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Winnie the Pooh

by on July 15, 2011
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A charming little throwback of a picture, “Winnie the Pooh” will make parents and their young children fall in love with ol’ Pooh Bear and the gang all over again.

Once upon a time, Walt Disney made memorable pictures aimed at kids without excessive violence, targeted pop culture references or flashy, incoherent visuals, and again they show that to be the lazy person’s method of filmmaking.

If you’ve seen one “Pooh,” of course, you’ve seen them all, as Winnie, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet and company do what they do — frolic around the Hundred Acre Wood and get into mild-mannered mischief.

This film is as much a nod to what’s come before as it is anything else, bookended by live-action shots of Christopher Robin’s bedroom and the toys who inhabit it, including stuffed versions of all of our friends. Plus, at several points in the film, the characters wander out of the Hundred Acre Wood and literally into some prose, revealing that we’re simply being read a story as we watch it. Pooh and others interact with the text, and oftentimes letters are spilled into a heap of consonants and vowels.

We segue into Pooh Bear looking for that ever-elusive pot of honey, looking for Eeyore’s lost tail and, along the way, stumbling across the evil, vicious “Backsoon” monster that has kidnapped Christopher Robin, and forming an ingenious plan for rescuing him. Speaking of the Backsoon, be sure to stay after the credits (which themselves are very watchable) for a little extra morsel.

There’s a certain warmth to these characters, and, at a brisk 68 minutes, we don’t have time to tire of them. This is a throwback act for sure, one that doesn’t bother to update its characters because it doesn’t need to. We’re not going to put Piglet in saggy jeans and backwards baseball cap, or have Pooh playing Angry Birds on his iPad, thank you very much. These guys kick it old school. For real, though.

Be sure to listen to that soundtrack, and hipsters might hear a familiar voice: Yep, that’s Zooey Deschanel singing.

I realize this movie isn’t going to break $100 million and isn’t meant for kids over, say, 7 or 8 years old. All of my kids are within that age range, and I was kind of pleasantly surprised that in this age of movies comprised mostly of blobby blurbs of color and manic, wisecracking characters, that we can still sit back, gulp down our soda and pick up where we left off with some old friends.