Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Bear Essentials"

Winnie the Pooh tends to amble unhurriedly through his days, enjoying his life and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood at his own pace. But "Winnie the Pooh," the movie, couldn't have come along at a better time.

It is the ideal alternative to all those big, shiny, effects-laden spectacles that tend to dominate during the summer -- animated or otherwise. It's not jammed with computer-generated trickery and, mercifully, it doesn't pop out at you in 3-D.

This is just 68 minutes of pure, hunny-covered satisfaction.

Given the source material -- A.A. Milne's enduring writing for children -- "Winnie the Pooh" is naturally geared toward the little ones, with its cuddly characters and pleasingly soft watercolor strokes, but not at the expense of adults' enjoyment. Quite the contrary: Grown-ups may find themselves even more engaged by it and perhaps even moved to tears.

"Winnie the Pooh" is hilariously funny, though; there's a great goofiness about it, an earnestness to the adventures of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and pals that results in abject zaniness. Nobody here is nearly as smart or as competent as they pretend to be, but they mean well, and that makes us not just care about them but actively root for them.

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