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Winnie the Pooh

a film by
Stephen J. Anderson & Don Hall

In this day and age of computer generated ogres and 3D Mr. Potato Heads, where all our animated needs are met with slick, picture perfect images that leap from the screen like screaming mimi's of mass appeal marketing that beg its millions of calf-fed viewers to love and adore it, it is more than a welcomed surprise to find such an old fashioned style animated film as the new Winnie the Pooh. Using hand drawn animation cels, its lines visible like a work in progress (purposely old school), this latest entry from Walt Disney Animation Studios (the old school branch of the Disney conglomerate), based on three different stories by A.A. Milne, may not be a big must see for those so used to Pixar and their cooley antiseptic ilk, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth the brief time (clocking in at a mere 69 minutes) it would take to watch this simple yet quite entertaining film.

In reality, Pooh doesn't have all the pop culture references one would find in a Pixar or Dreamworks animation (there is a cute Indiana Jones moment though) and may seem a bit boring to the average, non animation freak adult, but with its charming nostalgic feel and aforementioned use of hand drawn images (there are a few moments of computer enhancement, most notably in a honey-drenched dream sequence) and a surprisingly well-cast collection of voice actors, several of which are close enough in voice and cadence to their predecessors to almost seem as if they are channeling Sterling Holloway and Paul Winchell (narrator John Cleese does his best Sebastion Cabot as well and kewpie doll-eyed Zooey Deschanel does a sweetly melodic job on song duty) this new version that plays out like the old version (without any of the more recent additions to the Pooh cast of characters) is a fun fun fun movie, and perhaps it won't take you to infinity and beyond, its simple theme (Pooh likes honey, Tigger is a bit manic, Eeyore is bummed out and Owl is a blusterbuss) and amiable outlook are well worth the time and price of admission. [07/25/11]

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