how yours went, then you hug each other and say goodbye. There’s some kind of quiet dignity in that. And that isn’t a bad way to go.
    I will admit though that I stand by swanpride somewhat- there is a “snarky smart-aleck speed” to some of the line deliveries here that makes the movie a little less heart-felt than previous Pooh movies. It feels like it’s trying to wink at the adult audience just a TAD too much, and as such gets a little, dare I say… MEAN at times. I can dig it, but I don’t blame the people who don’t. Some of us like our “Piglet is almost everyone’s abused spouse” jokes to be subtext we blow up to unreasonable lengths as we banter with our cynical and coldhearted peers, not all-but-outright-TEXT in an actual Winnie the Pooh movie.
    But, in the end I did have a nice enough time watching it. It had some funny gags (almost every scene with Rabbit in this movie is gold), sweet moments, well-drawn and animated hallucinatory sequences (I just saw Pooh bite off a clone-Poohs head because it was honey, why would you show me that Disney, WHY WOULD YOU SHOW ME THAT) and it poked me right in the child-hood feels. And for that, I shall love it in a soft and subtle way. I won’t proclaim it’s greatness from the rooftops, but it’ll always be something I can watch with a smile.
    Also while I hate to end it on a downer note, Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was my childhood and second favorite Disney Afternoon show to this very day, and I shall hear no slander against it. Comically undersized pistols at dawn, Mouse.

  15. Hey Mouse, I’m a first time commentator and I’ve been following your blog since your review of Tarzan (which, coincidentally, was the first Disney film I saw in theatres). There are two things I feel the need to speak out on in this review:
    Firstly, the film: Great review as always and I actually wanted to see this film in the cinema, seeing how I LOVED Winnie the Pooh as a child; the first film, the 1988 TV show and what-not. However this only ran for only TWO WEEKS in Australia and at the time, I was on holiday with my family up at the Great Barrier Reef and had no idea it was on. I haven’t checked it out on DVD or Blu-Ray yet, but the film sounds nice.
    Secondly, “RIP 2D animation”: In terms of traditional animation, I need to say this right now up front — I don’t have any patience for people who moan and sulk over the fact how 2D animation is supposedly a dead art form, especially at Disney. And it disappoints me Mouse that you have apparently jumped on this bandwagon, because let me tell you and everyone else on this blog for that matter: TRADITIONAL ANIMATION IS NOT DEAD! I repeat: TRADITIONAL ANIMATION IS NOT DEAD! AND IT IS ESPECIALLY NOT DEAD AT DISNEY! Is it on hiatus? Definitely. But a dead art form that is extinct and will never return to the big screen again? F**K! NO!
    Look, I was prepared to go on a huge, long rant about this, but these two articles sum up the situation and my feelings on it perfectly:
    Also, keep in mind, when Bob Iger said recently that they don’t have any 2D films in the works, he didn’t necessarily rule it out either. As said in the second article, Disney is just waiting for the right time, the right story, and the right director(s).
    So to recap: 2D animation is not dead at Disney. Rather, it is on hiatus until they can find the right elements to bring the medium back to theatres. Besides, as Swanpride pointed out, there’s also the new Hullabaloo short film that has raised a sh*tload of money on Indiegogo that might change executive’s minds on the issue.
    Anyway, thanks for the review and kind regards.

  16. I don’t expect you to review them anytime soon, but some of the Winnie the Pooh sequels are actually (in my opinion) really good. Especially, Pooh’s Grand Adventure and The Tigger Movie. Yes, these two movies put the characters through darker and more perilous adventures then the original film, but it works because the characters retain the same traits and personalities from the original. And because of that, combined with the slightly denser plot, it gives movies like The Tigger Movie, where he’s searching for his real family, much more of an emotional heft.
    The problem with this one though, while very pretty, and having scenes I really enjoyed (my favorite being the scene between Pooh and Eyore after the balloon went away) the movie went too far in the slapstick direction, instead of the warmer wittier humor, which all of the previous movies had engaged in. Except maybe Grand Adventure. Because of that, it makes the characters come across way too mean, especially Rabbit, who comes across kind of egotistical and self-serving. My least favorite scene in the entire movie, is that one scene where he has the fantasy of succeeding in the plan, and he dreams of getting a trophy I think? That’s not Rabbit, at all. Yes, he was the more abrasive of the group, and tried to get rid of Tigger’s bounce. But there was never a sense of egotism about him. I never got the sense that Rabbit was somehow, arrogant and self-deluded.
    Sorry, I probably typed too long. But I feel like I’m the only one who really likes the sequels before this one, and wanted to explain why.

