It's hard to believe that Piglet's Big Movie has made any money over the last two weeks. In an era were kids are used to fancy animation and lots of eye-twitching excitement, this latest entry in the classic Winnie the Pooh cartoons/stories is such an anomaly. Lessons are taught with a pat on the back, not with a blaring soundtrack. You can actually appreciate the detail of the backgrounds and the way the animals talk. And Carly Simon songs are featured throughout the movie. She's old enough to be (gasp!) someone's grandmother!
When you're a revered part of childhoods galore, even Disney can afford not to play overt marketing games. Thank goodness. If I had kids, I would take them to Piglet's Big Movie because it feels like a storybook--you get a chance to take in what's onscreen and not get bombarded with toy advertisements and contemporary alterations (let's say: Tigger as a laid-back, smack talking skateboard champ).
The plot is kid-friendly and full of flashbacks. After helping out Pooh, Rabbit, and the others score a huge pot of honey and not getting any credit, Piglet feels left out. The little guy roams through the Hundred Acre Woods, while his distracted friends grow concerned, then scared. This leads to a search party for Piglet, where the searchers realize (through Piglet's scrapbook) just how much Piglet means to them. The littlest title character even gets a chance to prove his worth when his buddies get into a climatic tight spot.
Its simplicity and lack of motive makes Piglet's Big Movie succeed. The movie teaches lessons, amuses you and gets you humming its sweet songs. Still, though I am no child psychologist, or even Dr. Phil, I have an issue. Small children might misconstrue the movie's message that little people can make a big difference. Sure, it's nice that Piglet gets his due, but some kids might think that they deserve such treatment for washing their hands or turning off the TV. They might feel that the slightest lack of appreciation for anything they do means they are unwanted.
Any successful form of children's entertainment stems from little characters being slighted, wronged, humiliated, or picked on and then triumphing over that issue. However, in a movie that celebrates teamwork and selflessness, doesn't that message seem a smidge hypocritical? Especially when the movie's final shot is Piglet's shadow towering over his friends.
But I'd still rather take my imaginary kids to see Piglet's Big Movie than The Lizzie McGuire Movie. In the preview I saw, newly minted star Hilary Duff (whose songs are featured in the movie; can someone say synergy?) has to decide between her family and an international singing career. The movie also has the beautiful Duff tripping over anything made of matter, a movie cliché that's a lazy writer's best friend and a surefire sign the movie has little to offer. Remember The Princess Diaries?
I guess a little explaining isn't so bad.
That's the special hunny.