Monday, July 18, 2011

New Old School POOH - The Stuff(ing) of Legends

Perhaps you remember from previous posts that I've been "jazzed" for a long time about seeing the new Winnie-the-Pooh movie.

Fortunately, it's every bit as grand and reverent as I'd gleaned and hoped it would be.

It's the Pooh we remember.  There's nothing but charming scene after charming scene and it's not afraid to slow down.  At so-called "slow" parts the characters' personalities and interactions shine through and we eat it up like Pooh eats up honey.  Truth is it never truly becomes fast paced at all.  Sure, the characters are hurried and bothered, but the story remains at the leisurely comfort of curling up with a stuffed animal.

The animation is glorious.  Not just the production itself, but the re-production of Disney's classic Pooh shorts.  They've really found the niche.  The artwork is a sheer delight, as is the fluidity of the animation.  Bravo to the artists and animators.

There are also a number of musical sequences.  And I bet you can guess... they're delightful.  Each is funny, catchy and moves the story along without feeling out of place, forced or unwelcomed.  They even have the Tigger song.  You know, "The wonderful thing about Tiggers are Tiggers are wonderful things...." - that one.  But it's truncated.  Just a peppering to top off a scene with Tigger.  We didn't need the whole song again, and Disney knew that.  Just as they knew we needed a small smackerel.

I went with Bart and Josiecat, both of whom also adored the film.  Yes, they, too, deem it 'Old School' and just pleasing all around.  Josiecat hit the nail on the head in what they'd done to make this movie.  It's really only one chapter from the A.A. Milne Pooh stories, the one with the note that reads 'Bisy Backson.'  From there it which we mean rerouted, heightened or inserted parts to create a new tale without ever losing sight of the origins.  Truly a remarkable feat.  But somehow it felt effortless, guided all the while by the shenanigans of Pooh and his friends.

I'd like to say it had been quite "Goldilocks."  In other words, just right.  It could have gone too far with the slapstick humor, but it does not.  It's stirred in gently and never reaches "too much/far."  It could have been an emotional fest, oozing a sappy feeling or message, especially when intending it to be such a nostalgic piece.  But it's not dripping with too much honey in the least.  (Metaphorically that is!) It would have been easy to push the envelope boundaries what with all the aforementioned 'expansion' but no, it all fits, nay flows nicely together. 

I also want to give a special mention to John Cleese and Craig Ferguson.  They lend their vocal talent as the Narrator and Owl respectively.  You couldn't ask for a better Narrator than Cleese when it comes to Winne-the-Pooh.  Yes, I agree, many people would be great like Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie or the like.  But there's something about the timbre of Cleese that fits right into the Hundred Acre Wood.  Ferguson is a wonderful Owl.  He's got it down and yet adds his own twist...and keeping suit, in a Goldilocks fashion.

Lastly, the title.  It's simply Winnie-the-Pooh.  It's direct, it's simple.  It's not some attention grabbing headline like Pooh: The NEW Movie or a story-informant such as Pooh and the Backson.  No, just a plain ol' Pooh movie for you.

I'm convinced.  The people who made this movie are the ones who, like me, waited all year for the Pooh TV special to come on, and when it did you can be sure the Footie Pajamas embroided with Pooh were on and the world stopped.  Joy radiated for who knows how long after.

If you have a Pooh bear (that's ours in the picture) give him a hug.  But go see this movie.  On the big screen.  When will you have the chance again to see a Pooh of this calibre on the big screen?  Go!  Relive the days when if you missed something when it aired, you missed it entirely!

Folks, Winnie-the-Pooh won't be in theaters forever.  Take this opportunity to see Pooh at LARGE.

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