AA Milne fans exasperated by recent DVD versions may be calmed by this big-screen reboot of the Winnie the Pooh franchise from Disney. While the animation is similar, the story is more closely based on Milne’s deftly written comedy episodes. And so Pooh begins his adventures by searching for donkey Eeyore’s lost tail, along with his usual elusive dose of ‘hunny’ (this guy is some addict). Milne’s words appear on screen and interact with the characters: at one point they use the letters to form a ladder. It’s more literary than recent versions such as 2005’s ‘Pooh’s Heffalump Movie’ and brings an old-fashioned charm back to the series.
Misunderstandings over words abound: one amusing adventure involves a note Christopher Robin has left for his toys, saying he’ll be ‘Back soon’. Under the misguidance of puffed-up pseudo-intellectual Owl, the gang is soon on the hunt for the terrifying Backsun, a creature that has captured Christopher. Musical numbers are mostly trite, although Zooey Deschanel’s quirky-cutesy voice suits the theme tune well. John Cleese narrates, while many voices return from the Disney TV shows and movies, including Jim Cummings as Pooh. New on the block is a barely recognisable Craig Ferguson as Owl and Bud Luckey (Chuckles in ‘Toy Story 3’), who brings his growl to Eeyore. Plot-wise, it’s nothing special: the film is a couple of stories woven into one and can’t hold a candle to the likes of ‘Toy Story’. This is a relatively modest film but one that should entertain the very young – along with nostalgic parents and grandparents.