OK, I'll be the first to admit it - I wasn't looking forward to this picture. Yet another Disney animated epic, jam-packed with computer generated cels, overdone musical numbers, and one-dimensional characters that long ago stopped being characters and became cartoons. "More colorful fluff to sell t-shirts, pajamas and tennis shoes," I mumbled to myself as I took my seat. "Eye candy." But as the curtain drew up to reveal a pre-movie Disney-style mambo from Lou Vega (of "Mambo No.9" fame), I was whisked back to a time when a man named Walt Disney first introduced us to our imaginations.
The new Tigger Movie is simply, beautifully done, and art director Toby Bluth has indeed created the definitive Pooh film. The line drawings are incredibly true to the original E.H. Shepard drawings from the A.A. Milne books, and they are layered upon a breathtaking watercolor canvas. Light and air seem to be literally washed into the scenes, giving the Hundred Acre Wood an authentic English countryside feel, complete with light-reflecting moisture. The color palette and the weather cleverly follow the emotional arc of the story, ranging from rich and warm autumn days to cold, purple and gray snowstorms.
If the stunning look of the new movie doesn't reel you directly in, the script and characters will. Kudos to first-time director and screenwriter Jun Falkenstein for breathing life into the classic world of Pooh that we remember. The vernacular and dialogue hold true to the original stories, and the characters are rich and full, giving a perspective to each player that we have never seen before. Falkenstein allows us to delve a little bit deeper into the characters, and she really makes them come alive. Tigger displays a range of emotions that is really quite sophisticated, and our lovable, bumbling Pooh bear remains as willy-nilly silly as ever.
In another brilliant brainstorm, Falkenstein has reunited the award-winning songwriting team of Richard and Robert Sherman with Disney. Disney fans will remember the inimitable word play and charming melodies of the Sherman brothers from movies such as Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Jungle Book, to name a few. In 1990, the Sherman brothers were named "Disney Legends," and we are not let down by the six wonderful new songs from this movie, including a Tiggerific new tongue-twisting "Whoop de dooper, loop de looper, ally ooper bounce" song.
At the core of this new adventure is a heartwarming story that everyone can relate to. Tigger is in search of his family and embarks upon a quest that inevitably leads him right back to the Hundred Acre Wood and the friends who truly love him. Tigger learns that family, more than looking alike or being related by blood, is really about the people who are closest to you and who really love you, through good times and bad. The story stays simple and true, with a message that even the youngest viewers will appreciate and enjoy.
Bouncing full of fun, laughter, tears and "indomitibibble" spirit, The Tigger Movie has everything we hope for from the original Pooh, with new life and depth. Complete with the narrative talents of John Hurt (replacing Sebastian Cabot), an exquisite vocal cast, and even one epic Fantasia-esque song sequence full of all the pomp and color we expect from Disney (yes, there are even synchronized Tigger-swimmers and a hummingbird chorus), The Tigger Movie (that's T-I-double Guh-E-R-R) is not to be missed. Take your kids, take your date, take your grandma - this one would do Walt proud.
Run time: 77 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th February 2000
Box Office Worldwide: $45.6M
Distributed by: Buena Vista
Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 28
IMDB: 6.3 / 10
Director: Jun Falkenstein
Producer: Cheryl Abood
Screenwriter: Jun Falkenstein
Starring: Jim Cummings as Tigger / Winnie the Pooh (voice), Nikita Hopkins as Roo (voice), Ken Sansom as Rabbit (voice), John Fiedler as Piglet (voice), Peter Cullen as Eeyore (voice), Andre Stojka as Owl (voice), Kath Soucie as Kanga (voice), Tom Attenborough as Christopher Robin (voice)
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