The Return of Winnie the Pooh
July 15th is sure to be a day of nostalgia for movie goers, thanks to two major releases from family-friendly franchises.
This Friday marks the end of an era when the eighth and final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), makes its theatrical debut almost ten years after the magical trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione (played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson) first journeyed to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s [Philosopher’s] Stone (2001).
While Harry Potter‘s epic showdown between good and evil is sure to wow the millions of fans who grew up with the beloved children’s series, movie goers looking to revisit their childhoods in a more mellow fashion can mosey on over to the theater next door for another visit to the charming Hundred Acre Wood, home of Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger too.
In Winnie the Pooh (2011), the silly old bear and his friends return to the big screen for the first time since 2005’s Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, as Disney’s fifth, full-length animated theatrical feature inspired by A. A. Milne’s children’s stories. The 73-minute film reunites Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore on a quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. The film is based on three A. A. Milne stories: “In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One,” and “In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump” (both from Winnie-the-Pooh), and “In Which Rabbit Has a Busy Day and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings” (from The House at Pooh Corner). Winnie the Pooh is currently certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 90% positive from 92 critical reviews.
It’s been 34 years since the first Winnie the Pooh feature, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, was released by Disney, but very little has changed. While the characters of Harry Potter have grown from bright-eyed, novice witches and wizards to powerful teenagers ready to face off against the greatest evil the wizarding world has ever known, the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood are just as we remember them. Pooh Bear still loves his honey, chronically gloomy Eeyore has trouble with his missing tail, Tigger loves to bounce, and Christopher Robin is still a dreamy little kid, just like we all used to be.
Even if you prefer wizards to Tiggers, there’s something lovely about the fuzzy, friendly, unchanging world of Winnie the Pooh, and there’s many ways to experience it.
The Winnie the Pooh Soundtrack from the new film is currently available to buy as a CD or digital download. The soundtrack features 18 tracks with an original movie score by composer Henry Jackman and five songs performed by actress/singer/musician Zooey Deschanel, best known from the band She & Him and the movies 500 Days of Summer and Almost Famous. See Zooey perform “So Long” from the soundtrack and talk about her experiences working on the film in the YouTube clip above.
The Winnie the Pooh Puzzlebook App: What’s a Bear to Do? was one of the first iPhone/iPad apps released by Disney Publishing Worldwide and is now Disney Publishing’s first app available on the Android platform. The app features a short storybook of Winnie the Pooh doing what he does best – looking for honey. The story is inter cut by four 6-piece puzzles that animate charmingly once assembled, and six honey pots can be clicked and collected along the way for Pooh’s honey stash.
The app is geared toward very young children (2-3 year olds), and would likely have more appeal for slightly older kids if there was a setting to make the puzzles harder by giving them 9 or 12 pieces instead of only 6. It’s somewhat nonsensical to have the reader collect six honey pots throughout the story when poor Pooh Bear spends the whole book looking for just one, but at $.99, the app is a bargain and received an Editor’s Choice Award from the Children’s Technology Review.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a wonderfully charming dark ride at the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland, inspired by the Disney film of the same name. The ride replaced the beloved Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at the Magic Kingdom (to much outrage), but it’s such a whimsical delight that it’s hard to stay mad, especially since Mr. Toad is still road raging over in Disneyland. The video above features a ride-through of the entire attraction. The footage is a little shaky, but when the honey pot starts bouncing along with Tigger, it’s supposed to be!
Play Winnie the Pooh-inspired games online, including “Pooh’s Big Show”, “Pooh’s Honey Chase”, “Pooh’s Hunny Puzzle”, “Winnie the Pooh Balloon Trail”, and “Tigger’s Cloud Hop”.