Walt Disney once said, “I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be 6 or 60. In my work, I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; that laughter is healthy; that the human species, although happily ridiculous at times, is still reaching for the stars.” No one set of characters has helped Disney accomplish this more successfully over the years than the honey-loving, philosophical bear, Winnie the Pooh, and his friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore. With
Walt’s goal foremost in mind, Disney animators have revisited the wit and whimsy of Pooh for the first time in more than 35 years to craft a brandnew feature-length film, “Winnie the Pooh.” Available for home viewing on Blu-ray and DVD, the film is inspired by three stories from the original A.A. Milne books and rendered with Disney’s classic hand-drawn, watercolor-art style.
When asked why the Pooh characters are still so universally charming, producer Peter Del Vecho suggests, “‘Winnie the Pooh’ resonates with today’s audiences more than ever.” Maybe it’s because we crave some relief from today’s fast-paced world of constant connectivity or maybe because, in spite of it all, we still recognize the basic importance of imagination and of relationships. Adds Del Vecho, “It seems like everyone has at least one character with whom they identify. And these characters keep it simple.” “You can really define each friend from the Hundred Acre Wood with one word,” adds director Stephen Anderson. “Pooh is innocence. Tigger is impulsive. Piglet is fear. Owl is ego. Rabbit is control. Kanga is nurturing. Eeyore is pessimism. They all possess core human values. That’s what makes them so relatable and so entertaining. No matter what age, when kids or adults view the movie, they laugh while seeing themselves in these characters.” “With Pooh, there’s a clear-eyed human wisdom that comes through in a very subtle way,” adds Del Vecho.
“He’s all about enjoying friends, enjoying family and enjoying life.”Tigger is a one-of-a-kind creature-exuberant, with a famously springy tail. He acts on every impulse and his boisterous manner and desire to do things his way often lead him to leap before he looks.”The wonderful thing about Piglet is that while he’s frightened of everything, he still goes out and faces the world alongside his friends,” says Travis Oates, who provides the voice of Piglet. Owl (aren’t owls the wisest?) knows everything-at least, he thinks he does, even if his information (and spelling) often turns out to be not quite right. It’s his effort to help that often stirs up trouble in the Hundred Acre Wood because he makes things up. He improvises so that his friends won’t see how desperate he is to be right. Rabbit is the smartest of the Hundred Acre Wood friends and is often the self-appointed leader of the group. Rabbit can be stubborn and often overreacts but his friends know he’s a real bunny at heart-and always willing to hop to action.
Kanga (mother of Roo) is a warm and protective creature. If Kanga were a person, she’d be a busy mom who multitasks to perfection. Roo is her wild, young adventurer offspring who wants to go everywhere and try everything. No matter the situation-or his mother’s objections-Roo throws himself right in the middle of all the action. Sometimes Kanga’s mothering tries Roo’s patience but, in the end, there’s nothing better for him than being cuddled in his mama’s pouch. Finally there’s Eeyore the donkey, who with his gloomy approach to life, has proven to be a relatable and beloved fan favorite. He doesn’t see himself as gloomy; he just has low expectations.
Tony Award−winning songwriter Bobby Lopez, who along with his partner and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote six new songs for the film, sums it up when he observes, “You love the Pooh characters when you’re a kid because they’re cuddly and soft and funny. And even though they don’t continue to grow, they continue to offer humor and I think you can love them at every point in your life. You’re never too old to love ‘Winnie the Pooh.'”You and your youngsters can enjoy sailing into the delightful world of “Winnie the Pooh” and his friends. Even gloomy old Eeyore can get in on the fun.