Winnie the Pooh 2011
The new Winnie the Pooh movie is out in the cinema. Did you know that? I totally recommend it for you and your children. Now, it’s not that Disney need me pushing their movies for them. And, really, should I? Disney who pushes princesses AT my girls, who is now trying to brand babies from birth? Well, sure, there is all that.
But I was talking with my good animation friend, Andy, about the movie and I’m the only other person he knows who as seen this new Pooh film. And he’s the only other person I know who has seen it.
And it deserves to be seen. It’s a really good movie.
Not only is it really good but, for me, it’s one of the most fun and child-friendly movies in years. It goes totally against the melodrama of so many children’s films, the need for ridiculously heightened ‘AGH WE’RE ALL DOOMED!’ sequences, the need for that naive, paranoia-inspiring yet seemingly ever-present scary ‘bad guy’, the Pixar ‘let’s hit ‘em with a tragedy at the start so they’re at an emotional disadvantage from then on’ trick, and even against the fart jokes.
It is more true to the lives of actual children. True to fun. Yes, there’s fear in places but in a totally child-like and child-friendly way.
Winnie the Pooh is about play.
It’s very faithful to the spirit of the Pooh classics and yet with nothing so dated that it doesn’t play to today’s children. It pulls Pooh back from being that weird grumpy old man he seems to have turned into in recent years to a naive and innocent child’s toy. The humour is safe and yet far from bland (safe does not equal bland). And, somehow, it actually makes Rabbit kind of fun. The animation isn’t always top notch but it’s mostly good and, at times, lovely. Owl in particular is really well animated.
Most of all, the movie has a soul.
It doesn’t feel overworked. You know when you watch a movie and you know a sequence has been rewritten a hundred times and it works great but you just know there was an energy there once that is now gone? Yeah, this movie doesn’t do that. It’s whimsical and just goes with its ideas.
A lovely 2D classic and a great first cinema experience for my sensitive daughter Daisy, who loved it.
But when it comes to the numbers, I fear Disney will see that just me, my girl, Andy and his girlfriend are the only people who watched it. And I can’t help feeling that execs will be saying, well, I told you 2D is dead. I told you we need an evil bad guy. I told you we need to murder someone in the opening sequence.
Well, films don’t need that. Children’s films definitely don’t need that. They just need play. And that’s what Winnie the Pooh has plenty of.
And if nobody goes to see this beyond the four of us, it will actually be because Disney, with all its marketing power, barely told anyone it was out.
So, I’m recommending you go and see Winnie the Pooh. Not because Disney need me pushing their movies. Not even because I’d like it to do well to show that we’d love to see more of this type of movie. But, really, just because it’s a film you and your children are bound to enjoy.