Making the Grades
Every parent likely has a handful of books their children want to have read again and again—even if the bookshelves are lined with options. (Two of our favorites were Red is Best and The Monster at the End of this Book.) Kids seem to crave the familiarity of a story they know and love. And that’s what audiences will find in this gentle tale adapted from the writings of A.A. Milne.
Nothing remarkably original happens. The gloomy Eeyore’s (voice of Bud Luckey) tail goes missing. Owl (voice of Craig Ferguson) pontificates. Rabbit (voice of Tom Kenny) loses his composure—more than once. Tigger (voice of Jim Cummings) bounces his way into trouble and Winnie the Pooh (also voiced by Jim Cummings) searches for honey to fill his rumbly tummy. Yet those recurring storylines are exactly what makes Winnie the Pooh so comfortably charming.
While looking for some of the sweet, golden liquid to curb his hunger, Pooh stumbles upon a penned paper at Christopher Robin’s house. Being a bear of very little brains, he can’t read the words so he takes it to Owl. Given an opportunity to display his scholarly superiority, Owl launches into a lengthy misinterpretation of the note. By the time he is finished reading, the critters of the Hundred Acre Woods are convinced Christopher Robin (voice of Jack Boulter) has been kidnapped by a horned, hairy, red-headed creature called a Backson (voice of Huell Howser).
Despite their understandable apprehensions, these plucky pals push their fears aside and resolve to rescue their friend. Under Rabbit’s persistent leadership, they mount an elaborate military-like operation to lure the scary beast in a pit they have dug. But before long, they are the ones who are trapped.
Tensions and tempers rise in the confined space. Fortunately, the dialogue is sprinkled with plenty of humor that keeps the suspense from getting too intense. The script also offers fun asides to entertain the adults and a score of new musical numbers (including the song "So Long," written and performed by actress/musician Zooey Deschanel) that will keep the attention of all but the youngest audience members. Finally, thanks to Pooh’s unpretentious efforts, they escape (much to the relief of the little viewers sitting next to me).
Clocking in at just over an hour, Winnie The Pooh is a perfect outing for young moviegoers and a delightful treat for those of us who’ve come to appreciate the chubby little cubby’s oversized heart.
Note: Disney is releasing The Ballad of Nessie, a short film (6 minutes) that will run with this movie. It is also rated G by the MPAA.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Winnie The Pooh.