My opinion right after watching film
My opinion of the film is that while it is very charming and while it definitely has the integrity of the first Winnie the Pooh, it drags, though it is only really 50 minutes long. It was not a good idea for this to be a project to revamp traditional animation, and I honestly feel like the entire purpose of this film is for sabotage and an excuse as to why 2d is dead in WDAS. It is still a good enough film, and a very likable film, though it is clearly for small children.
I cannot really find much information on the production, other than the fact that the same people worked on this film that also worked on Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Home on the Range, Brother Bear, Meet the Robinsons, and The Princess and the Frog. They used the same program for this film that they did for The Princess and the Frog; Toon Boom Animation’s Harmony Software. There were going to be 5 short stories form the original books, but they cut it down to 3.
So just like in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the movie starts with us in Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter)’s room, and the narrator John Cleese tells us that he has a huge imagination, which is where we are taken into the land of The Hundred Acre Woods, where Zoey Deeshanel sings a good version of the song Winnie the Pooh.
So we are taken to the first chapter, titled “Winnie the Pooh has an important thing to do”, and Winnie (Jim Cummings) wakes up to be extremely hungry. The narrator tells him to get his lazy ass up to start the plot, and Pooh goes on and sings about how his tummy is rumbling for some good honey.
After Pooh is done singing his honey song, he goes to see Eeyore (Bud Luckey), who tells him that he is not having a good day because his tail is missing. They soon go to Owl (Craig Ferguson), who was in the middle of writing his memoirs. They tell Owl to tell them what to do to get everyone to find Eeyore’s tail, and he tells them to issue a reward, and because he says “issue”, they think he is sneezing. Apparently this is a reference to the joke in the initial books.
They post signs all around, telling the rest of the cast that there is a very important thing to do, and we get a song titled that, and it reminds me of the women that would sing in the choir songs on the movies from the Golden, Package, Silver, and Dark era films. Everyone that is of importance in the movie meets up, and Christopher Robin ring-leads the search to find a tail for Eeyore.
Kanga (Kristen Anderson-Lopez) wins the reward, as she manages to knit a scarf to use for his tail, and just as everybody is about to sing, she nicely tells them to stfu with all of that singing.
The next day, Pooh goes to Christopher Robin’s house, with a sign that says “be back soon”, which causes another meeting with everyone, and they panic, and think that Christopher Robin was kidnapped, by the monster Backson, which of course results into another song.
Tigger (Jim Cummings) soon abandons that idea, and he has Eeyore work with him, and he wants Eeyore to be a Tigger 2 for some reason, and when Tigger rants on in his song, he notices a bunch of tracks, which he sees are a bunch of Backson tracks.
The writers finally remember that Pooh is suffering from some serious starvation, they have him imagine that honey is everywhere, and we get another honey song, where he is singing about how honey is everywhere. I have to say that this is a nice song, and the honey looks BEAUTIFUL in this sequence. I think there are some CGI elements in it. Pooh gets stuck in the trap they dug out, and everyone but Tigger decides to help him out (Eeyore joined them after he let Tigger, who is still running around). But they all end up stuck in the trap with Pooh.
After this long chase, Tigger and Piglet end up stuck in the pit they dug, but after the letters from the book fall in the pit, they climb it up, and they bump into Christopher Robin, who is in a school outfit, and asks them wtf is going on. They tell him of his note, and he laughs ad they misunderstood what it said, and he said that he would be back soon, cause he had to go to school.
He goes to Owl’s house, and recognizes that the bell-ringer looks a lot like Eeyore’s tail. Owl is shocked that it is Eeyore’s tail (he should have known that), but he was too focused on finishing his memoir. He returns Eeyore’s tail, and is rewarded with a HUGE pot of honey for his selflesness; putting off his starvation to help out a friend, and he eats the jar happily. Him and Christopher later goes on a walk, and he tells Pooh that he is proud of him. I have to say that they did wrap up all of the plots they inserted in the film decently.
Since this is apparently supposed to be a package film, I will write this as it is that formula. Plus, there is not much to say about anyone in the cast. Literally, everyone is the exact same as they were in the first film, no one developed, and nothing new is learned about them. You can excuse this because this is all in Christopher Robin’s imagination, and he is a little boy who cannot create such complex things like ways to develop characters. Eh.
The animation is pretty good. The thing that really stood out to me was the honey. They added so much texture and volume to the honey, that my eyes were literally glued to it, wanting to see more. The Acre Woods still has the original touch, but the colors are a little bit brighter. Christopher Robin was gained some normal eyes, but I did not mind it much.
I have to say that the music is pretty good. It is by the same people who did the soundtrack for Frozen. Though I do not know many of the titles of the songs, I definitely remember a lot of them. The Backson and the Honey songs are the ones that stand out the most, and the score was very laidback, just like the actual film and the mood in the film is.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on April 15, 2011 in Europe, and July 15th, 2011 in North America, it did not do well in the box office. It opened at #6 on opening weekend behind the final Harry Potters film. Its end on theaters was September 22, 2011, and it made a small amount of $26,692,846 domestically, and $18,000,000 overseas, with a total amount of $44,692,846. Whatever hope there was for traditional animation after the mediocre box office results of PatF, this film shattered completely with the embarrassing box office results.
