Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh Pooh! - Part 3

Disney has done quite a bit with A.A. Milne’s silly old bear named Pooh for short. As I said in Part 1, I really liked (and still do) their original shorts (compiled into a movie.)

I have to give a little shout to the clever way they introduced a new character into the mix: Gopher. He’s delightful in it... and makes sense to be there. Who better to consult about getting Pooh unstuck from a hole in the ground than a gopher, eh? The clever bit, however, comes in the fact that Gopher says about himself I’m not in the book. What he means is a listing for his services in something like a phone book (remember those?) Well, obviously, it’s working on two levels. Since, yes, he is NOT in the book. Well done.

However, Disney went on to other Pooh projects that make me wince. Such as the “live-action” puppets version, The Book of Pooh. No thanks.  We don't need a "live" type Pooh.  Not when the original drawings are so charming.  (Both Disney and Shepard.)  Besides, we already had our stuffed toys.

Tigger & Pooh, a CGI based series.  If I wanted Pooh in CGI I'd have... no, sorry.  Don't want a CGI Pooh bear, either. 

Before these, there’d been a regular animated series The New Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh. I remember it being quite enjoyable.   But despite the valiant and often successful effort, it eventually felt forced.  Pooh should not be forced, no?

And there have been quite a few films since that wonderful compilation. Pooh’s Grand Adventure had been all right. Not great, but passable and fun.

But the films went downhill from there. Granted, I have not seen the rest of the films.  But they seem problematic in nature. There’d been a Tigger movie.  The plot had something to do with Tigger being lonely and looking for family, with everyone else winding up in Tigger suits to accommodate him. Excuse me? Whatever happened to Tigger’s self-sung theme song wherein he says The most wonderful thing about Tiggers is I’m the only one! Perhaps he’d just been wrong? I’m not sure. Maybe the joke is that he isn’t? Either way, it doesn’t seem like something that belongs in the Pooh world. Maybe they came up with a good rationale for it?  In most cases, if the project requires thinking up a rationale for something so as to be able to contradict the original intent... then maybe it’s not worth doing.

Then there’d been Piglet’s BIG Movie. It just looked flat and flavorless to me. At this point I’d been a little soured to Disney Pooh.

And then The Heffalump Movie? Um... a tale of a little heffalump coming and making friends? Why are we taking away the power of the fear of heffalumps and woozles getting Pooh’s honey? Double no thanks. It’s just not necessary and stretches the fabric of Pooh... might even tear it.

Why were they watering it down like this with what seemed like sub-par animation and stories?

Well, thank goodness we have the original Disney Pooh and the ever so much cooler original A.A. Milne tales (now dubbed Classic Pooh.) Imagine that! Disney Pooh is so popular that we must qualify the REAL Winnie-the-Pooh as such.

But what’s got me all up on the power of Pooh lately?   Part 4 will explain.


Anon said...

I'm afraid to mention you forgot "Welcome to Pooh Corner"....

Peter Von Brown said...

I didn't forget. I didn't know about it. (I just looked it up.) And... no thanks.

The point hadn't been to list every Pooh manifestation of Disney, actually, but to argue that the original cartoon (and Milne) are the best they have so far.

Anon said...

Well, I knew about it from my childhood. Even worse was their special "Too Smart for Strangers"....

Yeah, that's why I was afraid to mention it--it's even worse than "The Book of Pooh", in my opinion....

I understand, although it helps to mention as many as you know about.