Friday, November 12, 2010

Whimsy returns to Winnie the Pooh

A lot has been floating around the blogosphere about the new "Winnie the Pooh" film. At first, I thought nothing of it. With the last "Pooh" inspired film, 2005's "Pooh's Heffalump Movie," a film I didn't even bother to see, I assumed that this new film would be more of the same: thoughtless material released to sell some merchandise and appease Disney's younger audience. Any Disney film that is worth mentioning appeals to every age group, whether those age groups want to admit it or not.

Then, last night, I watched the first trailer for the new "Winnie the Pooh" film, and I ate my words like a pot of golden honey.

As a child, I was a huge fan of 1977's "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," watching the series of vignettes repeatedly. Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day would have to be my favorite, but all three combined to be one my favorite childhood Disney films. Since that film, it's been downhill for Pooh, Christopher Robin and the other inhabitant of the 100 Acre wood. Exhibit A and B: The Tigger Movie and Piglet's Big Movie. I'm sure there are reasons to be fond of the films, but they failed to capture the magic of "The Many Adventures."

But the magic has been recaptured with the the new "Winnie the Pooh" film, set to be released in 2011. They've brought back the classic look, with 2D animation and a glow that brings back fond memories of the classic original. Best of all, they brought in the best thing to ever happen to the modern Disney film studios: John Lasseter. He'll be overseeing production, meaning he doesn't have a huge influence, but he's got some, and that counts.

According to Fused Film, the new film will feature voices of Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob SquarePants”) and Bud Luckey. Actress/musician/singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel will provide the vocals for a special rendition of the beloved “Winnie the Pooh” theme song. I don't know how I feel about that last part: modern renditions of classic Disney songs by currently popular artists generally fall flat and are frustratingly annoying.

The trailer was masterfully done, with the perfect musical choice of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," whose lyrics perfectly depict the story of the trailer. It really grasp your emotions, a great marketing tool, because there is now way anyone who loved "The Many Adventures" will not want to see this film.

And now the countdown to July 15, 2011 begins.  

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