It received critical praise, for being a classic, keeping in touch with the original film, and having charm, good animation, and all of that typical jazz, but many criticized the overly short time span.
It won an Annie for Storyboarding, but that is it. It was nominated for a few more nominations, but that is it.
This movie is remembered today as being the probable final traditionally animated film this studio will ever release, and is the Revival’s equivalent of The Rescuers Down Under. Otherwise, it is not spoken about, and is forgettable.
= 28.5/40 = 71%
14 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Winnie the Pooh”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I just can’t like this movie because I feel it’s a bad ripoff of ‘Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin’.
Yes, you have said it. I have not watched that movie (maybe I watched it when I was very little, but I do not remember), but I WILL watch ‘Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin’ next year, and see if you are right.
It was a REALLY bad idea to put this film out, when there has been so many “Winnie the Pooh” sequels for the past decade before that (many being theatrical).
I remember unshavedmouse making an excellent point in saying that since the general public doesn’t know what the Disney Canon is, they would think that this ‘Winnie the Pooh’ film is just like any of the past theatrically released ‘Winnie the Pooh’ films, most of which weren’t much good. And he names that as the main reason why this movie flopped.
I still can’t bring myself to watch it because for one I felt that the first one had the perfect conclusion and two, the way they drew Christopher Robin irritates me. I really don’t get why they changed the drawing style for him.
It did have the perfect conclusion, but we all know by now that perfect endings do not stop the plague that is sequelitis.
I do not know why they felt the need to change his eyes either. Did they think that the audience today isn’t used to dotted eyes, or it won’t make us relate to him? I will never know the answer for that one.
No idea, but it creeps me out, big time.
Totally agree. This movie was set up to fail so that they could have an excuse to kill off traditional animation at the studio for good. I mean, putting this film up against Harry Potter? Oh gee, I wonder which film will get more viewers? Well congratulations whoever made this decision, you’ve successfully killed 2D animated movies at WDAS. I think I’ll let Scrat sum up my final thoughts on this issue:
I saw this film this past week and I enjoyed it. Yeah, the fact that Pooh’s tummy moves when he’s hungry is a little distracting, and I see where you’re coming from with the pacing and story issues, but I thought the animation and songs were great, and the characters are pretty likable. I haven’t seen the other Pooh film before. I’ll put that on my “to watch” list.
So, to clarify, you’re going to be reviewing all the Disney direct to video movies next year, correct? Starting with The Return of Jafar and working your way down the line in order of the year they were released?
It was pathetic that they put it up against the FINAL Harry Potter film, and that they would even put this up as a film to revive traditional animation. Not a smart decision at all, and it is clear that they knew that this would not be successful.
This film is not a bad film at all, and there is definitely a lot of charm to it. His stomach moving around like that definitely caught me by surprise the first time I watched this film. The film was just way too short, and it did suffer from pacing, just like its predecessor did. You should definitely watch the 1977 film.
Yes, I will be reviewing all of the direct-to-video films next year, and will go up to the Planes movies. The Return of Jafar will definitely be in early January. I will make the Disneytoons introduction blog on New Years (like I did with WDAS this year), and post the first review on the next Sunday, and so on. I made the list, and it will take roughly around a year.
I really liked this movie and was charmed like you were. It’s not as good as the original but I think it is geared towards very small children. I don’t think the Harry Potter scheduling was as dubious as you do. They want their films to make money. If 2D can make them money than they aren’t seeking for reasons to not make money. I think they knew this was more for dvd sales not a huge box office. So little is made for toddlers that is quality so I appreciate this film. It is sweet and simple and even the length is perfect for a toddler.
They may have made an error in judgement with the release weekend but really I don’t think a bunch of toddlers are going to see Harry Potter and that’s who the movie was made for. The idea that they made the movie to bury 2D animation is a howler of a conspiracy theory. They wanted this movie to make money and it did. It was a very cheap movie to make only 30 million so it made 44 at the box office with its main income being from DVD sales. All forms of movies go in phases and fads. If they can make money 2D will be back and don’t forget 2 2D animated movies this year were released so it’s not totally dead. But anyway this was a sweet simple movie aimed at toddlers and it does its job very well.
I still think that Winnie the Pooh was targeting the people who felt nostalgic to the mega franchise, and children too. And from growing up as a child form the Harry Potter films, I know that people from all ages (though a lot of children) watch it, so I do see Harry Potter as competition.
They should not have released this in theaters, because even if you take away from the budget, the studio has to pay millions to theaters, to get them to play the movie, and millions to promote the film, so the amount that WDAS actually got from Winnie the Pooh is even smaller.
This was also during the time that big budget studios Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 were in production, and the little money that this film got went into those films.
I hope that traditional animation becomes mainstream again, but I would not be shocked if it does not.
I think that is fair. I agree it probably should have been straight to video; although the quality is on a higher level than those films.
I wouldnt be surprised if we get a Liaka type company that specializes in 2D as their niche. It may not be the way of the big studios but if a smaller company can make big money on 2D than others will follow.
I think it’s a tough film to market because it does skew very young even in it’s running time but they could have tried harder but I still dont think it was some conspiracy to get rid of 2D animation
I actually don’t care if 2D becomes mainstream again. If smaller studios can put out good 2D work it doesn’t matter to me. In the end whether 2D, CG, stop motion or anything else it all comes down to the story.