|Posted by Moviefan12 on May 24, 2012 at 7:45 AM|
Hello & welcome back. We once again continue our visit to The Hundred Acre Wood as I take a look at the newest Pooh film, 2011's Winnie The Pooh. Now I do have to apologize in advance as this won't be a full review as not all of the songs are available online. I do apologize for this fact and I did try to look for the songs but for some reason, these were the hardest ones to find.
I really like this trailer and it is perhaps what got me sold on this film. That being said, I really wish that Somewhere Only We Know had been included on the film's soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, I like the other songs but I really fell in love with that song and I had thought about buying the soundtrack but when I saw that Somewhere Only We Know was not on there, I decided against it. I know it's a minor nitpick and a silly reason not to buy a soundtrack but I came to like the song and kinda wish that it had been used during the credits. Now that being said, it is rather minor compared to another complaint that I have regarding this film. I seriously want to know what Disney purposefully decided to release it on the same day as the final Harry Potter? Now yes, you could make the argument that they were trying to offer something for the audience that was too young for Harry Potter but still that was one of the most anticipated films of last summer and Pooh didn't stand a chance against it. Even if I did see Pooh before Harry Potter. I'm a Disney fan first. At least we got a cute trailer that acknowledges this.
In reality, there are three ongoing stories here. Pooh is trying to find hunny (it only feels right to use the Pooh spelling but this will be the last time) Eeyore has lost his tail and his friends try to find a new one for him as they hold a contest and the grand prize is a pot of honey. Later on, Pooh finds a note at Christopher Robin's and takes it to Owl who happens to read the note which say Back soon as Backson. Leading the friends to think that Christopher Robin had been taken by The Backson. These stories intertwine nicely and they're woven together quite well. I recall when this film was still in production that it was going to be more like The Many Adventures in that it was going to be a package film and each story would have gotten it's own short. I like this idea and would have been happy to see what would have come from it but I feel that stories were told in a really wonderful fashion here. Now there were two subplots such as Owl writing his memoir which was a lot of fun to watch and Tigger teaching Eeyore how to be Tigger Two. Although the latter subplot doesn't last for very long but I do like the way, they close that subplot.
Eeyore: The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers is your the only one
Pooh's Tummy - growls provided by Robert Lopez
Now I wasn't sure where to place this originally but looking at it some more I feel that this is right place to put as thinking about it some more, Pooh's tummy is a plot device in this film as it is the thing that drives Pooh's hunger for honey and the growls remind him that he is hungry. Now I must admit that it did bother me a little bit that Pooh's hunger took residence over concern for his friend in the middle of the film but again he was hungry but as seen in Grand Adventure, Pooh can put that aside when he's worried about his friend but to be fair to Pooh Bear, here he was starving as he hadn't had anything to eat all day and this is just another reason why I prefer to these of these films not as sequels but new stories and revisits with these characters. Now I know what I said about contintuiy yesterday but let me clarify as what I should have said is that for the most part, the shows and films are kept separate from each other. Now if you'll notice the growls for Pooh's tummy actually a had voice actor themselves. As you see the growls were provided by Robert Lopez who along with his wife who voiced Kanga who wrote seven of the songs was the one providing the growls for Pooh's tummy and in many ways, his growls make Pooh's Tummy a character of it's own. I mean The Tummy Song really is a duet between Pooh Bear and his tummy and one of the cutest things in the film. I find it humorous that the two newest Disney animated canon films have had parts of a character that were plot devices. For those of you that may not recall the other was Rapunzel's hair in Tangled.
I do apologize for not having a picture of this from the film but I think this will do. Eeyore's tail is an important plot device to the film as it drives the story of his friends trying to find a new tail for Eeyore and it does lead to many humorous attempts but I'll get to that some more when I talk about Eeyore. Now Eeyore does eventually get his tail back as Pooh Bear finds it at Owl's house as Owl had taken it by mistake and was now using it for his doorbell.
Christopher Robin's Note
Isn't it funny in how that Christopher Robin's notes and letters lead to our friends' mishaps. I mean the same thing happened in Grand Adventure but it was more worrisome in the previous film than here but it was a lot of fun and it led to our friends trying to fight off The Backson. Not as important as the letter in Grand Adventure but still important nonetheless. To be fair, to our friends with the note, Christopher Robin left a rather vague note this time compared to Grand Adventure so I could see how they would have a hard time with it and really none of them are very good at reading.
