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10 Reasons to Go See the New Winnie the Pooh Movie

Winnie The Pooh Returns!

I don’t know about you, but I really missed Winnie the Pooh. Not the commercialized image of that ‘silly old bear’ that adorned diapers, onesies and toasters, but the Winnie the Pooh as A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard intended – the real Winnie. Now, thanks to the new Disney feature film coming out Friday, July 15th, Winnie the Pooh at the ripe old age of 90-  is back and he’s as adorable, ageless and timeless as ever.

Much care, thought, craftsmanship, humor and love was poured into the making of Winnie the Pooh. It’s a lovely gem of a film; one you just want to hug, to hold, and share with your children, but a film that they’ll enjoy as much as you (even though it really was made for them).

If you aren’t sold already, here are ten reasons to go see Winnie the Pooh this weekend.

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  • The Return of the Real Winnie the Pooh 1 of 10
    The Return of the Real Winnie the Pooh
    "When we came on to the project there was a very strong mandate to return Pooh to its roots," said co-director Don Hall. This mandate came from Disney CEO Bob Iger to the Chief Creative Officer of Disney, the one and only John Lasseter. The first thing the directors did was to go back to the books noting that, "reading them cover to cover we were more than confident that there was really broad audience potential in Winnie the Pooh." They also studied the original films. The new Winnie the Pooh harkens back to the Academy Award winning The Honey Tree from 1963 with the "real" room shots of Christopher Robin's adobe and opening of the animation of E.H. Shepard's map coming to life. It pays tribute to Winnie-the-Pooh while bringing the bear into this day and age.
  • The Voice Talent 2 of 10
    The Voice Talent
    It's an eclectic mix for sure. As Winnie the Pooh they cast of course the veteran voiceover talent Jim Cummings who has portrayed Winnie for the past 24 years (he also does the voice of Tigger). Alongside him are Tom Kenny (best known for voicing SpongeBob SquarePants) as the persnickety Rabbit, a hilarious Craig Ferguson as Owl, and the legendary John Cleese as the narrator. And they made it a family affair with director Don Hall's son Wyatt voicing Roo.
  • The Music 3 of 10
    The Music
    The production gets hipster points for the inclusion of Zooey Deschanel & M.Ward (aka She & Him). They performed a charming rendition of the song "Winnie the Pooh" as well as a touching original song called closing the film called "So Long," which you can check out below. Along with the songs by She & Him the songwriting husband and wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez penned several numbers. Robert Lopez co-wrote the Tony Award Winning Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon. In addition, Kristen had such a motherly tone in her voice she was cast as Kanga in the film.
  • All Hand Drawn 4 of 10
    All Hand Drawn
    This is the second entirely hand drawn film Disney has produced in the last ten years, the other being The Princess and the Frog. Winnie the Pooh is not a 3-D, sleek, slick type of title. It's old school, and it needed that folksy handmade touch that only hand drawn animation could achieve. Every shot in the film was artfully illustrated.
  • Location, Location, Location 5 of 10
    Location, Location, Location
    It's literally in the background, but the locations cannot be ignored. The 100 Acre Wood a stunning place, and one that the Winnie the Pooh team captured in beautiful detail. The directors and a team of artists spent a week in the real 100 Acre Wood (aka Ashdown Forest) to make sure they captured the look, feel and essence of the inspiration of the 100 Acre Wood. From the foliage, to the trees, to the way the light hits the leaves, it was all included in the background art. After the trip they stated their "mission [was] to make this Pooh movie look as good as it can and actually reflect a real place." (I was lucky enough to go to Ashdown Forest and can personally attest to their keeping with the integrity of the locale. Check out my visit to the real 100 Acre Wood piece coming soon).
  • Honoring the Text…Literally 6 of 10
    Honoring the Text...Literally
    In the original film The Honey Tree, the animators played with the use of book pages, the text and the letters of the words. In this version, they take it even further, making the text a character in the film in a playful way. The text has a cause and effect on the characters, playing a part in the story. The written word becomes a strong figure and one that just happens to have pretty good comic timing.
  • New Stories That Hadnt Been Used in Film Form Before 7 of 10
    New Stories That Hadnt Been Used in Film Form Before
    The writers did their research. Not only did they pull from the extensive catalog of Winnie the Pooh original art that is kept at the Walt Disney Animation Studio Archives, but also they studied all the Winnie the Pooh works that had come before them to borrow the good and lose the bad. They also had to come up with new tales from A.A. Milne that hadn't been told before on screen. The writers took six stories from the original books and seamlessly weaved the tales into a feature film length narrative.
  • Good for Kids of All Ages (And That Means Your Too) 8 of 10
    Good for Kids of All Ages (And That Means Your Too)
    It's not in 3D, it's not crude, it's not mean. This film is charming, charismatic and will cast a whole new light on Winnie the Pooh for all ages. ‘There won't be a generation that can't relate to Winnie the Pooh," said Don Hall. " It wasn't just for kids. It was for everybody." Grandparents, parents and kids also seem to have some soft spot for this silly old bear. But in recent years, our kids haven't had much context (unless you are one who reads the original Milne books to the kids). This film will not just reinvigorate the brand but will give new life to a beloved character. A new generation will appreciate Winnie the Pooh, not just as an icon that seems to appear everywhere, everyday, but as a beloved cast of characters from Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore to little Piglet. There is truly something for everyone.
  • Ballad of Nessie & The Bonus at the End of the Film 9 of 10
    Ballad of Nessie & The Bonus at the End of the Film
    Opening the theatrical showings of the film is a charming short called The Ballad of Nessie that animates the origins of the Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie. It's stylish, sweet and sentimental. Also, do not leave the theater without staying for all the credits. Not only will you see some sweet photographs of Winnie the Pooh characters in stuffed animal form acting out the stories you just saw but you don't want to miss the super cute added bonus zinger at the tail end. It's worth it. Trust me.
  • The A-list Animators 10 of 10
    The A-list Animators
    "Bringing Pooh back is a great honor," Don Hall said. "That's why John Lasseter felt that if we were going to do this, the best needed to do it." And the "best" included the team who had just finished doing The Princess and the Frog, such as: Mark Henn (The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin), Andreas Deja (Lilo & Stitch, Hercules, Lion King, Aladdin), and Bruce Smith (Emperor's New Groove, Home on the Range, and Tarzan).
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Full Disclosure: The author participated in a press junket for the above coverage and was the guest of the Walt Disney Company while attending. Any opinions presented here are purely held by its author and do not reflect those held by Pixar Animation Studios or the Walt Disney Company.

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