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Winnie the Pooh

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Link to our thread on 'Tigger and Piglet voice actors die' (Jun 2005).

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Disney’s going Back to the Future with Winnie the Pooh

Of course, what’s kind of ironic about this top-of-the-line “Winnie the Pooh” hand-drawn animated feature is that it actually started out life as a direct-to-video release. At least that’s what Steve Anderson (i.e. the director of "Meet the Robinsons") and Don Hall (i.e. the head of story on "The Princess and The Frog") thought when they initially pitched this project to John Lasseter.

But Lasseter was aware of the Company’s efforts to reboot / relaunch its Winnie the Pooh franchise. Which is why he quickly put Anderson & Hall’s film on the theatrical release track.

And while John (who was also a huge fan of Disney’s original “Pooh”) insisted that Steve & Don replicate as much as possible the style & tone of the original featurettes, Lasseter also recognized that Anderson and Hall had to make this film their own. So when research showed that the really-for-real Hundred Acre Woods is far greener, darker and denser than they had been previously depicted in the Disney featurettes … Well, Lasseter let Anderson & Hall make the appropriate adjustments to “Winnie the Pooh” ‘s art direction. . . .

Now “Winnie the Pooh” ‘s sound may have been updated, but not its source material. Anderson and Hall are using five stories from A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner” as their inspiration / jumping-off point for this all-new animated feature.

“Which five stories?,” you ask. Well, the folks at WDAS haven’t exactly revealed that information yet. But two of the tales being adapted this time around will be from Milne’s first “Pooh” book, 1926’s “Winnie-the-Pooh.” And they are Chapter IV (In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One) and Chapter VIII (In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole). . . .

Well, the Studio certainly seems confident in “Winnie the Pooh.” Given that – just last month – Disney revealed that it would be changing the release date of this hand-drawn animated feature. No longer will “Pooh” be released in the relatively safe harbor of Spring 2011. No, the Mouse moved “Winnie the Pooh” to July 15, 2011. Which means that this Silly Old Bear is now going head-to-head with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II." . . .

Jim Hill, June 3

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Disney going old school with new 'Winnie the Pooh' film

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — "Winnie the Pooh" will be back to his old self again next year.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is returning the honey-loving teddy bear and his pals to their hand-drawn animated roots for a feature film dipping into theatres July 15, 2011. The new "Winnie the Pooh," the first big-screen "Pooh" adventure from Disney animators in more than 30 years, will more closely resemble the classic short films from the 1960s and '70s.

"We wanted to create a movie for the big screen that had the charm and wit of those original shorts," said Peter Del Vecho, the film's producer. "What originally endeared all of us — adults and children — to these characters was that they were stuffed animals that came to life in the imagination of a child. We wanted to rekindle that imagination in a big way."

"Winnie the Pooh," loosely based on five stories from A.A. Milne's books, finds Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Eeyore and Christopher Robin searching for a new tail for Eeyore in a watercolour-drenched Hundred Acre Wood. The gang will also hunt for a mysterious creature called a Backson, briefly mentioned in 1928's "The House at Pooh Corner." . . .

Associated Press, November 9

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A full trailer played in front of Waiting For Superman yesterday, and it was awful. I want to make a prediction that this will flop big-time based on the trailer alone, but I think people really are stupid enough to make it fly. Watching the trailer seemed like a giant put-down: "Yes, we are willing to bet that not only are you stupid enough to come and see this crap we're making, but we think you're rich enough to buy 3D glasses, too." My kids better hit up grandma and grandpa cuz I'm not doing it.

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That's too bad--of course you can't really judge based on a trailer (I mean, I went and saw Leviathan based on its trailer over twenty years ago and its still burned--unfortunately--in my memory). So, I have high hopes for a good Winnie-the-Pooh film, and the interest in being close to the spirit of the shorts is encouraging. But, who knows, it can't be as bad as...nevermind.

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Persona wrote:

: Watching the trailer seemed like a giant put-down: "Yes, we are willing to bet that not only are you stupid enough to come and see this crap we're making, but we think you're rich enough to buy 3D glasses, too."

Huh? This is an old-fashioned hand-animated film. And you're saying the trailer says they're releasing it in 3D?

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I've been curious about this film, so I was surprised by Stef's comment too. I can't find a trailer for it anywhere online.

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Winnie the Pooh, Yogi the Bear, they all look the same to me. :)

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Winnie the Pooh, Yogi the Bear, they all look the same to me. :)

:shock:

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Stef, you've just kicked me in the childhood.

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That's hilarious.

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What? They're two wimpy bears, I could wrestle either one of 'em.

So should I repost my semi-rant in the other thread? I'm suddenly glad I held back...

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What? They're two wimpy bears, I could wrestle either one of 'em.

Yeah, kind of like Totoro and the Teletubbies. They're just two versions of the same thing.

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What? They're two wimpy bears, I could wrestle either one of 'em.

Yes, but if you wrestled Yogi, you would not be a bad person.

Yeah, kind of like Totoro and the Teletubbies. They're just two versions of the same thing.

