If you’re a true Pooh fan and you should be you’ve probably given up on Disney. After all they’ve tarnished the solid reputation of that “silly old bear.”
I (like the multitude of Pooh die-hards) have watched in horror as Disney’s trashed the bear to end all bears in an awful series of ‘toons unfurled like a shaggy carpet on the Disney Channel.
Finally, the studio that owns nearly everything in the universe is showing the proper respect to Pooh and his chums with “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.” While the direct-to-video flick, which comes out this week, fails to recapture the glory of Disney’s original adventures - especially the “Blustery Day” segment in “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” - it nevertheless creates some of that Pooh magic.
In Pooh’s first feature-length adventure in 20 years, our befuddled hero searches for his best bud, Christopher Robin, who parts from his friend so he can attend school. After trying, and failing, to tell the dependent Pooh that he will be absent from the Hundred Acre Wood, Christopher devises a foolproof plan to leave a note attached to a jar of honey explaining where he is. Of course, Pooh eats the honey, but in his haste, spills gobs of honey onto the note, rendering it nearly illegible.
A frantic Pooh enlists the aid of the smarty-pants Owl, who misreads the note and tells Pooh that his friend is in “skull,” a terrifying place. With a little prodding, Pooh enlists the aid of his chums - the spooked Piglet, the hyper Tigger, the anal Rabbit and the depressed Eeyore - to find their favorite human.
The reappearance of A.A. Milne’s precisely etched characters is always a cause for celebration. These colorful and delightful creatures are deeply embedded in our psyches, and hold a special place in many of our hearts.
That Disney has cast-off the cheesy animation of the Disney Channel series, and hired a first-rate crew of animators for the direct-to-vid release shows a commitment to reviving a children’s classic. Even if the story is a bit thin and the music verging on elevator music, “Pooh’s Grand Adventure” allows that “silly old bear” we all knew and loved to be revealed to a new generation of fans.
And that alone is better than a pot filled with honey.
xxxx “POOH’S GRAND ADVENTURE: THE SEARCH FOR CHRISTOPHER ROBIN” Credits: The voice talents of: Jim Cummings, John Fielder, Ken Sansom, Andre Stojka, Peter Cullen, Paul Winchell Running time: 1:10 Rating: G Price: $24.99 (but watch for many discounts)