This review was written by Daniel Walber and originally published July 15, 2011. It is being reposted for its home video release.
I love Winnie the Pooh. Everyone loves Winnie the Pooh. He’s a willy, nilly, silly old bear. Yet sometimes we forget that not everyone has a relationship with our childhood favorites and newer generations in particular. Thankfully, Disney always remembers, as there is always money to be made. From the beloved A. A. Milne novels to this weekend’s newest theatrical feature, there has been an incarnation of this heroic bear for almost every new batch of kids. There were the original shorts in the late 1960s, TV shows in the 1980s, direct-to-DVD films of the 2000s and a whole wide range of other incarnations over the years.
And now we have a new film that seeks to bring this character and his friends to life for yet another batch of youngsters. It works quite well, too. The Disney team has done a great job of recreating the whimsical tone of the original theatrical featurettes that have stayed so fresh, keeping the magic alive. Yet at the same time, in spite of how charming “Winnie the Pooh” may be, I wonder where the line lies between artfully executed children’s entertainment and the almost factory-like manufacture of Pooh films. With stories taken right from Milne and stylistic touches that mimic Disney’s prior outings in the Hundred Acre Wood, this new adventure stands right on that precipice.