    1. By astonishing coincidence I’m actually reading the book to my daughter at the moment and it’s reminded me just what a nasty piece of work Rabbit can be. There’s actually a story where he ropes Pooh and Piglet into kidnapping Roo so as to threaten Kanga into leaving the hundred acre wood.

      1. Yeah, I forgot about that part. The only character I remember being any different in the book, was Eyore. He was kind of a jerk. I do think that the book’s version of Rabbit trying to unbounce Tigger was far better than the movie. There was just something about how it ended with Rabbit, being so glad to see him, that just seems really sweet.

  17. Seriously, though. You should check the other Pooh movies out. Even if you don’t like them, they’ll at least be interesting. You can’t say that about a lot of other Disney sequels.

  18. Well, Pooh’s Heffalump movie wasn’t that interesting. Or very good either. And the Springtime with Roo movie is TERRIBLE. I talked about how Winnie the Pooh, made Rabbit a jerk. That movie was based off a Christmas Carol, and made Rabbit Scrooge. So he’s kind of horrible in that one.

    1. I have a lot of nostalgia for Pooh’s Heffalump Movie because that was the only one I saw in the theater as a child. And of course I loved it then.

      Also, as an aside – I feel I must point out that Frankenpooh was not actually a movie. It’s an episode of the TV series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh that was released to VHS.

  19. Very well-written piece as usual. I loved the tribute to the dying art of hand-drawn animation and the extemporizing on this film’s lack of box office success. It did surprise me how brief the review was and how quickly it ended, but given what you’re reviewing, that’s very fitting.

    And this film’s short run time is probably justified because apart from the incredibly young target audience, the story is obviously the last thing this film is interested in. I mean, let’s face it, there are 3 real conflicts here. The first one is that the characters are trying to save someone from a monster that does not exist (or so it appears) but get stuck in a hole, even though one of them can fly out and does so only to fly back in so this can be comically un-acknowledged. Add in the fact that the other two conflicts are Pooh not being able to find honey and Eeyore losing his tail and it becomes obvious this film is nothing but an excuse to spend time with the characters in this innocent world again. So why over-analyze it?

    That said, I do have a few criticisms:
    – The animation sucks and was clearly done by people who did not have much experience with hand-drawn animation.
    – The casting of Craig Ferguson as Owl and Tom Kenny as Rabbit are incredibly distracting and inappropriate. In Kenny’s case, this is because he makes no attempt not to sound like SpongeBob SquarePants, and in Ferguson’s, it is because he is clearly a well-known celebrity imitating a classic character rather than simply personifying said character. Unlike others I don’t mind Bud Luckey as Eeyore, because Luckey is an animation legend and Peter Cullen was busy with other work. But there really is no excuse for not bringing back Andre Stojka and Ken Sansom, especially since Sansom died the following year and this would have been a great final role (just as Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie was for John Fiedler).
    – A lot of the comedy does feel too aggressive and inappropriate for Winnie the Pooh. I don’t even mind the “send the pig” line since Wyatt Hall really does sell the innocent delivery. I’m thinking of some of Rabbit’s dialogue and the scene with Pooh bashing the beehive with a stick while Piglet is inside. Also some of the “childhood innocence” humor seems a bit too forced and artificial. Occasionally it feels like they’re imitating the original characters. For instance I don’t think Piglet would really be stupid enough to cut up the rope, and there’s nothing here as convincingly childlike while clever for the adults who understand as the “Trespassers Will” sign or the “lived under the name of Sanders” joke.

    That said, it does convincingly re-create the tone of the original Winnie the Pooh stories, and I still have to admire it for its purity and simplicity. It feels completely non-commercial, which is probably why it barely made back its budget and the studio was only willing to pay for about an hour of animation. It’s just impressive how unlike the last DisneyToon films there really is no special hook for this. It’s not a special movie for Tigger or Piglet, or a heffalump, or a heffalump Halloween movie. It’s just plain Winnie the Pooh again, nothing more and nothing less. I’ll never be able to appreciate it completely, given that I am not 3 or 4 as I was when I watched the original Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but those who were, are, and will be, will I am sure, eat it up just as happily. It really is completely un-pretentious and un-ambitious. But of course that wasn’t enough to interest audiences and so we have the sad swan song for traditional animation at Disney. May it rest in peace.

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