MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on DVDs. Pick of the Week: Blu-ray. Winnie the Pooh

“Winnie the Pooh” (Two disc Blu-ray/DVD; Also Three disc Blu-ray 3D/DVD/Digital) (Three and a Half Stars)
U.S.: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall; 2011 (Walt Disney)
Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin…
A. A. Milne
He was one of the boon bosom companions of my early childhood: Winnie-the-Pooh or Edward Bear or Winnie-ther-Pooh, as he was variously called — bright little golden bear of the books by A. A. Milne and his perfect illustrator Ernest (E.H.) Shepard. From the time I learned to read — one night when I was six thanks to my book-loving mother Edna and no thanks at all to the ill-advised, teaching-challenged  Chicago elementary school I was attending — one or the other of the two Pooh books (“Winnie-the-Pooh” or “The House at Pooh Corner”) would be peeking out from our bookshelves.
They were among the first books I read by myself (after first having had them read to me by Edna), and unlike most childhood toys or tales, I never outgrew them. A copy of “Winnie-the-Pooh” still peeks out from one of my bookshelves, wedged between “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs and “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, with an unlikely comrade, Nikolai Gogol’s “Dead Souls,” poking them from behind.
These books are all alive for me, as I‘m sure yours are alive for you. Silly old bear! Silly old Gogol! None of them knows or understands that their books, their homes, may one day be an extinct species, replaced wholly by the kind of electronic texts you’re reading now. Instead, there they all sit and rub dust jackets together — “”The Wizard of Oz” (Baum‘s, not Judy’s) and “Vanity Fair” and “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Treasure Island“ a little ways away — with the Pooh book at the temporary center of things, its teddy-bearish residents totally preoccupied with the problems of life in the Hundred Acre Wood, just as they were decades and oh long decades ago, when we were six.
All this is by way of saying that it’s the Milne-Shepard originals that I love, and not as much all the cute, at first fine, but eventually humdrum Disney cartoons about Pooh and friends that started appearing in 1966 with “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree,” and continued with the Oscar-winning 1968 “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” (the two best, directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and starring the unmatchably wistful Sterling Holloway as the Voice of Pooh). Those Disney-Poohs went on and on, in all kinds of guises — their longevity fueled, no doubt, by the lucrative business in Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore dolls available at the Disney Stores. Those first two Disney Poohs were good; then their successors got crass, bright, loud and unfaithful, like much else.
You may fear that’s what you’ll get here. Not at all. Winnie the Pooh, first Pooh feature in several decades, directed and co-written (with others) by Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall (Meet the Robinsons), and, most importantly, executive produced by John Lasseter, the benevolent cartoons-of-all-kinds-loving head of The Disney Studio — owes a lot of its inspiration not just to the first few movies but to Milne and Shepard. That influence is so pervasive that the movie-makers occasionally put us right between the open pages of a Pooh book and let the words and letters slip and slither all over the page as the Pooh citizenry slides over the illustrations.
There are some carry-overs from the old Disneys, but they’re mostly welcome: Jim Cummings, who voices here both Pooh and Tigger (and has done Pooh many times in many formats), nicely replicates Holloway’s familiar dreamy tones. There are a couple of Richard and Robert Sherman Pooh songs (plus six new ones from songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, mostly sung by Zooey Deschanel). And there’s that silly little red sweater they put on Pooh. 

The voices are apropos: Cummings’ Pooh and Tigger, Travis Oates as bubbly sidekick Piglet, Bud Luckey as mournful donkey Eeyore (what a wonderful name!), Craig Ferguson as pompous egghead Owl, Anderson-Lopez and Wyatt Dean Hall as motherly Kanga and her little Roo, Tom Kenny as rabbitty Rabbit, and Jack Boulter as Christopher Robin — in real life Milne‘s little son and in book life, squire of the Hundred Acre Wood.
But the movie draws most of its plot and visual style from the original Pooh stories, slightly mooshed together. Pooh wanders in search of honey (excuse me, “hunny”), Piglet gets stuck in a beehive, Eeyore loses his tale. Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding (Pooh’s specialty), Christopher Robin is reported missing, perhaps kidnapped by a monster named Backson (a silly misreading, it turns out, of Christopher’s cheerful note, saying “back soon”). Everyone falls in a hole. Everything gets straightened out. A typical day in the Hundred Acre Wood that. John Cleese narrates it all, with all the silliness a Monty Pythonite and now a Pooh bloke can muster.
Say “Oh, Poo!“ if you like. Sarcastically say, along with acid-tongued Dorothy Parker (when, as The New Yorker’s “Constant Reader,”  she reviewed Milne’s book), “Tonstant weader fwoed up.” (She makes me laugh, but I disagree.)

 The movie, I think will delight (is delighting) children of all kinds, and maybe some more literary teens, and parents of course, and adults who remember the past, which hopefully included a Pooh book or two. I think Lasseter was very smart to make another Pooh movie — remember all those Pooh toys on all those shelves — and even smarter to make it in this literary, old-fashioned manner, in this old-fashioned cartoon style, with 2D and exquisite line drawings. (There’s even a pretty good old-fashioned short cartoon opening for it, about the Loch Ness Monster, called The Ballad of Nessie.
Now, the new Winnie the Pooh could have been closer to Shepard, and I wish it were, and maybe they’ll do that someday. (For TV?) Meanwhile, I have a suggestion. When they put out the DVD of this Winnie the Pooh, they should include a little booklet, with one or two (or maybe more) of the original Milne Pooh stories, and with the original E. H. Shepard illustrations. The originals, mind you.
Books may indeed one day become rare as heffalumps. But children now and in generations to come, even if they’ve been Internetted to the brim, still deserve a chance at the delight so many of their predecessors got from these stories, from these books, from this silly little bear, from this Pooh who’s always going astray and sticking his head in another hunny pot, but who breathes on the page like few others.
He nodded and went out, and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh — bump, bump, bump — going up the stairs behind him. — Milne

Extras: Short cartoon, The Ballad of Nessie (Three Stars); Featurettes.

Copyrighted illustration by E. H. Shepard
Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.


awesome stuff. OK I would like to contribute as well by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to modify. check it out at All custom premade files, many of them totally free to get. Also, check out Dow on: Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more ...

cool post. OK I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to customize. check it out at All custom templates, many of them dirt cheap or free to get. Also, check out Downlo on: Wilmington on Movies: I'm Still Here, Soul Kitchen and Bran Nue Dae

awesome post. Now I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some beautiful and easy to modify. take a look at All custom premade files, many of them free to get. Also, check out DownloadSoho.c on: MW on Movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Paranormal Activity 2, and CIFF Wrap-Up

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon