Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin
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|Pooh's Grand Adventure:|
The Search for Christopher Robin
2006 edition DVD cover art
|Directed by||Karl Geurs|
by A. A. Milne
|Narrated by||David Warner|
|Music by||Carl Johnson|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (also known as Winnie the Pooh's Most Grand Adventure in some countries) is a 1997 American direct-to-video animated epic musical adventure film co-written, co-produced, and directed by Karl Geurs. The film follows Pooh and his friends on a journey to find and rescue their friend Christopher Robin from the "Skull". Along the way, the group confront their own insecurities throughout the search, facing and conquering them in a series of events where they are forced to act beyond their own known limits, thus discovering their true potential. Unlike the film's predecessors, this film is an entirely original story, not based on any of A. A. Milne's classic stories (although some elements derive from In which Rabbit Has a Busy Day and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings and In which Christopher Robin and Pooh Come to an Enchanted Place and we Leave them there from The House at Pooh Corner).
The film received mixed reviews due to its dark themes and imagery, which also resulted in its release as a direct-to-video feature film. However, it is also the first Winnie the Pooh film ever to have its own special edition. In recent years, the film has developed a cult following among fans for its mature story, characterization, animation, vocal performances, and cinematic score.
The story begins on the last day of summer. Christopher Robin is unable to tell his friend Winnie-the-Pooh some sad news, and leaves him with the advice, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think," but Pooh does not clearly understand. The next morning, Pooh discovers a honey pot with an attached note—however, he cannot read it himself after getting honey all over it. He goes around to his friends Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore, but none of them are able to read the note, so they ask Owl for help. From misinterpreting the note and his own romantic imagination of adventure, Owl deduces that Christopher Robin has been taken to a distant, mysterious and dangerous place called "Skull" against his will, to a cave where the monstrous "Skullasaurus" resides. Owl equips the group with a map and sends them into the "Great Unknown" of the Hundred Acre Wood.
During their journey through the Great Unknown, as they are seemingly hunted by the Skullasaurus, the group slowly begins to realize just how helpless they are without Christopher Robin in the outside world. Piglet, Tigger, and Rabbit come to believe they do not have the courage, strength, or intelligence respectively to go on; Piglet is abducted by a swarm of butterflies in a tranquil field, leaving him feeling scared and helpless, Tigger plummets into a deep gorge and is unable to bounce out to safety, causing his friends to fall with him, and Rabbit continuously makes poor leadership decisions following Owl's inaccurate map. Pooh tries to comfort them each with the advice Christopher Robin had given him, but fails due to his inability to remember what he said. When Rabbit finally breaks down, admitting he has no idea where they are going, the group comes to terms with the fact that they are lost and helpless without Christopher Robin, and take shelter in a nearby cave. While everyone is asleep, Pooh laments on getting no closer to finding Christopher Robin.
The next morning, the five friends realize they had spent the night in the Skull Cave. The group enters and splits up to find Christopher Robin, and though Rabbit, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet eventually reunite, they are scared away by Pooh's distorted reflection as he walks towards them from behind a crystal wall, mistaking him for the Skullasaurus. Pooh slides down and gets stuck in a small gap in the cave's crystals, and the four others find the "Eye of the Skull" where Christopher Robin supposedly is trapped. Believing Pooh to have been eaten alive by the Skullasaurus, they rise past their fears and doubts and make their way to the Eye of the Skull. Upon seeing his friends' bravery, Pooh excitedly frees himself from the crevasse, only to slide down a rock and be trapped in a deep pit where he is unable to find a way out. While there, he realizes that Christopher Robin is still with him in his heart, even when they are not together, just as Christopher had promised. After Piglet, Rabbit, Tigger and Eeyore enter the Eye, they are found by Christopher Robin who has been searching for them as well. He reveals that he was only at school, and the roars of the Skullasaurus they have been plagued by are actually the noises of Pooh's tummy rumbling.
After Christopher Robin rescues Pooh from the pit, the six exit the Skull Cave, only to discover that from the outside, it and all the other locations on the map were not nearly as big, nor as scary as they seemed. They return home, and that evening, Christopher Robin says he will return to school the next day. Pooh declares that he will always be waiting for him, and the two happily watch the sunset, knowing they will always have each other in the sanctuary of the Hundred Acre Wood.
- Steve Schatzberg as Piglet's singing voice
- Jim Cummings as Tigger's singing voice
- Jess Harnell as Rabbit's singing voice
- Frankie J. Galasso as Christopher Robin's singing voice
Critical response aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes assessed an approval rating of 38%, based on 8 reviews, with an average score of 4.5/10. George Blooston of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C grade, calling it "treacly" and criticized its lack of "grown up-wit [and] child psychology" from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews called the film "tedious", and Alex Sandell of Juicy Cerebellum felt that Disney "sucked with [it]."
Not all reviews were negative. Jane Louise Boursaw of Kaboose gave the film a positive review, praising the film's songwriting and animation. John J. Puccio of Movie Metropolis was also positive; while he admitted that it is more "adventurous" than Milne's stories, he felt that this was compensated by the film's visual appearance and "unaffected charm." Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both praised the film as well.
The film was released on VHS on August 5, 1997 in the United States. It was later issued on VHS in October 1997 in the United Kingdom.
It was released for the first time on "Special Edition" DVD in 2006. It includes an featurette "Pooh's Symphony" and the 1968 film, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.
The film was released on Blu-ray for the first time as a Disney Movie Club exclusive on July 17, 2018 to coincede with its belated 20th anniversary and the live-action Christopher Robin film, released over two weeks later.
The film's plot is based primarily on two A. A. Milne stories from The House at Pooh Corner: "In which Rabbit has a busy day and we learn what Christopher Robin does in the mornings," and "In which Christopher Robin and Pooh come to an Enchanted Place and we leave them there".
- "Forever and Ever", Performed by Jim Cummings and Frankie J. Galasso
- "Adventure is a Wonderful Thing", Performed by Andre Stojka
- "If It Says So", Performed by Ken Sansom
- "Wherever You Are", Performed by Jim Cummings
- "Everything is Right", Performed by Jim Cummings, Dylan Watson, Ken Sansom, Jess Harnell, Steve Schatzberg, Andre Stojka, and Frankie J. Galasso.
- "Wherever You Are" [Reprise] (End Title) Performed by Barry Coffing and Vonda Shepard
- "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin". Rotten Tomatoes.
- Pooh's Grand Adventure - Entertainment Weekly
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Buena Vista Home Video (June 19, 1997). "Disney Casts New Christopher Robin... Brady Bluhm Stars With Winnie The Pooh In `POOH'S GRAND ADVENTURE: THE SEARCH FOR CHRISTOPHER ROBIN'" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin Blu-ray
Quotations related to Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin at Wikiquote