Movie 51: Winnie the Pooh

posterYou might be thinking. ‘wait a minute Rachel, you’ve already reviewed Winnie the Pooh’? And you would be right but I already reviewed Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh which was released in 1977 and is one of only 7 films I’ve given an A+ too.  Today we aren’t talking about that film but the 2011, Winnie the Pooh.  While not as strong as 1977, Winnie the Pooh has its own appeal and magic and I enjoy it.

As I mentioned in my Consider the Audience post one of the things that makes this Winnie the Pooh special is it is made for little kids.  Toddlers in fact, and any mother who has sat through Barney for the millionth time will tell you what a rarity quality for small children is.  The original is made for slightly older children, or at least the Heffalumps and Woozles is a little scary for the smallest of children.  It’s also a little bit longer and small children have a shorter attention span, which is why not many movies are made for the demographic, mostly just TV.

If the movie is not for you maybe you should ask yourself the question ‘maybe it just wasn’t made for me?’.  Most movies can’t be everything to everyone.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with a sweet, short, simple movie made to entertain toddlers.

Oh and did I mention I love the music by Zooey Deschanel and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the team behind Frozen!  I consider Winnie the Pooh to be one of the underrated, hidden gems of the Disney Canon.  Not as good as the first but still a lot to love considering it is for a different demographic.

The Production-

Wow there was nothing on this movie.  Very few production details anywhere I looked.  The few things I found is veterans Stephen Anderson and Don Hall directed. Burny Mattinson, a Pooh veteran, was a lead storyboard artist and they hired a new cast including Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Tom Kenny as Rabbit and Craig Ferguson as Owl.

Here is the trailer

For the music they had new songs except for the title Sherman Brother’s song which is sung by Zooey Deschanel.  I love the new intro.

Some critics didn’t like the length but again that’s actually its big selling point.  63 minutes is perfect for a little child.  Plus, the original was only 11 minutes longer, so is that really such a big deal?  Winnie the Pooh went in against a Harry Potter movie but it still did ok.  Made 44.7 mil in theater on budget of 30.

The animation is lovely and it is great to see 2D back again with Disney as much as I enjoy the computer generated movies.

The Story-

There are 2 stories, instead of 4 that make up Winnie the Pooh.  Our first story is helping Eeyore find his tail.   The writing is very sharp and I found myself laughing throughout.

The gain tries a number of different possibilities for Eeyore’s tail but nothing is working.  Finally they decide to ask Christopher Robin.

eeyoreChristopher’s eyes follow the anime big eye look we saw in Tangled and other films which bothers some but not me.

winnie 2011

They don’t have much luck finding a suitable tail when the day is done.  The next morning they find a note from Christopher


The smart one of the group, Owl, determines Christopher has been taken by the Backson and is in trouble!  We get a charming song that isn’t too scary for little kids but still nostalgic for adults. I’ve sat with little kids watching this number and they just love it!

So the gang goes out to find the Backson


There’s interactions with the narrator just as in the original and 4th wall jokes that are very dry and funny.  You also have characters behaving like little children such as when Piglet cuts up the rope to save the gang.

We also get a cute song where Pooh dreams of honey.

Eventually Christopher returns and explains the confusion and we get our gang back together again.  It’s as simple as that!


Movie Review/Conclusion-

Let me again reiterate, this movie is not for everyone but I don’t think it is trying to be.  What it is trying to be, a simple movie for very young children, it does very well.  It’s sweet and Winnie the Pooh continues to mean childhood in 2011 as it did in 1977.

There are enough little jokes and play on words like when Owl says ‘issue’ and the gang thinks he’s say ‘achew’ and blessing him.  That’s clever and funny.  It’s a soft, simple, short movie that parents will enjoy and their little one’s will fall in love with.

The music is a great folksy take on Winnie the Pooh and the animation is bright and colorful.  I love that it doesn’t shout at your kids or use hip lingo or stories meant for older kids.  It gives simple stories and let’s their imaginations go wild.  I can’t imagine a little girl or boy that wouldn’t love Winnie the Pooh.  It’s bright and colorful and full of warmth and charm.

If I was going to fault it I’d say some of the new voices aren’t perfect but I don’t hate them either.  They are just ok. Also they could have made the Backson story a little shorter to fit in one more plot device.

But I really do love it and hope they make more feature films for Winnie and company.  Of course, I’ve liked all the Winnie the Pooh movies, Disney Canon or not (I had 3 siblings over 10 years younger than me so I got used to watching small children’s programming and understanding what was quality and engaging for them and what is not.  Winnie the Pooh is).

Curious George is another great choice for very small children if you are looking for suggestions.

Overall Grade- B

22 thoughts on “Movie 51: Winnie the Pooh

  1. I still haven’t watched it. I can’t bring myself to do it, because the original movie was a perfect movie which a perfect ending. There are some movies which simply shouldn’t have a sequel (much less a ton of direct to video ones). Also…I don’t like the songs. I really don’t like them. The backson sequence for example I appreciate for thinking out of the box animation wise. I really, really want to like it. But the “speak sing” they do in it just puts me off. Hard.
    Plus, every scene people pointed out to me as especially funny or good has this word plays. Which is well enough if you speak English. But it is nearly untranslatable. As a result children in other countries can’t really get, and those who speak English well enough to watch the original are way past the age of the target group.

