For my Six Degrees of Separation, I begin with Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead...
1. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead featured Gary Oldman.
2. Oldman appeared in Planet 51 with John Cleese.
3. Cleese is the narrator for Winnie the Pooh.
Title: Winnie the Pooh
Directors: Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall
Original Release: 2011
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
I liked Pooh well enough as a young child but I didn't fall in love with the books until my early teens. I needed a bit of maturity to understand the point of it all. A.A. Milne's stories of the Hundred Acre Wood run a little deeper than merely cute or sweet. Openness of mind and tenderness of heart are qualities we work hard to engender in the young. But such qualities, once embraced, can leave one vulnerable in a cruel world, ultimately leading to mistrust and pessimism. Pooh and his friends assure us that a return to a simpler view can remind us of what's important. Confusion and misunderstanding are to be expected in life. Learn from your mistakes, take care of your friends, hold hands when you're afraid and linger on your goodbyes.
So yes, my expectations for a film interpretation are high. Mood is everything. The Wood is a quiet place as I read it - apart from Tigger, of course. There is considerable and, to a point, understandable pressure on a 21st century filmmaker to make a children's story from the 1920s more accessible. Too often for my tastes, that means amping up the energy. The pace of the 2011 film is a little too vigorous for me.
But love for the books is apparent, not only for Milne's text but also for E.H. Shepard's equally charming illustrations. The movie is built around three stories taken directly from the originals. Pooh and his companions traipse clumsily through the book pages. Animation is lovely, including a Backson sequence reminiscent of the classic "Pink Elephants" from Dumbo. I'm not sure any film could live up to the books for me but I appreciate the genuine effort made here.
Trivia challenge again for August! Pick your own movie to share. Post three clues on Friday, August 7th. Post your reveal and review on Friday, August 14th. Meanwhile, please visit my friends today: