Thursday, 11 August 2011

“...I sure do like this new tail”

Winnie the Pooh: directed by Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; written by Stephen J. Anderson, Clio Chiang, Don Dougherty, Don Hall, Brian Kesinger, Nicole Mitchell and Jeremy Spears
      
I was curious when I heard that a new incarnation of that silly old bear was set to appear in cinemas. Countless platitudes have been written about the changing interests of contemporary audiences, and you’d only imagine that the same could be said for the younger generation. I wasn’t so much worried about the financial fate of the film as I was curious to see how modern filmmakers would address the definitively classic tale. The idea of a reboot/sequel/prequel isn’t new, and though many persons would appreciate attempts at originality such a concept seemed wrong for Winnie the Pooh and true to form Anderson and company delivers on a bite-sized film (clocking in at 69 minutes) which evokes a plethora of nostalgic moments for me. Cue a trip down memory lane...
Over the past decade animated films have grown from merely cinematic features for children to art forms for any age range and in the wake of that a Winnie the Pooh film would seem decidedly innocuous. It ostensibly supports the dictum of animation being for children because a trip to the Hundred Acre Wood hardly seems like something definitive. But, the thing about any art form is that sometimes even the things that are most well-worn manage to deliver on a charm that’s autenthic and techniques that are honest that’s it seems silly to accuse them of not bringing anything new to the table. And, isn’t that precisely what would hope for from a new film about Pooh? We’ve had enough of superfluous attempts at making the tales edgier and modern. A good and honest throwback is much appreciated.
Winnie the Pooh has never really been about plot, as overreaching as it does they’ve always been interesting character studies and as Pooh continues his relentless quest for honey the group of friends must make attempts to find Eyore a new tail and save Christopher Robin from a new create – the BackSoon. All of this unfolds as the narrator gently directs the story in the right direction with a beautiful touch of whimsy that’s just irresistible. There’s alarming little I could think of to criticise about the film – it’s charmingly written, delicately animated and infused with delightful music. It seems to exist as a children’s-only piece but even though I saw it with my nephew I’m sure I may have appreciated the nostalgic implications of the film more than he. It parades itself as a new adventure, but Winie the Pooh is a delightful stroke of classic Poohness. And I do like it.
           
B+

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