Winnie the Pooh (2011 film)
|Winnie the Pooh|
Theatrical release poster
|Based on||Winnie-the-Pooh stories and poems
by A. A. Milne
|Narrated by||John Cleese|
|Music by||Henry Jackman|
|Edited by||Lisa Linder|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$33.2 million|
Winnie the Pooh is a 2011 American animated musical comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 51st animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.1 Inspired by A. A. Milne's stories of the same name, the film is part of Disney's Winnie the Pooh franchise, the fifth theatrical Winnie the Pooh film released, and Walt Disney Animation Studios' second adaptation of Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Jim Cummings reprises his vocal roles as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, while series newcomers Travis Oates, Tom Kenny, Craig Ferguson, Bud Luckey, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez provide the voices of Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, and Kanga, respectively. In the film, the aforementioned residents of the Hundred Acre Wood embark on a quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit while Pooh deals with a hunger for honey. The film is directed by Stephen Anderson and Don Hall, written by A. A. Milne and Burny Mattinson, produced by Peter Del Vecho, Clark Spencer, John Lasseter, and Craig Sost, and narrated by John Cleese.
The film was released on April 15, 2011 in the United Kingdom, and on July 15, 2011 in the United States. Production for the film began in September 2009 with John Lasseter announcing that they wanted to create a film that would "transcend generations." The film also features six songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, as well as a rendition of the Sherman Brothers' "Winnie the Pooh" theme song by actress and musician Zooey Deschanel.
The film is dedicated to Dan Read, who had worked on Disney films including The Emperor's New Groove and Chicken Little, and died on May 25, 2010. This was also Huell Howser's (who voices the Backson in the epilogue) only film role.
The film is based on three stories found in the Milne books. Two stories are from Winnie-the-Pooh: "In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One" and "In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump". The other story is found in The House at Pooh Corner: "In Which Rabbit Has a Busy Day and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings". Some elements, such as the gang thinking that Christopher Robin has been captured by a monster, are based on events from the film Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.
Pooh wakes up one day to find that he is out of honey. While out searching for more, Pooh discovers that Eeyore has lost his tail. Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and Roo come to the rescue while Tigger has his bouncing fun, and Christopher Robin decides to hold a contest to see who can find a replacement for Eeyore's tail. The prize for the winner is a fresh pot of honey. After many failed attempts for what would replace Eeyore's tail (such as a cuckoo clock), Kanga suggests they use a scarf, but it unravels.
The next day, Pooh goes to visit Christopher Robin and he finds a note that says "Gon Out Bizy Back Soon". Because Pooh is unable to read the note, he asks for Owl's help. Owl's poor reading comprehension skills lead Pooh and his friends to believe that Christopher Robin has been abducted by a ruthless and mischievous monster they call the "Backson" and Owl describes it in a song that is shown in a chalk-drawn scene. Rabbit plans to trap the Backson in a pit, which they think he'll fall into after following a trail of items leading to it. Meanwhile, Tigger, wanting a sidekick to help him defeat the Backson, recruits Eeyore to be a second Tigger. He dresses up like the Backson and tries to teach Eeyore how to fight. Eeyore, who is doing this against his will, escapes from Tigger and hides underwater.
After a failed attempt to get honey from a bee hive, Pooh's imagination combined with his hunger get the better of him which has end up eating some mud and later, accidentally falls into the pit meant for the Backson. Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Piglet, and Eeyore (who had found an anchor whilst he was hiding to replace his own tail) try to get him out, but fall in themselves. Piglet, who didn't fell in, attempts to get Pooh and friends out of the trap (though continuously irritating Rabbit with over-interpretations of his instructions), but he runs into Tigger, still in his Backson outfit, and mistakes him for the actual monster. Piglet escapes from Tigger on a red balloon, which knocks some of the storybook's letters into the pit. After the chase, Tigger and Piglet fall into the trap as well, where Eeyore reminds Tigger that he, being "the only one," is "the most wonderful thing about Tiggers". Eventually, Pooh figures out to use the fallen letters to form a ladder, and the animals are able to escape the pit. They soon find Christopher Robin, and tell him about the Backson, but he clarifies, saying he meant to be "back soon." The hunny pot prize was given to the red balloon from earlier, much to Pooh's dismay.
Later, Pooh visits Owl only to find that Owl was the one that took Eeyore's tail, not realizing it belonged to Eeyore. Owl had been using Eeyore's tail as a bell-pull for his door. Pooh chooses to leave and return the tail to Eeyore instead of sharing a pot of honey with Owl. Christopher Robin is proud of Pooh's selflessness and rewards him with a large pot of honey.
In a post-credits scene, it is revealed that the rumored Backson actually exists deep in the woods, but is much friendlier than imagined. He discovers the trail of objects that the animals left, and picks up each one, planning to return them to whoever owns them. He ends up falling into the pit that was originally meant for him and waits for someone to arrive and help him out. He adds, "I sure hope that fellow will be back soon."
- Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger
- Travis Oates as Piglet
- Tom Kenny as Rabbit
- Craig Ferguson as Owl
- Bud Luckey as Eeyore
- Jack Boulter as Christopher Robin
- Kristen Anderson-Lopez as Kanga
- Wyatt Hall as Roo
- Huell Howser as Backson
- John Cleese as Narrator
In 2009, John Lasseter, Stephen J. Anderson, and Don Hall viewed the classic Winnie the Pooh feature shorts and films to figure out how to make the title character culturally relevant. Following a trip to Ashdown Forest in Sussex, South East England to explore the location of A.A. Milne's original stories, the filmmakers enlisted Burny Mattinson, a Disney veteran who worked as the key animator on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, to serve as lead storyboard artist for the film, with Anderson and Hall directing. Director Stephen Anderson is best known for his effort on Meet the Robinsons, Journey Beneath the Sea, Brother Bear, The Emperor's New Groove, and Bolt. Director Don Hall also has veteran status at Walt Disney Animation Studios, significantly contributing to The Princess and the Frog, Meet the Robinsons, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, The Emperor's New Groove, and Tarzan. Supervising animators for the film included Mark Henn (Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin), Andreas Deja (Tigger), Bruce W. Smith (Piglet, Kanga, Roo), Randy Haycock (Eeyore), Eric Goldberg (Rabbit and the Backson) and Dale Baer (Owl). Similar to The Princess and the Frog, the film also uses Toon Boom Animation's Harmony software.
Originally, the film was supposed to feature five stories from the A. A. Milne books, but the final version ended up drawing inspiration from three stories. Executive producer John Lasseter had also announced that Rabbit's friends and relatives would be in the film, but their scene was ultimately deleted.
The film was preceded by the animated short The Ballad of Nessie, which was about a friendly Loch Ness Monster named Nessie and how she and her best friend MacQuack, the rubber duck, came to live in the moor they now call home. In some international screenings, the episode "Cubby's Goldfish" from the Disney Junior series Jake and the Never Land Pirates also appeared.
The film was first released on DVD only on August 22, 2011 in the UK, where it does not fall under the numbered Animated Classic branding. In the US, it was released as number 51 in the Animated Classics range on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download on October 25, 2011. The releases included animated shorts The Ballad of Nessie and Mini-Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: "Pooh's Balloon", as well as deleted scenes.
Winnie the Pooh received generally positive reviews, with many praising the animation, voicing, script, and the musical numbers (notably "The Backson Song" and "Everything Is Honey"), but some criticizing the very short film length. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 90% of 126 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.2 out of 10. Its consensus states "Short, nostalgic, and gently whimsical, Winnie the Pooh offers young audiences—and their parents—a sweetly traditional family treat." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 74 based on 26 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film an A- on an A+ to F scale.
Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times says the film "proves a fitting tribute to one of the last century's most enduring children's tales." The film has been praised for not only being able to charm the children audience but the parents as well. Roger Ebert, giving it 3 stars out of 4, said in his review "In a time of shock-value 3-D animation and special effects, the look of the film is gentle and pleasing. It was hand-animated, I'm told, and the backgrounds use a subtle and reassuring watercolor style. It's a nightmare-proof experience for even the youngest viewers."
While Platform Online stated that Winnie the Pooh's "hand-drawn animation is such a welcome relief", it found the film's run-time length to be more of an issue, which it stated "At just 70 minutes, even aiming at kids this could have been longer – Pixar have been pushing films well over 90 minutes for years now, and it's clear the children can handle it. Just as you really get into the film it's over, and you're left wanting more."
Despite favorable reviews, Winnie the Pooh only found modest success at the American box office, mainly because it opened on the same weekend as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It earned $7,857,076 in its opening weekend from 2,405 single-screen locations, averaging about $3,267 per venue, and ranking No. 6 for the weekend. The film closed on September 22, 2011, with a final domestic gross of $26,692,846, with the opening weekend making up 29.44% of the final gross. It also made $18,000,000 overseas, bringing its worldwide gross to $44,692,846, according to BoxOffice.com, making it a moderate success. The international grosses include $4.13 million in Japan, $1.33 million in Germany, $1.29 million in Poland, $1.18 million in the UK and $1.14 million in Russia.
