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Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997) FILM REVIEW

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Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 3rd November, 2018

In this straight to video Winnie the Pooh movie, the Hundred Acre Wood gang wake up to realise that Christopher Robin is gone, leaving a note for Pooh on a honeypot, and Owl interprets the letter as a cry for help. Owl further explains that Christopher has been taken far away to a place called “Skull”, he insists that Pooh & his friends journey to this location, and rescue Christopher, but to be aware of the dangerous Skullasaurus.

Even though this is a STV release, it’s actually the most adventurous of all the Pooh films I’ve seen (I’m yet to watch the Heffalump films), to the point where it could have been released in cinemas; if the animation didn’t look like a slightly tidied up episode of “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, that is. Characters are put in peril quite often, to the point where we think that they might fall to their deaths or get lost, and the constant growls of the apparent Skullasaurus keeps everyone on their toes.

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The Adventure our fluffy heroes take feels like it’s an arduous journey, with jagged foggy backgrounds that create a menacing atmosphere, and the fact that the characters have to stop for sleep at one point adds to the scale of the trip. Sure, the characters can get distracted at points, but that’s not unusual for a Pooh movie, as these characters are always drawn away to something unrelated, and the film will create consequences for their moments of lost attention.

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It is very clear that Pooh & Co. do really want to find Christopher Robin too, they’ll keep going no matter what, calling out Christopher Robin’s name when scared, and even Pooh bear himself can’t sleep at night, because he’s so worried about finding Christopher. So, even if they stop to sing or admire a pretty meadow, we always know that Christopher Robin is in their heart, and they love him very much.

The film also has a lovely message about giving yourself realistic expectations, to not underestimate or overestimate what you can do, with Christopher leaving an endearing message for Pooh that says ” You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”, and even though Pooh forgets these words, he does want to recall them to motivate his friends.

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Not to mention, Rabbit realises that he shouldn’t have been so eager to be leader, because he later admits that he can’t depend entirely on the map, and that he is a scared bunny deep down. These are really great values for kids, teaching them that it’s okay to not pressure yourself to be perfect, but you are still capable of great things if you try, and parents will love setting such good standards for their children’s self esteem.

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I’ll admit that I’ve already forgotten most of the songs, I didn’t find any of them to be particularly catchy, but I do recall that each one played into the story somehow or developed characterization, so I wouldn’t say that they are pointless. The stand out song, in my opinion, is “Wherever you are”, a sweetly sentimental piece about Pooh missing Christopher Robin, that captures the spirit of why the adventure is so important, and is sang on a hauntingly empty background that darkly parallel’s Pooh & Christopher’s favourite meeting spot.

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To Conclude, in the big scheme of things, Pooh’s Grand Adventure is rather generic when put alongside most animated adventure movies, as it has all the tropes of any random cartoon feature about characters traveling far (Heck, you could argue that it’s eerily similar to Don Bluth’s “The Land Before Time” in some ways), but it really stands out compared to the more laid back slice of life Pooh movies, because it riskily pushes the Hundred Acre Wood characters into more dangerous situations than usual. Even though it gets dark at times, it still retains the wholesomeness of a Pooh story, staying true to Disney’s cute take on A. A. Milne’s characters, and there’s some great messages about self expectation that are very healthy for kids.

4 Strawberries

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Posted on November 3, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I remember renting this film from the Sutton Library and watching it a lot. It was a really fun movie and was quite refreshing to see Winnie the pooh go in a darker direction and doing it well (even if it is generic at certain points in the story). Interestingly when this film came out, critics disliked it because of the darker tone which in later years would be the same reason fans consider this one of the best Winnie the pooh movies.

    • Critics are just seekers of negative attention for bashing dark subject matter. Alrhough, it could be executed very well like in Walt Disney Animation Studios films or poorly like in the overrated-as-fuck Shadow the Hedgehog game.

  2. Most of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh franchise could be more charming (including by being atmospheric) than Jambareeqi and AniMat give them credit for although they do still like that franchise. But it’s harder to say that they cherish it because Disney’s Winnie the Pooh is made more for slice-of-life fanatics like The Ultimate Daredevil. Now speaking of which, NICKtendo and everyone else knows that We Bare Bears captures the slice-of-life feeling a LOT more than The Loud House. Take that, Gamergirl223!! Ar least LoudHouseFan777 became a MUCH more respectful guy throughout time!

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