Winnie the Pooh (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Winnie the Pooh</strong> (2011)

(On Cable TV, April 2012) There’s a common rhetorical defense against unfavorable reviews of bad children’s movies that goes approximately like “But it’s for kids!” as if the young ones deserved swill and as if adults weren’t somehow involved in the process of creating and viewing these films.  Of course, the truth is that kids deserve the best just as their parents do, and that parents will end up watching the same films as their young ones.  Why settle for less?  Such it is that a well-made kid’s film like Winnie the Pooh can charm adult audiences while still appealing to its core audiences.  Whimsical, good-natured and rarely dull to watch, this newest Disney-branded adaptation of A. A. Milne’s stories is a complete success.  The 2D animation (with a bit of CGI help and a subtle live-action framing) seamlessly transfers Pooh’s iconography to the screen, while the voice talent (including John Cleese as the narrator) strikes all the right notes.  The story itself is a charming framework in which the character’s personalities are given a chance to shine.  Adults will be especially amused by the meta-textual interludes in which the film plays with storytelling conventions and the transition from page to screen, but the entire family will enjoy the film.  Winnie the Pooh runs a bit short at a mere 63 minutes, but it’s a complete success reflected by its gentle self-assurance.

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