100-Acre Wood, Just As We Left It, in Winnie the Pooh

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Winnie the Pooh
Directed by Stephen Anderson and Don Hall
Disney, opens July 15

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Vivaciously confirming the timelessness of A.A. Milne’s talking teddy bear, Disney’s frickin’ adorable return to the Hundred Acre Wood is a wonderfully faithful throwback to the ’60s animated features (and the original Ernest H. Shepard book illustrations that inspired the studio’s watercolored, 2-D look) with a modest veneer of postmodern cleverness. Occasionally breaking down the fourth wall, John Cleese narrates the storybook day-in-the-life of honey junkie Pooh and his cheerfully naïve, neurotic woodland pals—obsessive-compulsive neat freak Rabbit, know-it-all narcissist Owl, co-dependent Kanga and Roo, anxiety-prone Piglet, and ADHD-addled Tigger—as they compete to find a new donkey tail to pin on to the eternally depressed Eeyore. There’s little more to the premise than that, plus a few tangential distractions, most winsome a sequence in which the gang irrationally fears and prepares to trap an imaginary horned beast called “The Backson.” At barely over an hour, the film still overflows with musical charm, nostalgic wonder, and visual wit (characters literally interact with the words on Milne’s pages). This one will make you feel eight years old again.

 
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