"Winnie the Pooh" Disney's Frickin' Adorable Return to the Hundred Acre Wood Is a Faithful Throwback to the Original

Vivaciously confirming the timelessness of A.A. Milne's talking teddy bear, Disney's frickin' adorable return to the Hundred Acre Wood is a wonderfully faithful throwback to the '60s animated features (and the original Ernest H. Shepard book illustrations that inspired the studio's watercolored, 2-D look) with a modest veneer of postmodern cleverness. Occasionally breaking down the fourth wall, John Cleese narrates the storybook day-in-the-life of honey junkie Pooh and his cheerfully naive, neurotic woodland pals — obsessive-compulsive neat freak Rabbit, know-it-all narcissist Owl, codependent Kanga and Roo, anxiety-prone Piglet, and ADHD-addled Tigger — as they compete to find a new donkey tail to pin on to the eternally depressed Eeyore. There's little more to the premise than that, plus a few tangential distractions, most winsome a sequence in which the gang irrationally fears and prepares to trap an imaginary horned beast called "The Backson." At barely over an hour, the film still overflows with musical charm, nostalgic wonder, and visual wit (characters literally interact with the words on Milne's pages). Don't thank just codirectors Stephen Anderson and Don Hall or their gaggle of cowriters but also executive producer and Pixar guru John Lasseter — making flicks for kids that don't annoy jaded parents is his wheelhouse. And this one will make you feel 8 years old again. (Rated G)

 
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