Winnie the Pooh Review
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This summer’s family films have been all about frantic action and flashy 3D animation. They’ve been fast-paced and zany, with silly jokes and kooky characters. But, somehow, a short, hand-drawn cartoon about a silly old stuffed bear and his friends still manages to top them all.

In his latest adventure, Winnie the Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings) is interrupted in his quest to satisfy his rumbly tummy when he discovers that his poor friend, Eeyore (Bud Luckey), has lost his tail. Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter) helps Pooh and his friends plan a contest to find a replacement tail for Eeyore.

Pooh intends to find the perfect tail for Eeyore and win the big prize: a yummy pot of honey. But when Christopher Robin goes missing and wise old Owl (Craig Ferguson) misreads the note that he left behind, the gang has to work together to capture the terrible beast that they believe has taken their best friend.

  
 
Instead of using their iPhones or some kind of GPS tracking device to find their friend, Christopher Robin’s favorite friends use the same thing they always have: their imagination. And that’s what makes Winnie the Pooh such a charming film.

In developing the new Winnie the Pooh, Disney could have chosen to give the franchise a modern twist—with 21st-century gadgets, some fancy computer animation, a quirky new character or two, and maybe even a live-action Christopher Robin (played by the hottest young Disney Channel star, of course). Instead of giving in to the peer pressure of the latest animation trends, though, they chose to keep it old school, with the same old characters and the same old-fashioned style—even animating it all by hand.

For some, the simple story and nostalgic tone of Winnie the Pooh may be a bit too cute. But generations of Pooh’s loyal fans will be absolutely delighted to see the same lovable characters in another adorably imaginative adventure. From timid Piglet (Travis Oates) to boisterously batty Rabbit (Tom Kenny), the characters all have the same distinctive personalities that they’ve always had—and they wander across the pages of their own storybook, directed by their ever-present narrator (John Cleese).

Winnie the Pooh is a simple movie—without the typical hyperactive action and wacky comedy—but that doesn’t mean that it’s dull. There’s still plenty of action, as Pooh and his friends find themselves in all kinds of tricky situations. There’s loads of comedy, too—just not the kind of cheap laughs found in most of today’s animated films. Pooh is a smarter kids’ movie, preferring the clever puns and subtler humor usually found in Pixar movies (with the exception of Cars 2, that is)—along with short little songs and lots of rhymes. But if that’s not enough to keep you entertained, you can always count on Tigger (Jim Cummings) to bring his own brand of laughs with his bouncing and pouncing.

From the youngest member of your family to the oldest—anyone can enjoy this irresistibly charming little feel-good film. It’s warm and cuddly, and it’ll leave you feeling as happy and satisfied as a stuffed bear with a tummy full of honey.


Blu-ray Review:
The most adorable animated film of the summer is now available on Blu-ray and DVD—and it comes complete with a handful of irresistible extras.

Both discs include a pair of shorts: The Ballad of Nessie (which played before the film in theaters) and Pooh’s Balloon (which includes one of my favorite Pooh songs, “Little Black Rain Cloud”). There are also three deleted scenes (with director introductions), featuring an extended version of “The Tummy Song” and a few characters who didn’t make the final cut.

You’ll find a few more extras on the Blu-ray disc, which includes two more deleted scenes (like an extended scene with Eeyore), a sing-along track (which allows viewers to sing along with on-screen lyrics), and a short making-of featurette, Winnie the Pooh and His Story Too. It doesn’t go into much detail, but it does offer a brief look at the inspiration for the character, the original stories, and Disney’s adaptations.

The special features aren’t necessarily extensive—but, whether you love Winnie the Pooh for its classic story, its lovable characters, or even Zooey Deschanel’s cute soundtrack, you’re sure to find a little more to love on the Blu-ray release.

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