I just had the oddest thought but in many ways Balloon in this film reminds of Wilson from Castaway. Hear me out on this one, they're both inanimate objects but they serve an important to their respective films and both Balloon and Wilson are treated as if they're real people by the other characters. However I guess this is where the similarities end as Tom Hanks in Castaway knows that Wilson isn't real and only treats him that way to keep from going crazy whereas the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood are perhaps just that naive. Though Balloon does go on quite an adventure as Tigger at one point considers making him his sidekick.
Narrator - John Cleese
Ah, what do you know we now have Cleese as the narrator for the third time as you'll recall John Cleese narrated two of the shorts that I reviewed on Showcase. I truly enjoyed his narration here and I think it was his best narration for a Disney feature as it felt the most natural and his interaction with the characters was very nostalgic of The Many Adventures and I liked that. Cleese was a great choice as the narrator for this film and I think that the narration for this film is some of my favorite narration in recent memory.
Now I've noticed at least with these past two films that majority of the characters serve a purpose but there is always one or two characters that serve very little purpose to the story but I think that will happen when you have an ensemble cast. Now if I had to state who I thought the least important character was, I'd say it was Roo. Now like last time, I'll be breaking this down into Important, Supporting, and Imaginary Threat. Though with the last one, it's a bit different than the Skullasaurus.
Pooh voiced by Jim Cummings
This is perhaps my favorite performance of Cummings as Pooh Bear. I don't know what it is that makes me like this one over his others but I think this is the most fun I've had with Cummings as Pooh. His delivery was on point and perhaps just the most fun. Now as for Pooh as a character, I think he was given the most to do in the longest time in this film because if you''ll recall what the last three theatrical Pooh films really weren't about Pooh but about Tigger, Piglet, and Roo. Oh, sure that last one may have been called Pooh's Heffalump Movie but it really was Roo's story. Back on topic though, this was for all intents and purposes a movie about Pooh Bear and Pooh got to shine rather well. He honestly had some of the best moments such as Everything Is Honey and the previously mentioned The Tummy Song. Though my favorite moment with Pooh Bear in this film has to be when the narrator describes what a paragraph is to Pooh. It's just so funny.
Eeyore voiced by Bud Luckey
Pixar character designer, Bud Luckey provided the voice for Eeyore and I think he did a great job that capturing the spirit of Eeyore. He brought the gloominess that Eeyore needs and I honestly think that afer Pooh Bear, Eeyore is the most important character as again one of the main plots is trying to find a new tail for Eeyore and as seen in this picture one of the things that they try is an umbrella but they try many a thing and it has to be one of the funniest montages that I've seen in a while.
Let's not forget that Tigger also tried to teach an unwilling Eeyore how to be Tigger Two and if you'll recall that made my Top 6 Tiggerific Moments as it was just so funny but let's save for the song but still, I get a chuckle out of that especially the scene in Rabbit's garden.
Christopher Robin voiced by Jack Boutler
Now as with Grand Adventure, I feel that Christopher Robin is important in the sense that he brings the friends together as they come together to save him from The Backson. Again he isn't in much of the film after the beginning but he's still important as he also helps to find a new tail for Eeyore. Now there is one big difference between Christopher Robin in this film and previous entries in that his accent was much more British. I hope that makes sense.
Tigger also voiced by Jim Cummings
Now I've made it no secret that Tigger is my favorite character and while at first I was a bit disappointed that he was scarcely used in the film but as I said up top, this is a Pooh Bear film and besides Tigger already had his own film that gave him plenty of spotlight but still, it was a lot of fun to see Tigger and besides seeing trying to teach Eeyore how to be Tigger Two is so much fun. This film reminds me why Jim Cummings is my favorite Tigger as he just brings so much great energy to the role and in my opinion, he does a better Tigger than Pooh. I've always said if I could have Cummings' Tigger and Sterling Holloway's Pooh in the same film, that would be the perfect Pooh Bear film.
Piglet voiced by Travis Oates
Piglet was rather cute in this film and I think in many ways like the rest of this film hearkens back to The Many Adventures in how we got the sweet and simple Piglet and of course, there was the classic...
I think my favorite moment with Piglet is when he has to save the rest of his friends out of the pit and it leads to a moment very much like Who's on first. Let's also not forget the subtle Indy reference when they're setting up The Backson.
Rabbit voiced by Tom Kenny
Go figure I reference Spongebob in one of my previous Pooh reviews and Tom Kenny (voice of Spongebob) is the new voice of Rabbit. I think just as with Grand Adventure, Rabbit falls into the role of leader though it felt more natural there than it did here and you could almost argue in a way that Owl also fell into the leadership role but I feel that Rabbit was the more prominent leader. Tom Kenny brought the right amount of anxiety to this role and turned it up a notch. In some ways for another comparison, his Rabbit reminded me of a nicer Squidward.
