Friday, September 23, 2011

Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Nalle Puhin elokuva - uudet seikkailut Puolen hehtaarin metsässä / Nalle Puh - nya äventyr i Sjumilaskogen. US © 2011 Disney Enterprises. EX: John Lasseter. D: Stephen J. Anderson, John Hall. SC: - based on the books written by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard (1926, 1928). M: Henry Jackman. "Winnie the Pooh" theme by Richard B. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (1966). 69 min. Distributed in Finland by The Walt Disney Company Nordic (Finland). 2K DCP of the Finnish voice version viewed at Tennispalatsi 1, Helsinki (day of Finnish premiere), 23 Sep 2011.

Finnish voice version edited by: Markus Bäckman. Finnish voice talent: Heikki Sankari (narrator). - Jarmo Koski (Winnie the Pooh / Nalle Puh), Markus Bäckman (Eeyore / Ihaa), Tuomas Mattila (Owl / Pöllö), Miro Widell (Christopher Robin / Risto Reipas), Riko Eklundh (Piglet / Nasu), Tiina Bergström (Kanga / Kengu), Akira Takaki (Roo / Ruu), Aarre Karén (Rabbit / Kani), Petri Hanttu (Tigger / Tiikeri), Aarni Kivinen (Backson / Pahko).

Disney's original Winnie the Pooh project (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, 1966, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, 1968, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!, 1974) was one of the last ones in which Walt Disney was personally involved. Luckily, they respected A.A. Milne's original relaxed approach and exceptionally followed the original character illustrations. The E.H. Shepard concepts have guided Disney's many other Winnie the Pooh productions. I think I have seen The Tigger Movie (2000), Piglet's Big Movie (2003), and Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005) and liked them all. My big favourite is, however, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), the successful compilation of the three original shorts. There is an appeal there to "the inner child" in a grown-up viewer, and there is a fascinating meta-concept in the movie: playing with the idea that the characters come from a book, and even playing with book pages, writing, and letters of the alphabet. They become accessories of the animation.

I guess I am an ideal grown-up viewer for the new Winnie the Pooh movie, and the film-makers have studied the recipe carefully (including the meta-aspect) but strangely, I felt that they have slightly failed to find the magic touch. The movie is almost good, but not quite, not even as good as those Heffalump sequels. It is fun to watch, though. My favourite scenes are the special sequences with limited animation (thought bubbles etc.) where the wit of the animation is more highly emphasized. Everybody except me left the cinema during the end credits, and I was the only one to see the final joke: the actual appearance of the imaginary "Backson".

The traditional manual animation is a joy to the eye.

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