The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) Film Review
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 4th September 2017
This Disney animated feature combines three Winnie the Pooh shorts together. It tells such stories as Pooh getting stuck in Rabbit’s house, blustery weather flooding hundred acre wood, Pooh tricking bees to steal honey, and much more.
I’ve already made it openly clear that I LOVE Disney’s Winnie the Pooh movies, because they have relaxing atmospheres that lift my spirits. This movie has many of the charms that I like about Disney’s Pooh films! Hundred Acre Wood looks beautifully drawn, the characters are their usual soft adorable selves, and there’s something warmly fuzzy about each story.
Not to mention, there’s loads of hilariously funny gags that made me laugh VERY loud. I can’t count how many times a joke or line made me smile or roar a cackling chuckle. There’s something witty but also adorably silly about the film’s innocent sense of humour.
There’s lots of songs by the always superb Sherman brothers too, each one is lovely to listen to. The Shermans always had a knack for making a charming song out the simplest of things. I can’t say that they’re all highly memorable, but a couple will stick with you (namely the signature theme song).
The decision to wrap around the stories with a narrator reading the original books is a very sweet idea too, and a clever way of stitching a bunch of unrelated tales into one feature film. It reminds me of being a kid again, remembering my parents reading AA Milne’s books to me before bed; and Sebastian Cabot’s soothing elegant narration is downright wonderful.
However, as much as I enjoyed “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, I can’t find myself putting it on a high pedestal. The thing is, it’s not really got anything bad about it per se (except that maybe some characters should have been taught about privacy and personal space), it’s just not exactly outstandingly groundbreaking or overwhelmingly impressive. Which isn’t a negative flaw at all, just a personal reason for me to not put it in the highest ranks of Disney cinema or give it a 5 strawberries rating.
It is what it is, a rag tag collection of cute Winnie the Pooh stories, and very little more. Sure, there’s a brief dream sequence that gets fantastical, but that’s just a quick little novelty in the feature as a whole. Don’t get the wrong idea, I do think it’s a brilliantly colourful and imaginative nightmare, but it’s the only scene that attempts to push the envelope of animation. The rest of the movie is just Pooh & friends doing silly naive things, which is all I ask for in a Pooh movie to be honest.
When you really analyse this project, it’s less of an actual film, and more of a compilation of existing Disney products (a formula that many straight to video Disney sequels later employed, but with less quality material to compile). This means that watching it feels less like a cinema visit, and more like sitting through a cartoon marathon on the TV.
Sure, it’s relaxing and adorable to watch all these cobbled together shorts, but it’s honestly not as gratifying as seeing Pooh & friends going on one long adventure that lasts 70 minutes; a format that future Pooh movies would embrace decades after this feature.
Of course, a movie doesn’t NEED to have a story (Disney’s “Fantasia”, which had no overarching narrative at all, blew my socks off), but it does require some kind of thoughtful substance or risky experimentation to truly wow me. Without that extra little spice or cinematic ambition, I’m just going to respond with “That was okay, I liked that”.
To conclude, “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” is a cute and funny compilation movie, with affectionately executed wraparound segments; it’s a film that’s bound to give you nice warm feelings. But it’s not exactly a movie that I’d eagerly urge others to see, or personally consider to be a stunning masterpiece. Sure, there’s a charm to it’s simplicity, but you’ve got to do more than “simple” to become a milestone in my eyes.
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