Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stephen Anderson and Don Hall: Sonorous Storybook (Winnie the Pooh)

Winnie the Pooh, Walt Disney Pictures, 2011

The American animated film has been in a sad decline the past decade as hand drawn preciousness demoted into computer generated banality. The days of classic Disney and later Don Bluth are long gone, replaced like anything by a more efficient way to produce. Occasionally we are blessed with Up!, Coraline, Legend of the Guardians or Rango, only when CGI is combined with all the elements which a good film make: great writing and direction, namely. Creativity and a spark of originality.

Yet nothing can compare to the magic of classic Disney. Those films took fairy tales and classic children's lit and transformed them into moving art, a sheer magic which became All-American in its intrinsic emphasis on our craving for cinematic spectacle forged with timeless themes and emotions.

A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh smote generations of kids across the globe, with its storybook smile upon childhood and imagination. How much has Pooh meant to so many children, starry eyed with the promise of their hearts and minds? The Disney shorts in the 60s spawned some of the corporation's most beloved characters, a merchandising mecca unparalleled in its grandiosity.

So it comes with great anticipation and delight that the first true Pooh feature, based on Walt Disney's original versions of Milne and illustrator Shepard's creations, has come to fruition, and at a perfect time, when children of the cineplexes are drowning in the bombast of flash and 3-D without soul. The simplicity of Pooh and friends, Christopher Robin and the Hundred Acre Wood comes like a breath of fresh air.

The gossamer treasure of this new hand drawn, 2-D picture is deceptive in its delicacy. Winnie the Pooh calls to the child in all of us, the human in all of us, to remember the wonderful years when we looked through clear eyes and understood that its all around us. Disney's new moving storybook is beautiful, nostalgic and narratively adventurous, resounding deep within the child in our eyes.

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