|Annie Awards||Animated Effects in an Animated Production||Dan Lund||Nominated|
|Character Animation in a Feature Production||Andreas Deja|
|Directing in a Feature Production||Don Hall & Stephen Anderson|
|Music in a Feature Production||Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Henry Jackman, Robert Lopez|
|Production Design in a Feature Production||Paul Felix|
|Storyboarding in a Feature Production||Jeremy Spears||Won|
|Writing in a Feature Production||Brian Kesinger, Kendelle Hoyer, Don Dougherty, Clio Chiang, Don Hall, Stephen Anderson, Nicole Mitchell, Jeremy Spears||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Animated Film|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Animated Film|
|Washington D. C. Area Film Critics Association||Best Animated Feature|
|Winnie the Pooh|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||July 12, 2011|
|Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology|
Hoping to find the right songwriters for their film, Winnie the Pooh directors Anderson and Hall sent visuals to five songwriting teams. The duo instantly fell in love with the demos returned by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who had previously worked with executive producer Lasseter and Disney music executive Chris Montan on the theme park musical version of Finding Nemo. The first song which the songwriting candidates were asked to write was the one which became "Everything Is Honey", in which Pooh undergoes a wild hallucination in his desperate hunger for honey. The Lopezes' inspiration for writing their successful demo was their desperate lack of sleep at the time because of the restlessness of their then-newborn younger daughter, Annie. The Lopezes wrote seven songs for the film, including "The Tummy Song", "A Very Important Thing to Do", "Everything Is Honey", "The Winner Song", "The Backson Song", "Pooh's Finale", and "It's Gonna Be Great". "The Backson Song" was also inspired, again, by the Lopezes' ongoing issues with their younger daughter's difficulty with sleeping through the night, as well as the fact that Disney's request for the song came in while they were on "the vacation from hell" on Fire Island (in Anderson-Lopez's words) and they had to borrow a piano at a local church to compose it. In the song, Kanga (voiced by Anderson-Lopez herself) mentions that one thing that Backsons do is "wake up babies at one and three". Zooey Deschanel performed three songs for the film, including a take on the Winnie the Pooh theme song, "A Very Important Thing to Do" and an original end-credit song "So Long", which was written by Deschanel and performed with She & Him bandmate M. Ward.
The song "So Long" was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 2012 ceremony. The film's acclaimed track "The Backson Song", along with "So Long", were part of the pre-nominees for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Henry Jackman for the Best Original Score category list. However, none of them received the nominations.
Although Winnie the Pooh did not do as well as hoped because it opened against the last film of the Harry Potter series, it was while working on the film that Disney executives started to really notice the Lopezes' "instinct for storytelling with music." In turn, they did not have to audition for their next Disney project; instead, Disney pitched Frozen to them.
|1.||"Winnie the Pooh"||Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman||Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward||2:32|
|2.||"The Tummy Song"||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Jim Cummings & Robert Lopez||1:07|
|3.||"A Very Important Thing to Do"||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Zooey Deschanel||0:47|
|4.||"The Backson Song"||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Cast - Winnie the Pooh||2:55|
|5.||"It's Gonna Be Great"||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Bud Luckey & Jim Cummings||2:05|
|6.||"Everything Is Honey"||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Jim Cummings, Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez||2:00|
|7.||"Pooh's Finale"||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Robert Lopez, Zooey Deschanel, & Cast - Winnie the Pooh||1:05|
|8.||"So Long"||Zooey Deschanel||Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward||3:28|
|9.||"Main Title Sequence / Winnie the Pooh"||Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman||Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward||2:24|
|10.||"Pooh Greets the Day"||Henry Jackman||2:46|
|11.||"Get You Tiggerized!"||Henry Jackman||2:08|
|12.||"Woods and Words / Backson Tracks"||Henry Jackman||3:41|
|13.||"Eeyore Needs His Tail / The Winner Song"||Henry Jackman / Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez||Cast - Winnie the Pooh||2:08|
|14.||"Picnic and Beehive Chase"||Henry Jackman||2:26|
|15.||"Hundred Acre Spy Game"||Henry Jackman||3:34|
|16.||"Stuck in the Pit/Balloon Chase"||Henry Jackman||4:04|
|17.||"A Honey Happy Ending"||Henry Jackman||2:44|
|18.||"Winnie the Pooh Suite"||Henry Jackman||4:38|
A musical theatre adaptation, titled Disney's Winnie the Pooh KIDS, uses additional music from Will Van Dyke and additional lyrics and scenes by Cheryl Davies.
The Walt Disney Company released five versions, for the song "Welcome to my world" featuring Edyta Bartosiewicz for the Polish version, Witaj w moim świecie, Anca Sigartău for the Romanian version, Bun Venit în Lumea mea, Zséda for the Hungarian version, Az én világom, Evgenia Vlasova for the Ukrainian version, Мій світ, and Beloslava for the Bulgarian version, Добре дошъл в моя свят.
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- Official website
- Winnie the Pooh at the Internet Movie Database
- Winnie the Pooh at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Winnie the Pooh at Box Office Mojo
- Winnie the Pooh at Rotten Tomatoes
- Winnie the Pooh at Metacritic
- Winnie the Pooh at Walt Disney Animation Studios