Review: 2011’s Winnie the Pooh a Wonderfully Whimsical New Classic

Very minor spoilers, but nothing to take away from the experience of watching the film.

Winnie the Pooh and the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood will always hold a special place in my heart.

Memories of growing up with that silly old bear will stay with me forever and hopefully, I’ll be able to create some great memories with Pooh and friends for my own children some day.

That is the beauty of the classic stories from A.A. Milne. And the beauty of Disney’s 2011 feature film.

I finally watched Winnie the Pooh and I went in expecting a fun little bit of nostalgia and a nice little visit with old friends. But it ended up being one of the funniest and most charming films I’ve ever seen.

The beautifully hand-drawn film features hilariously witty dialogue and some legitimately good original songs that infuse a contemporary nostalgia of sorts to the classic characters and story.

Pooh and the gang embark on a mission to save Christopher Robin from a horrible monster they believe is called a Backson, though the reality is that Owl just misreads Christopher Robin’s note he left for them saying he’d be “back soon.”

There is a great simplicity to the story, perfectly reminiscent of the classic Pooh feature films from Disney and especially the original books by A.A. Milne.
Watching everyone work together to save their friend while getting into their normal everyday hijinks is, maybe surprisingly for some, remarkably engaging to young and old alike.

Of course, children will love watching the film. But maybe its biggest accomplishment is allowing itself to be truly a family film.

Winnie the Pooh is unexpectedly hilarious, using wit and charm to draw uncontrollable laughter the entire film. And it is that charm especially that is so inherent in the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood that they are truly timeless.

The music and original songs are just wonderful. Catchy and fun, never forced or annoying, the musical numbers fit in perfectly, exuding that same wit and charm employed during the rest of the film.

At just a little over an hour, the film may feel too short even if it presents a full and complete story. It certainly leaves you wanting more and maybe that’s a good thing.

The film is beautifully animated and reminiscent of the first Disney adaptations. Its style is definitely a departure from the CGI animated films that seem to be the only animated films out there (with the exception of Studio Ghibli films and some independent ones as well). Being hand-drawn and with explicit care to draw upon the original animated films, Winnie the Pooh still features some great contemporary tweaks and updates to the characters.

I had my reservations when it was first announced that Disney would be bringing Pooh back to the big screen. But after finally getting around to watching it two years after it was first released, I am asking myself, What took you so long?!

Winnie the Pooh is a great triumph. A wonderfully whimsical, charming, sweet, warm and hilarious film that is truly for the whole family. Definitely a film worthy of a spot in any family film library that could be enjoyed over and over for generations to come.

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