    I honestly thing that Disney didn’t really think this one trough.

    1. I respect your opinion but yeah I think the opposite in almost every way. Oh well. To each his or her own. I agree not as good as the first but still a quiet, sweet film for little kids. Those translation issues make sense and probably do hurt the humor.
      So I guess just different tastes. I like the music, script, colors, story and it’s loving tribute to the original.

      1. I don’t doubt that it is a nice movie for kids. It most likely is.

        I can’t get over the change in the art style for Christopher Robin, either.

      2. I didn’t mind Christopher. Oh well. I really enjoy it and my nieces loved it. If you ever do watch it you will probably hate it because you’ve made up your mind you will. This isn’t as good as 1977 but it was going for a slightly different demographic and softer style and I think that’s great. But luckily there are both so everyone wins 🙂

      3. I’m not opposed to sequels as long as they keep with the spirit of the original. Sometimes they can even be better (like Rescuers Down Under for me). Fantasia 2000 didn’t keep with spirit and purpose of original. 2011 Winnie the Pooh does and while not as good as 1977 I like it’s softer, more folksy tone.

      4. I am not against sequels either, as long as they were done for the right reasons. But in this case the first movie had the perfect conclusion. It had a really thoughtful message about childhood and managed to address both little children and adults. It didn’t have to be into your face with your messages, but they were there. Sometimes it is just better to let it be.

        There are few Disney movies for which a sequel makes sense. The Rescuers as well as The Great Mouse Detective are practically made for a sequel. Fantasia was supposed to have sequels from the get go. One could certainly make another movie which is set in the world of Treasure Planet (which will never happen because of the lack of success of the original movie, but it would have been neat). But those are the exception, not the rule. Most movies are too neatly tied up for a sequel which doesn’t feel contrived.

      5. I don’t think 2011 is in your face with it’s messages. It’s very soft and subtle movie. I totally think it fits the spirit of the original. I agree with you however the ending is perfect in the original. That said, I don’t think this tarnishes that. It’s a lovely, sweet film for toddlers. If it was a crass modern movie for kids than I would have big issues. I actually give them some credit for toning down the various other theatrical releases (Tigger Movie, Piglet Movie, Heffalump Movie) and going back to the calmness and simplicity of the original.

        Fantasia was supposed to have sequels but to me it didn’t fit the spirit of the original, which was a concert piece and turned it into a clip show.

        I think Great Mouse Detective makes tons of sense for a sequel with the cases and all.

        I think it just depends on the writing as far as sequels. When it is a cash grab than it usually sucks but if time and effort put into it than a lot of the times it will be very good.

        Great example is Disney channel’s recent Girl Meets World . I LOVED the TV show Boy Meets World and was skeptical when they announced the sequel show. However, they took 2 years in development and made a great show. I am a huge fan and not just for nostalgia.

        I feel it’s the same thing they were able to accomplish with Winnie the Pooh. It’s not perfect but a worthy addition to the franchise.

      6. Oh, I agree about the tone of Fantasy 2000…but it was a sequel which made sense to me. I also look forward to the planed sequel of Wreck it Ralph.

      7. That’s fair. I am curious about wreck it ralph because first time I saw it I was not a fan. I am so not a video gamer and it didn’t engage me but hopefully it will this time

      8. Christopher’s new eyes definitely are something that you need to get used to during the film, especially since most of the sequels also have the dot eyes.

      9. It’s true. It does have those big Korean animation eyes that is a little distracting but I got used to it like you said.

  2. Well, you already know what I think of it, lol. I’m not a fan.

    I think they steal too many plot points from ‘Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin’, I feel that Rabbit and Owl’s personalities are somewhat the same, which shouldn’t be, I’m not a fan of any of the songs (thank God the songwriters wrote the ‘Frozen’ songs to make me somewhat like them), and all-in-all, I’m not a fan.

    And Jim Cummings voicing Pooh and Tigger isn’t really a new cast. Yes, he’s new when compared to the 1977 film, but he’s been voicing Pooh and Tigger since the 80’s in multiple Pooh TV shows and other Pooh films.

    1. Fair enough. I mispoke when I said Jim Cummings was new.
      Yeah it being taken from another release doesn’t bother me. Studios do that all the time- take something for one audience and retool it for another.
      I agree with you on rabbit and owl.
      I really love the music. To me that’s the films strength but to each their own.
      I guess there’s something for everyone in the canon!

  3. Well, I think this film is okay. It is nice to watch, but it is something I would not willingly want to watch 3 times back to back. I just don’t think this was a good idea to put back on the big screen, especially after all of those sequels, and using this to bring back traditional animation. It just seemed like a fail from the start. But overall, a sweet movie.

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