We are finally back on board with our Disney Films Project and we were both very excited to get to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
I usually do my review first and then let Alex wrap things up, but his review is so fabulous that I think it deserves top billing!
Second Opinion (actually the first opinion) with Alex
So here we are. Walt’s best package of shorts, collected and integrated seamlessly into each other.
There’s an old song from The Moody Blues called “I Never Thought I’d Live to be a Hundred.” One of those ballads about longevity and experience.
This film is that idea, in three simple, moderately clever stories. But let me flip back to page 1, for the audience.
The whole thing began with Walt seeking after stories, as he so often did. The idea of some old wood and a group of stuffed animals interested him more than many would believe, and he cottoned to taking the whole thing home.
A series of short films ensued, one of Disney’s greatest successes, and the last project under his jurisdiction to hit theaters. Thus the film is placed canonically.
You can’t really tell that this was originally three short films. The bridging sequences are so well done.
And the film doesn’t disrespect the other patrons in the theatre, either. Clever moments with the character animation, as well as the sly winks to the book setting, with characters walking through one illustration to another, the text itself being acted upon in the story, and even a segment where the Narrator aids in the story proper.
As for Heffalumps and Woozles, my Co-reviewer finds it to be surreal to a confusing degree. But that’s kind of why I like it. This isn’t meant to be taken seriously! It’s weird, offbeat, and a nice change of pace. Childish, off kilter, and proud of it, this is the type of thing that can only come from the mind of a child, executed with an odd finish and plenty of reminders of what we are seeing on the screen. From the pop-guns and reminders of stitching, to the absolutely daft rhyme scheme, this is the type of nonsense I LIKE!
Sterling Holloway is a perfect match for his character, and everyone else slides into their role just as easily. The one, and only, complaint I have is with Gopher. The reason? He was actually devised to fill the role of Piglet. The director felt that having a more folksy character would work, a thing that basically says “We’re an American Film.”
After waves of fan protest, Piglet was put back into the book canon. But watching that first segment can be absolutely confusing if you don’t know what’s going on. Like, who hired the contractor, and why is he here?
Other than that, and a repetition of “The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers” that happens often enough to be somewhat irritating, the film is brilliant, and hearkens back to a simpler time.
And that leads me to the ending again. That same sense of “Doing nothing” and letting your own story unfold? That’s what I had, and what we all have inside of us. Deep down, this is a melody we’ve all heard, but it’s still beautiful, even if one lives to be a hundred.
As long as there is hope, fond memories, and good cheer, the story of Pooh and his friends will live on. And much like I can still find comfort in my hobbies, there will always be a way back into those woods for those who truly believe.
I have no choice. As an objective viewer, I can find fault with some of the story, but I can also understand everyone’s view point, and care too deeply to lobby anything less than 10 out of 10 Mickey ears, despite any cynicism I may have towards the film.
It’s perfect in its simplicity, and may it stay that way for as long as we humans live. Let us never be drowned in the flood of the world. Let us always keep that silly old bear in our hearts.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wander off to the wood again. See you for the next review, and sorry for the emotion poured into this one. Rest assured, the rose-colored glasses come off next review.
After all, I can’t slam something I actually own, now can I?
Katie here again and I honestly don't know how I can follow that great review! So I'm just going to add a few of my own comments. I also love this collection of shorts and my favorite one is the opening segment of Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. It's absolutely charming!
I have to admit that I'm not a fan of the Heffalumps and Woozles part of the middle short of the Blustery Day. It always freaked me out as a kid, and I don't love it as an adult either. It's the only reason I'm docking a Mickey and giving this a 9 out of 10 rating.
Winnie the Pooh has been a favorite in our family for a long time. In fact, I had my own Pooh plush when I was just a little girl in the 1970s.
Winnie the Pooh is the perfect childhood friend. Everyone should have a silly old bear around to make them feel happy. I'm so glad he has been part of my children's lives as well!