Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Rated G. Our Ratings: V-1; L -0 ; S/N –0. Running time: 1 hour 3 min.

Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.
Proverbs 18:24

Christopher Robin and his friends.

2011 Walt Disney Studios

What a tonic to see directors Stephen Anderson and Don Hall’s gentle little adaptation of three sto ries by A.A. Milne right after enduring the disappointing 30 Minutes or Less. Winnie the Pooh and all of his Hundred Acre Wood friends are present, along with the imaginative boy Christopher Robin. Pooh wakes up for what he thinks will be an ordinary day, his empty stomach churning for a pot of honey. However, all of the pots in his house are empty, so he sets out to obtain some. That’s when he encounters the gloomy donkey Eeyore who is missing his tail. Soon the other friends are joining in, each tacking onto the donkey’s rear an object they think will serve as a substitute. Not all are appropriate, of course, such as a cuckoo clock. Later the friends worry that Christopher Robin has been kidnapped, so they again band together in search of him.

Both adults and children will laugh at the word play. Here is one example: Piglet, when he sees that Pooh, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo are trapped in a deep cistern goes to get a rope. Thinking that each will need his own rope, he cut it into six pieces. Piglet says, “And six! There! Now we can ALL get out!” Pooh tells him, “How very thoughtful you are, Piglet.” Rabbit yells, upset because all the pieces are now too short, “Good grief! Tie them together, Piglet! Can you tie a knot?” Piglet replies, “I cannot.” Rabbit, “Ah, so you *can* knot.” Piglet, “No. I cannot knot.” Rabbit, surprised, “Not knot?” Pooh, joins in, “Who’s there?” Rabbit answers, “Pooh.” Pooh, “Pooh who?” The songs written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are not showstoppers, but they add nice details to the story. The animation, based on those of the books’ illustrations is an extra treat in that the characters are seen climbing/walking/falling off the printed lines of a page. As with the earlier Pooh films, this is an affirmation and celebration of friendship among diverse characters.

Note: Discussion questions are available with this review for those subscribing to the Visual Parables journal. The journal also includes many extras–book reviews, the use of films for church seasons, a lectionary related column, and more. Hundreds of old reviews are also available in the subscribers; section. Check out the sample issue.