One of the greatest fantasy worlds ever imagined is being “rebooted” by Disney.


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. …

Please… Disney… be very, very careful. I appreciate your good intentions, but, well, the Pooh stories have something to say about good intentions.

“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit. “No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”

I hope nothing “happens to this project along the way.” The original Disney cartoons about Pooh, like the classic Peanuts cartoons, did a good job of capturing the delicate tone of A. A. Milne’s stories. When I see this film, I want to feel like Christopher Robin:

And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn’t stop.

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