THE UNITED STATES OF GEEKDOM
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Rick's (other) favorite movie of the summer...

I will just say it now.  I love Disney.  There are times that they tend to let me down with lesser product and really pander to the teen audiences with their Hannah Montana and such.  Then there are times that they do something that makes you fall in love with them all over again.  Winnie the Pooh is one such movie.  I knew that based on the trailers alone that I would like this one.  The first teaser trailer hit the right notes for me and it made me promise myself that I would be sharing this character for the first time with my son by taking him to this movie.  I am glad I did because Winnie the Pooh delivers on the charm, and some incredibly unexpected humor that left me absolutely breathless with laughter.

The characters you know and love are all here and it is great to see them on the big screen.  Your heart goes out to Eeyore as the depressed donkey and his plight to find his tail.  You laugh at the insanity of Tigger, Rabbit, and Owl.  All of which are certifiable.  Especially Owl and Rabbit.  Holy crap.  I never thought I would have laughed so hard at Owl.  Wow was I wrong!  Pooh's just as insane in this one.  But then his crazy is justified because he's hungry.  Lord knows I get a little crazed when I am hungry.  Kanga and Roo have some great moments in there as well.  Especially Roo.  Wow.   Just wow.

The voice work is excellent with Craig Ferguson as Owl, Bud Luckey as Eeyore, and Tom Kenny as Rabbit bringing some freshness those characters.  That is not to say that everyone else is terrible.  Far from it.  Veteran voice actor Jim Cummings delivers an incredible voice performance as both Pooh and Tigger.  Travis Oates as Piglet was one of my favorites in the movie, particularly Piglet's agreeableness to everything which made the proceedings even funnier.  But I think my most favorite vocal performance in the entire movie was that of Monty Python veteran John Cleese as the Narrator.  He helped tie it all together for me in a way that I had not seen since the days of the classic Pooh cartoons with Sebastian Cabot as the narrator.  All in all, an excellent job.

The songs as well are very entertaining.  But then, I expected nothing less from the team that brought us Avenue Q, Book of Mormon (Robert Lopez), and Finding Nemo The Musical.  One sequence in particular was very funny knowing the story behind this song.  "The Backson" is semi-autobiographical in that Robert and Kristen Lopez were trying to have a good night's sleep with their young child keeping them up at all hours of the night.  I can definitely identify with that and it made the song even funnier for me. (Thanks to Jim Hill of jimhillmedia for that information!)

I funny expect this movie to be the top contender for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.  It is high time that traditional animation finally get its due and this movie proves that traditional hand-drawn animation can still make not only a viable source of entertainment, but also once again prove that Disney is the best at what they do.   If this does not get nominated at the very least, there is no justice in the world.  

How did the kid like it?  For a two almost three year old who has NEVER sat quietly during a movie ever before (not even with Cars 2 or Toy Story 3), he was riveted.  He was actually the best behaved kid in the theater.  But regardless, he LOVED it!  He even applauded the movie at the end. So a HUGE endorsement from my kiddo and an even bigger endorsement from me!  

This movie is exactly what I needed in a summer where the majority of the movies are all about the big explosions, 3-D and taking as much cash as possible.  Of course I am talking about Cars 2 and Transformers, among other titles.  Winnie the Pooh is short (runs a little over an hour), sweet, and incredibly funny.  There are lines in the movie that are very aimed at the adults who were laughing harder than the kids.  It is extremely refreshing when a movie like this happens as it does NOT rely on topical humor.  I love it when a movie allows itself to be funny naturally and not date itself with a joke based on current events.  That makes a movie timeless and that is exactly what Winnie the Pooh is.  It is timeless and it will definitely be a classic for years to come.  Also, make sure you stay to the end of the credits.  If you are from California and you watch KCET, you will REALLY get much more than a chuckle.

Highest possible recommendation.  A+
2 comments:

I'm glad to hear how great the Winnie the Pooh turned out. I'm probably not going to be able to see it until it is out on DVD, but I knew that it would be good when they put out commercials making fun of the fact that they were opening against Harry Potter & DH2.


Oh Leo, you owe it to yourself to see this as soon as possible! It is easily one of the most entertaining movies of this summer! I don't use that description lightly because this summer has been rather disappointing for me.


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