There is nothing better for dealing with a post-holiday slump than a Disney movie, especially one with as lovable a main character as Winnie the Pooh. On the Eurostar back from Paris, I was so looking forward to putting this Blu Ray into the Playstation 4 and just laying on the couch with my angry shiba cushion. This may not be the best of the Disney movies in the canon, but it sure is one of the most comforting.
Given that The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is actually a package film of three previous shorts with some added footage, this is the final film in the canon that Walt Disney had a hand in making. The first of the shorts, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, was released 11 years before the feature length whilst Disney was still alive – which would make for a nice pub quiz question.
The legacy of this film is unquestionable. Prior to the film, A. A. Milne’s characters were already household names, but the Disney versions (both the look and the voices) have become the default in the public consciousness – unlike the Russian Winnie the Pooh shorts, which are really worth a watch. There were a number of spin-off television series as well as a massive collection of plushies, accessories and other merchandise.
Due to the package nature of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has no definite through-line, which makes it feel disjointed. Incredibly charming, but disjointed. However, one clever way they found to combat some of this was to go extremely meta. There was a bit of experimentation of this in Robin Hood with the Alan O’Dale rooster, but it goes full tilt here with deus ex machina solutions to problems such as the book being rotated in order to help Tigger get down from the top of a tree.
Whilst it will be a while until I get to the second of the two Winnie the Pooh films (released in 2011, with Zooey Deschanel singing on the soundtrack) at least there are episodes of the animated show streaming online. Next on the list, however, is The Rescuers, the second of three films in the Disney animation canon featuring Eva Gabor voicing one of the main characters. It’s another one of those early films that I only saw for the first time when I was in university, well that was (somehow) 9 years ago now and I’m interested to see what a second watch will bring.