That is the most disturbing thought that has crossed my mind all day.

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My nephew wanted to watch The Great Muppet Caper. So I put on Meet the Feebles. Like he'd really know the difference.

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My nephew wanted to watch The Great Muppet Caper. So I put on Meet the Feebles. Like he'd really know the difference.

I can't take any more of this. It's like watching a grown man wrestle a wimpy animated bear.

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I tried looking up a review by Overstreet. Instead I found some guy named SDG. Couldn't tell the difference. ;)

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It's decided, then. This will be my daughter's first trip to a movie theater.

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I can't figure out how to reconcile being a film guy and having to take my kids to all these childish movies. When my kids ask me to take them to a movie, seriously, there are times I want to step on them. I took them to that owl film and fell asleep, didn't even record it in my film journal. They told me how much they loved it, so I took them to Dairy Queen where I'd fill my mouth and not start a family debate. This Winnie The Pooh trailer does indeed look better than Yogi Bear in 3-d, but not by much. I feel sorry for the kids, their films are so awful, but even worse for adults that have to take them. And you multiply that ticket times three or four, depending if mom wants to go, and add popcorn to hold the attention span and a large shareable diet coke. The cost is astronomical. Take that compared to me taking myself to see a documentary at a matinee for $6.50. No pop corn. No large diet coke. It cuts the cost down by 600%. I long for the days when my daughter didn't know any better and watched The Perfect Human and The Story of the Weeping Camel with me. Now, between the two, I just plain feel bad for them, but worse for myself. The only decent thing out there is iCarly. I even like her CD.

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Stef, just be glad for Pixar. Our parents didn't even have that.

This isn't for anyone who likes the books is it? I mean the animation may be hand-drawn, but it looks horrible compared to the images in the books. And complaints about the Chronicles of Narnia just look nit-picky compared to this.

Just glad we haven''t got into the swing of going to the cinema just yet.

Matt

PS both my 4 year old and my 2 year old love Ponyo.

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Beautiful trailer. Really feels like the spirit of the original Disney Pooh cartoons, and I'm glad they're keeping the storybook motif (Piglet bumping into the text, etc.) I'll be seeing this in the theater, even if I have to go alone.

It's such a perfect cast of characters for a children's storybook world, and if the Milne personalities have been understood by the screenwriters, then this story should be enjoyable for most parents too.

If I could imagine some stories for children that have anything like the enchantment of Milne's world, I'd call that quite an accomplishment. I learned a lot from those stories when I was a kid, and enjoyed them over and over and over again.

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MattPage wrote:

: This isn't for anyone who likes the books is it?

Um, I think it has to be, especially given how the trailer ends with a somewhat vintage-looking book and all.

: And complaints about the Chronicles of Narnia just look nit-picky compared to this.

You mean in terms of reinventing the storyline? I think the better point of comparison here might be how this film compares to the featurettes that were produced between 1966 and 1974 and edited together (with a brand-new epilogue) into the feature film The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh (1977). Those featurettes introduced some "new" bits too -- including a gopher who actually says "I'm not in the book, you know!" -- so if the new film includes a bit of that too, it would arguably be in the spirit of the original film.

To put this another way, I believe Disney is trying to ignore the recent sequels The Tigger Movie (2000), Piglet's Big Movie (2003) and Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005). If memory serves, all three of those films followed a formula that ended with climactic "scenes of peril", among other things, and I think the idea here is that the new movie will just skip all that and tell a story closer in spirit to both the book and the earlier movie.

: PS both my 4 year old and my 2 year old love Ponyo.

I think my kids liked that one too, though as far as Miyazaki movies go, they were bigger fans of Castle in the Sky.

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You mean in terms of reinventing the storyline? I think the better point of comparison here might be how this film compares to the featurettes that were produced between 1966 and 1974 and edited together (with a brand-new epilogue) into the feature film The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh (1977). Those featurettes introduced some "new" bits too -- including a gopher who actually says "I'm not in the book, you know!" -- so if the new film includes a bit of that too, it would arguably be in the spirit of the original film.

The Many Adventures is a wonderful feature--if they get even 2/3rds of the close to that film, it will be a winner. The gopher rocks, too. I think it is the whimsy of the stories that resonates the most--it's a delightfully lyrical romp through the Hundred Acre Wood.

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That's the thing: To make a feature film from the Hundred Acre Wood, anybody would have to consider the books as just "a packet of seeds." There's not enough there there to fill a film. A Pooh movie has to be something all its own, with respectful nods back to the source material.

The charm of reading Milne is that his language, storytelling, haiku-like dialogue, and character development all mirror the Shephard drawings (or, rather, vice versa). They're all spare, sketchy, whimsical. They avoid "cute." Everything is necessary, and that includes the playful absurdities. Because these stories are all about the serious work of play.

The challenge for a filmmaker is to embellish Milne's characters and events enough to create a compelling big-screen experience without spoiling the spirit of the thing. The Many Adventures did that pretty well, I thought, and it's still one of my favorite Disney features.

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