Winnie the Pooh, a story of childhood innocence, was written by British author A. A. Milne in 1926. He recounts Christopher Robin's life as a child, and his adventures with his stuffed animals in the Hundred Acre Woods. The greatest among them is Winnie the Pooh, a bear with tiny brains and an unending desire for honey.
Blood and Honey, a dark comedy film starring Winnie the Pooh, is in the works. Before it becomes a film, now is the ideal time to come back to a simpler time through Disney's adaptations, mostly by Milne.
The Soyuzmultfilm Featurettes Trilogy
Fyodor Khiturk, a Russian animator, made three Winnie the Pooh short films independent of Disney. They modify chapters one, two, and four from Milne's original Winnie the Pooh book, but Christopher Robin is absent.
The lack of other side characters, like Tigger, Kanga, and Roo, can be a little disconcerting, but these short films have a lot of charm that helps them stand out from the Disney version.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, were combined into one feature after Walt's death. With new animation to tie the shorts together, Sebastian Cabot recounts Pooh and his friends' adventures, including searching for honey, surviving deadly weather, and proving what it means to be a good friend.
This film makes an interesting use of fourth-wall breaks, which makes it stand out among other lighthearted children's books. Many times the characters spit out letters as they are blown around in the wind, or even threaten to jump right out of the book.
The Search for Christopher Robin in Pooh's Grand Adventure (1997)
Pooh discovers that Christopher Robbin has gone missing on the first day of autumn. After getting Owl to translate a note left on a honeypot, they conclude that Christopher has been taken to a place called Skull. With nothing but a hand-drawn map, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, and Eeyore must venture into the great unknown in order to discover their worth.
This was Pooh's first home-video film, and it's a wonderful way to begin. The narrative is mature, challenging the characters to discover their weaknesses while teaching kids that just because someone is gone doesn't mean they're not still with you. It's also a great adventure film, with plenty of detailed locations for the characters to explore that add to the Hundred-Acre Woods.
The Tigger Movie (2000)
Everyone is busy making their plans for the coming seasons, which means they can't go bouncing with Tigger. Roo suggests that Tigger examine his family. After a disagreement with Owl about a family tree, Tigger is certain that his family is waiting for him somewhere in the woods.
The Tigger Movie demonstrated that a Pooh story might be told without him as the main character. Tigger's desire to find a family, as well as Roo's willingness to assist him, make for a moving account of what makes a family. It is complemented by some wonderful animation that recreates the appearance of a sketchbook, and a new batch of Sherman Brothers songs.
A Very Merry Pooh Year (2001)
The first half of this straight-to-DVD sequel is on Christmas Eve, when Pooh and friends exchange gifts and re-tell the 1991 special Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too for Roo. The second half is on New Year's Eve, when Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore make New Year's resolutions to be different people after annoying Rabbit.
The second half has its flaws, such as when the group begins to act like one another while trying to be the opposite of themselves, but the 91 special is lacking in quality, and it's no wonder the film has been nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding children's program.
Piglet's Big Movie (2003)
Piglet is distressed when told that he is too little to help his friend with their latest attempt to slay bees. Predictably, it goes wrong, and the others misunderstand Piglet's existence. They begin looking through his scrapbook and realize how important he is to their community.
Piglets' Big Movie has some funny and heartwarming moments, especially as they go through the different stories in the scrapbook. Many of them were created from unopened books, so they have the same charm as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The songs aren't as great, but they are catchy and performed by Carly Simon.
Springtime With Roo (2004)
Pooh and the gang are looking forward to Easter with Rabbit, who always throws the finest parties. However, this year Rabbit wants nothing to do with Easter and prefers to have everyone do spring cleaning. As Roo tries to think of a way to cheer Rabbit up, narrator David Ogden-Stier takes Rabbit through the book's chapters to help him change his habits.
The narrative structure of The Christmas Carol is reminiscent of Charles Dickens'A Christmas Carol, with Rabbit being taken back in time. The Narrator serves as a single ghost to guide Rabbit, and it ultimately becomes the series' strongest character. Ogden-Stier's voice is a superb marriage of British class and wit, leading to one of the most enjoyable interactions between the narrator and the characters in the series.
Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005)
Pooh and his friends are aware that a Heffalump is on the way. As Rabbit prepares an expedition, Roo discovers a young one named Lumpy. He convinces Lumpy to return with him and discovers that the group's opinions on Heffalumps are incorrect.
Stories about how to recognize the monsters are not new, but this one is beneficial to children because it demonstrates both sides. Lumpy has heard stories about Roo and his friends and is much like them when it comes to him. A Heffalump is also the first person to appear in a Pooh film that wasn't a dream sequence.
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Winnie the Pooh sees several problems unfold in the woods, starting with Eeyore losing his tail again, and everyone has a context to find a replacement. Then Christopher Robin goes missing, and Owl concludes that he has been taken by a monster called the Backson.
This new approach to story telling is very welcome. If you've seen all of the other Pooh movies, it's still well executed and has a beautiful art style created by Disney's top animators. Unfortunately, the film didn't make as much money as planned, and they haven't released another traditionally animated film since.
Christopher Robin (2018)
Ewan McGregor plays Christopher Robin, an adult who lives with a family in London. Due to some work changes, Christopher has to stay home while his family goes to their cottage in Sussex. However, things become more complicated when Pooh arrives in London to ask Christopher to assist them in finding their pals.
Christopher Robin would always grow up and leave his pals behind, reversing the notion that viewers who attended Winnie the Pooh in their childhoods are now adults. However, just because you grow up does not mean you can't be a child at heart. In their performances, McGregor and Jim Cummings illustrate the range of confusion, frustration, and joy one might expect from such a situation.