Monday, July 18, 2011

Some thoughts on 'Pooh'

Winnie-the-Pooh just came out, and if you come over to the Etc. often, you'll know that I was super excited to see it. Some of my favorite moments from any film anywhere reside in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh--it just has so much heart and wonderful animation and is just plain great entertainment.

The new Winnie-the-Pooh, on the other hand, was . . . enjoyable.

Let me start with the biggest positive: the animation. The character acting was superb--watching the reactions and exaggerated movements of the animals in the Hundred Acre Wood was remarkable. I especially appreciated the expressions on Owl and Rabbit and the bouncing of Tigger. But there isn't really any surprise here, seeing as Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, and numerous other animation greats were involved. The backgrounds were equally beautiful, too.

The story elements of this Pooh, however, were somewhat lacking. While Many Adventures is also in an episodic format, each "episode" has its own arc and layers of conflict and levels of intrigue. The episodes of the new Pooh were too simple and felt like they were playing straight to the littlest of kids. There was just nothing as an audience member to get lost in or focused on; I feel like they had such a great opportunity to put these beloved characters into interesting and entertaining situations, but instead they put them into the barest possible scenarios. Many Adventures has the audience laughing and crying and scared and in suspense, whereas Winnie-the-Pooh is almost impossible to get lost in due to its mind-numbing simplicity.

That being said, there were several times when I found myself laughing uncontrollably. Such as the scene when Piglet is above the hole that all of the characters have fallen into--the dialogue is genius, and I could not stop laughing. It was brilliant. Similarly, Owl was very fun to watch and had some great lines that I really appreciated.

The music was an aspect of this film I was looking forward to, since I'm a huge She & Him fan. The opening Winnie-the-Pooh song was what I had expected, so I loved it. The final song, So Long, was also really, really great--I listen to it almost daily. However, there weren't enough She & Him songs to make me satisfied, but I guess that's probably just because I'm such a big fan of theirs. The musical score was light-hearted and gratifying and makes for great background music, but I still prefer the more melodic score of Many Adventures . . .

Winnie-the-Pooh was a solid movie. It had great character animation, hilarious dialogue, and good music. The story was mildly enjoyable, but crumbles to pieces when you compare it to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I suppose I have my very high expectations to blame . . .

I'll most certainly see Winnie-the-Pooh again, and I'll definitely laugh and enjoy myself while watching it, but I won't be able to stop and think about what could have been.

6 out of 10.

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