Winnie The Pooh – Our Bear For All Seasons

28 03 2011

Sarah Palin? Wants to tax honey?

There was a time when life seemed to move slower. A time before Facebook and Twitter, when a mobile phone was just moving it from the hallway table and when we could happily make our own entertainment without the need to plug in and tune out.  A time when a silly old bear called Winnie the Pooh had all the answers that we needed.

This year, Winnie the Pooh will be celebrating his 85th birthday.

For a “bear of very little brain” this is a tremendous milestone and one that will be celebrated by Walt Disney releasing their 51st animated feature that will star not just Pooh but Tigger, Piglet and all of the beloved characters from the Hundred Acre Wood.  Simply known as ‘Winnie the Pooh’, the movie will be hitting cinema screens this summer and marks a return by the studio to traditional animation techniques.

Originally slated to be the latest 3D experience, Winnie the Pooh will be a 2D presentation with the movie utilising the hand-drawn animation that was so important in bringing the world imagined by A.A. Milne (the creator of the original stories) to life in Disney’s previous full-length films such as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Tigger Movie. The decision by Disney to not force a 3D version of Tigger upon us is something that should be applauded, far too many 3D experiences make your head hurt without the need to be bounced.

With the this latest WTP film,  Disney are also taking the unusual step of releasing the movie in the UK first (April 15) – an acknowledgment to the origins of a bear who is still impressed by anyone who can spell Tuesday. Although anyone who wants to see the original bear “in the flesh” will find him quietly sitting in the basement of the New York Public Library (surrounded by his friends and minding his own business).

For children who have never seen a Winnie the Pooh Movie or even sat down to watch a DVD, this will be the perfect chance to spend some time in the company of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo. Adults returning to the spot where Christopher Robin plays will be greeted by old friends with many of the characters’ voices being brought to life by the same voiceover artists who first enthralled them, with the added bonus of John Cleese now being responsible for allowing the narration to flow as freely as a game of Pooh-sticks.

But the Winnie the Pooh Movie is not just about a return to core animation techniques, it brings an iconic children’s character back to life and back to our cinema screens. By adapting stories from the original books that haven’t been animated before, Winnie the Pooh will introduce a new audience to the traditional themes of friendship and adventure that made repeated trips to the books an important part of growing up.

Revolving around Winnie the Pooh himself, the movie will include an expedition to the North Pole, a new tail for the perennially gloomy Eeyore and a busy day for Rabbit. For those who love Tigger, he will probably be more hindrance than help in all of these adventures, whilst Piglet will continue to worry about being very small.

Winnie the Pooh is one of the most enduring characters in the Disney stable and his homespun wisdom and simple way of looking at life have enchanted children and adults for years. Seemingly obsessed with honey, Pooh comes from world that seems a million miles away from the one we inhabit now.

The manner in which he deals with situations such as eating too much at Rabbit’s house, rescuing his best friend Piglet from floods or even calming down the frenzy of energy that is Tigger are beautiful in their simplicity. Where others rush in with no thought, Winnie the Pooh is always the one who actually solves the problem.

It is hard to imagine a world without Winnie the Pooh.

His image is iconic and he has been immortalized on celluloid since the original short film first aired in 1966. Winnie the Pooh is a link to our past, the chance to remember having stories read to us by our parents or before going to bed. A.A. Milne wrote the books for his own son (on whom Christopher Robin was based) and these stories didn’t rely on disgruntled ogres, over-talkative donkeys or teenage wizards to be loved by children and adults alike.

In a world where everything seems to rush by at one hundred miles an hour, Winnie the Pooh is an oasis of calm in the whirlpool of life, the answer when we didn’t know the question.

Maybe all we need to do is find a quiet thinking spot, open a small pot of honey and remember how simple life used to be.






One response

11 04 2011

Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger are like the Three Stooges of Disney.

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