The willy, nilly, silly ole’ bear is back and in just days Winnie the Pooh and his friends will hit theaters July 15th in the new Winnie the Pooh movie.
On Saturday, Disney held a private screening of the Winnie the Pooh movie at Atlanta’s Regal theater 16 at Atlantic Station and I got to see it once again but this time I had the chance to bring my kids. I think I was more excited than they were. Probably because I knew how good the movie was and was anxious to see how they would respond to it.
The directors of the movie Don Hall and Stephen Anderson said they took six stories from the original Pooh books and weaved them into one narrative. The Winnie the Pooh film focuses on finding Eeyore’s tail. All of the original characters are back, Christopher Robin, Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Piglet and Owl. The stuffed characters go off on a mindless “very important” adventure of trying to find their friend Christopher Robin and Eeyore’s missing tail, through a series of contests, mishaps and trouble that only these stuffed friends could muster up.
This Pooh is definitely updated. Hall and Anderson did a wonderful job of bringing Pooh into the new age. They speeded things up with fast-paces songs, eye-popping animations and brought the story to life by incorporating, well, the actual story. What I mean is that the narrator is a very important part of the story and the words from the A.A. Milne book literally leaps off the pages.
At one point, the words even helped Pooh to get out of a tough situation. And that’s all I will say without giving too much away!
But it’s the characters in the story that makes this sweet tale come alive. Pooh is just himself, laid back, a little lazy and looking to strike gold– gold-en honey, that is! The sometimes clueless crew gather around and set out to find Eeyore’s missing tail but get sidetracked by what they believe is a monster called the “Backson” who kidnapped Christopher Robin. And little old Piglet has to find the courage to help his friends, even though he bumbles a couple of attempts. Rabbit is fussy as ever but leads the pack and put together a plan to get Christoper Robin back. Owl is the know-it-all who leads the group a little off course and Kanga is there giving her motherly support and Roo remains as cute as ever going along with his mother’s wishes. And Eeyore? He’s not happy at all about the whole ordeal. His tail goes through quite a few very funny transformations too.
This movie is short and sweet as well. I love that. Especially when you’ve got anxious little ones who keeps begging for expensive popcorn and whose movie seat keeps flipping up because they don’t weigh enough to hold it down! It’s great when you can get in and out of a movie in record time. That tells me that Hall and Anderson thoughtfully considered the “little” people. Literally.
INTERVIEW WITH HALL AND ANDERSON
I got a chance to meet Winnie the Pooh Directors Don Hall and Stephen Anderson a few weeks ago in Los Angeles for a Disney/Dreamworks Mommy Blogger Event. And it was awesome. The two actually took us on a picture walk through the process of creating Winnie the Pooh for this new movie.
The directors visited Sussex England and were led on an expedition to the actual Hundred Acre Woods that the original Pooh story was based on. They got to see E.H. Shepard’s original drawing of the woods too.
“It was a wonderful trip and gave us a mission to make this movie look as good as it can and reflect this real place,” said Hall. “It harkened us to an old style and it added a richness to the world.”
Stephen Anderson, who joined Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1995 as a story artist on Tarzan, said working on the music for Pooh was especially dear to him. He said he connects to the music and has a lot of Disney record albums. As a kid he says he remembers listening to tons of Disney records.
“My mom put Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too record on to put me to sleep at night,” he said. “So to be part of bringing these characters
back to the screen in a classic way is really exciting. I remember that so vividly when I see that short now, I relive it. It made a huge impact on me.”
Anderson and Hall said it was also important to add new elements to move the story along. Like incorporating a live action opening, embracing the notion that the characters are stuffed animals, (Pooh’s seam rips open in the movie) and making sure the narrator interacts with Pooh throughout the story.
“We thought there might be a sense that we were moving backwards instead of moving forward, “ said Hall, who served as the head of story for 2009’s Princess and the Frog. “We were not sure what reaction we would get…but everyone was so excited!”
This is the perfect sweet movie for kids. And I watched the reactions of parents in the theater like the Kincade family and Mrs. Kincade was laughing out loud during the movie. Forget about honey, that’s truly sweet.
Make sure you follow Pooh:
Opens Friday July 15!
Text POOH to Disney (347639)
So who are YOU in Winnie the Pooh? Winnie the Pooh has an eclectic cast of characters for sure. Click to take a POOH PERSONALITY TEST to see which character are you.
Here’s my CAST of characters below.
WINNIE THE POOH aka Mikaela
Jim Cummings, the voice of Pooh, said Pooh’s a cross between the happiest gentleman and the sweetest child. And Pooh is very lovable. For this reason my 7-year-old Mikaela is definitely Winnie the Pooh! Ask anyone who knows her, she is just about the sweetest and SILLIEST child you’ve ever met. Just how silly is she? At the end of the school year she earned a “Class Clown” award from her teacher! The girl is a HAM and now a cute cuddly bear!
PIGLET aka CincoMommy Kia
Okay, no it’s not in anyway flattering to be the pig. But since I did a voiceover for Piglet (you can see HERE) I’ll be Piglet for argument sake! Piglet is a little guy with a big heart! In this movie he’s the go-to guy who there’s to give a hand when his friends were in need. Although he’s always frightened, and I am never scared to tackle any job, Icertainly do have some Piglet qualities like being a true friend.
TIGGER aka Jo-Jo
Tigger is the exuberant one of a kind creature who acts on every impulse! And his boisterious manner often leads him to leap before he looks. Needlesstosay my two-year-old Jo-Jo fits the bill as Tigger PERFECTLY!
OWL aka Kaitlin
Owl is the know-it-all who thinks he knows everything. He’s smart and wise and helps his friends, sometimes to a fault. This character reminds me of my 8-year-old Kaitlin. Oh, she REALLY likes to boss her sisters around and tell them what to do. Whether she’s ordering them to clean up the room or telling them what game they should be playing and HOW to play it, Kaitlin seems to know everything. (Well, at least she thinks so!)
RABBIT aka Milan
Rabbit is fussy, stubborn and overreacts! Oh there’s no one who fits this character more than my 5-year-old Milan. She always overreacts and everything little is a really big deal.
Kanga and Roo
I am definitely Kanga, a loving, warm and very protective mom. But I am going to pass the torch and give this character to my oldest daughter Kaelani. Kaelani is Kanga and her soon-to-be baby is Roo (Kaelani is 5 months pregnant.) I know she will be a wonderfully loving mother and will care for her child and keep her baby safe, just like Kanga does.
Yeah, Eeyore’s pretty dismal and ho-hum and I’d hate to think of my husband this way. But I have to give Eeyore to my husband just because he’s the kind of guy who just rides the waves with minimal fuss. He hardly fusses at all and when he does it sends shockwaves through this house! So because he kinda just goes along with whatever, he’s Eeyore!