Owl voiced by Craig Ferguson
I believe that Craig Ferguson is perhaps my favorite Owl as he brings the right amount of egotism to him and there is just something about Ferguson's voice for Owl that just makes me think that is what Owl should sound like. This is not meant to be a hit on the previous VA's for Owl but I sincerely think that Craig Ferguson is my favorite Owl. To think the same actor that played Nigel Wick in The Drew Carey Show could deliver such a great performance for a Winnie The Pooh character.
Kanga & Roo voiced by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Wyatt Dean Hall
Fun fact for ya: Kanga's voice was provided by Kristen Ander-Lopez who along with her husband Robert wrote seven of the songs. She brought a very sweet and motherly demeanor to the role of Kanga and as for Roo, he was there. I mean honestly these two no hit on them but I think that they were the least important characters to the film but as stated above, that is bound to happen with an ensemble cast and I'm sure that people are going to disagree with me but that is bound to happen.
Now as stated up top, I could not find all of the songs for this review but I will talk about some of the songs and really, the ones I couldn't find are perhaps the less popular ones save for Everything is Honey, which I could not find anywhere. Therefore, here is a rundown of the songs I'll be looking at She & Him's cover of Winnie The Pooh, The Tummy Song The Backson Song, It's Gonna Be Great, Pooh's Finale and So Long.
As for my thoughts on it, I'm not a fan of this cover. I don't dislike Zooey but I do think she was the wrong choice for this song. Maybe it is just me but I don't think Zooey's voice fits the song. Now I hope none of you (especially Alex) take this to mean I dislike Zooey because that is not the case. Rather I just find her cover of this song forgettable save for the inclusion of Tigger in the lyrics as they changed that. It's a nice touch but I just can't behind this version.
I love this song, it is just so cute and the fact that it is basically a duet between Pooh & his tummy is just hysterical. This has to be one of the funniest songs in the entire film. I love it. It is just so randomly funny. This is a great song that deserves to sit next to the classic Pooh songs. Now there is also an extended version of this song included on the DVD/Blu-Ray which can be found on YouTube. If you haven't give it a listen.
I love this song. The chalk design for the characters is so cool and perhaps some of the coolest animation I've seen in a Disney film in a long time. Now I know your probably expecting this but this song kind of reminds me of Heffalumps & Woozles. Now I won't say it is as good as that song but it comes mighty close.
Now I've already talked about this song during this event but I love it and as a Tigger fan, this is a great highlight. In my opinion, this song is up there with The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers in terms of Tigger songs in how good it is. This song just fits Tigger's personality in how upbeat fast-paced and energetic it is.
This is a cute song and in some ways, you are getting to hear reprises of the songs that I couldn't find such as The Winner Song and Everything Is Honey. This is such a sweet song and a great way to end the song and yes that Zooey once again singing and this time I like her singing here because it just sounds better. Though of course, the best Zooey song is saved for last.
I can't explain it but I like this song but I think I like the visuals of the end credits more and they seem to fit in with the song so well and this is a good song to close out and it gives me an idea of why people like Zooey so much. Disregarding my feelings towards her version of Winnie The Pooh, she was the right choice for this film. She just like Pooh Bear seem to have a sweet and innocent personality to her. Now do keep in mind that this observation is coming from someone that knows little about Zooey and this is only thing I've seen regarding her work. All the same, I find this song enjoyable.
Now I'll be breaking this down even more than last time and you'll see why in a bit.
The Backson (as perceived by the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood)
The Hundred Acre Wood perceive The Backson as being a big and scary monster that wreaks havoc all over the place but at the end of the film it is revealed that The Backson is not real unless of course, you watched the after credits scene involving The Backson.
The Real Backson voiced by Huell Howser
After the credits, it is revealed that The Backson is indeed real but instead of being mean and scary, he comes across as kind, gentle and curious. I just love it when The Backson sees the picture that Owl drew of The Backson and thinks that is a scary looking fella. And his expression when he falls in the pit is just perfect. Now I had not seen this clip in the theaters, I did not see until I re-watched the film for this review and it's a pity that I didn't see this extra scene until now.
My Final Thoughts
This is a great film. It is so much fun and I loved it and I think that it it as good as the classics. Everything about this film just comes together to work very well. I think this is Cummings' best work as Pooh to date and Craig Ferguson as Owl is perhaps my favorite Owl performance. To think that this now the shortest Disney film in the animated canon yet it packed in so much. For those of you wondering the shortest Disney film before this came along was Dumbo. Join me next time as I continue my visit to The Hundred Acre Wood as I take a look at a Pooh Bear short that was only made for schools and never released to the public but can now be found on YouTube. Join Pooh & I as we....