The Profound, Sad Whimsicality of the Winnie the Pooh Trailer

A.A. Milne's misanthropic stuffed animals are back in Disney's upcoming Winnie the Pooh, a refreshingly 2-D trek back to the Hundred Acre Wood set for release in July 2011. With veteran voice actor Jim Cummings playing Pooh Bear and Tigger (now that beloved ventriloquist and Tigger voice Paul Winchell has passed on), it seems this animated adventure might be in the right hands -- even with newcomer Craig Ferguson lending his voice to Owl. But does the trailer make good on its delightful approach?

Over the years, Christopher Robin's voice has devolved into a babyish, bastardized coo, but otherwise this looks lovable. I don't support the use of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" (too dated and on-the-nose) and Zooey Deschanel's version of the opening theme worries me, but Winnie the Pooh's most remarkable quality is captured here: that wide-eyed but crestfallen wonderment. The movie benefits from the supervision of Disney animation overlord John Lasseter, who hasn't altered Winnie the Pooh's classically sumptuous watercolors one bit. Maybe films should also be eligible for the Caldecott Medal.

As for the voice actors, Craig Ferguson wouldn't have been my first choice to play the long-winded Owl (Was the ever-kerfluffled Jeremy Irons unavailable?), but he does droll grandiosity well. Jim Cummings's voice is pure, childhood-exhuming magic, and Peter Cullen's take on Eeyore is glum but light -- a reassuring choice now that Eeyore's been the Hot Topic crowd's dour backpack-sticker hero for a decade. Gilbert Gottfried plays a supporting role too, and I suspect he'll contrast nicely with the main cast's lullaby patois.

Bonus: This trailer is already more edifying than Winnie the Pooh's last two movies, The Tigger Movie and Piglet's Big Movie. Heffalumps be damned; I'm psyched.

VERDICT: Like Tiggers, the most wonderful thing about John Lasseters is he's the only one.



Comments

  • zooeyglass1999 says:

    Sign me up!

  • Lassie says:

    Ooo, the backgrounds look pretty! The dumbed-down Americanized Disney version of WtP characters, without the charm, class, or wit of the original, will have that, anyway.

  • ILDC says:

    Jim Cummings has been voicing Tigger for a while now, and I think that's Bud Luckey as Eeyore.

  • Patricia says:

    Not to sound like a grumpy old bear but, Disney made an animated cartoon of Winnie many, many years ago that seemed to have had just the right tone and balance. Then they mutilated the concept by making it super sweet and super slick (and stupid) for decades on television. This version has the really good voice work, I'll grant it, but once again, a little too bright and slick looking to be charming.

  • Lt. Brannigan says:

    Hate to tell you this, but Jim Cummings has been voicing Tigger for over 20 years now. Also, that's Bud Lucky as Eeyore.

  • LickyDisco says:

    Aw, geeze. Just a few seconds into that preview and I was teary eyed remembering my almost 16 year olds fascination with all things Winnie when she was a wee thing. I think it looks/sounds/appears to be utterly charming.

  • roo got high says:

    Yes, the scratchier, more storybook look of the feature from years and years ago - actually several shorts stitched together - had a scratchy, worked over appeal, and a watercolory look to the backgrounds. This one looks like a little better than straight to dvd

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