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22 December 2010 @ 08:43 pm
Disney Movies: #22 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)  
Entry #27 in the 'Watch all the Classic Disney (Animated) Movies' Challenge


Originally a series of animated shorts, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh takes viewers to the Hundred Acre Wood, where we are introduced to Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, and several others.  Pooh, the main character, is a happy-go-lucky bear who thinks with his stomach more than his head, often landing him in sticky situations.  His friends Rabbit and Piglet are kind, but nervous.  Eeyore's always depressed.  Kanga is the perfect mother to her son, Roo.  All the animals listen to Christopher Robin.  (Based on author A. A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin comes and goes from the Hundred Acre Wood at will.  Since the residents of the Wood are all his toys, he's their leader and creator.)

To be honest, I've never been much of a Pooh fan.  I know I watched the movie as a kid, but it was never a favorite.  I always preferred the 'Renaissance' movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and The Lion King.  When watching the film last night, I was surprised that the one Pooh story I do remember clearly - Pooh invents a game of throwing sticks in the river, called Pooh-sticks - isn't actually in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  That short film, Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, was released about five years after the movie collecting the first three Pooh shorts. 

The three stories found in the movie are Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.  They're presented as chapters from a book, tied together by a Narrator.  At times, the text and pages of the book are visible, and the animators play with them for some neat effects.  In one scene, the Narrator 'tilts' the book on its side so that Tigger can stand on the edges of the text, freeing himself from a tree.  In another scene, the wind blows the words right of the page because it's such a very blustery day.  It's pretty neat to see.

There's some recycled animation, particularly in regard to Tigger.  Since the three mini-stories were originally shown separately, his "Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" song repeats multiple times, using the same dance sequence every time.  It only works because Tigger himself is so freakin' nuts.

There's no villain in the movie, which just seems so weird.  The movie seems like a nostalgic rambling through childhood innocence and a celebration of a kid's imagination.  It's charming and sweet, a little sleepy and slow.  But it isn't compelling - at least not to me - because there's no tension and no drama.  I mean, can you really, passionately care about whether tubby little Pooh gets the honey he craves?  I sure can't.

A little sweet, a little fun, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a nice diversion, but not one of Disney's best offerings.

6/10 stars.
moreteadk on January 13th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
I really love this one. Not so much for the story or lack of same, but more because Pooh was a large part of my childhood. It's one of the first things I can remember my parents reading to me (and I laughed my little tail off when Pooh did his morning excersises) and it was the first books, where I read an entire book all by myself. My father says the recipe for learning to read is a car holiday to France and a Pooh book, they you can read when you come home.

These days I use it mainly when I'm feeling depressed or sick or similar. It always cheers me up at least a little bit. Pooh Therapy. :)
Suzik00kaburra on January 13th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
How much you like the movie is probably directly related to how much you like Pooh :-p I don't particularly like Pooh, so I don't particularly like the movie. But my boyfriend has a special fondness for the book, so I'm sure he likes the movie much more than I do. And as you say, if you grew up with it the story is all the more special.
moreteadk on January 13th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, we are definitely shaped more by our childhoods than we think. I've known people who go all nostalgic by the mere mention of Anne of Green Gables, and I, never having read those books, just can't really see the connection. :)
Suzik00kaburra on January 13th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
I've never read Anne of Green Gables either!

I assume it's the Canadian equivalent of Little House on the Prairie, holding a similar place in their pop culture as Laura Ingalls Wilder's books do in American culture. I could be completely wrong on that one, though.
Suzik00kaburra on January 13th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I don't know what the Danish equivalent would be. I don't know that I've ever read a book by a Danish author, now that I think about it. Excepting HC Andersen, of course.