Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: John Fiedler, Jim Cummings, Ken Samson, Peter Cullen, James Cummings | Directed by: Francis Glebas | Produced by: Michelle Pappalardo-Robinson | Written by: Brian Hohlfeld | Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Oh, d-d-d-dear this is a good movie. Disney has been delighting audiences for 35 years with animated versions of A.A. Milne’s classic stories, and the studio is continuing to cover every inch of the Hundred Acre Woods. In 2000, we saw “The Tigger Movie”. This time our cute little friend Piglet is the center of attention. Personally, I hope that one day Eeyore will get his spot in the lime light. (“Thanks for mention’ it anyway,” says my good friend Eeyore.)
Actually, the next feature will focus on the Huffalumps. Yes, the studios still use the original E.H. Sheppard drawings, but like many of their recent “low budget” animated features, the work was farmed out to Japan. The good news is that the warm, comforting franchise voices are still intact. John Fiedler, the last remaining voice from the original featurettes, reprises his role of P-P-P-Piglet, lending an especially nostalgic feel to the film. Jim Cummings as Pooh and Tigger, Ken Samson as Rabbit, and Peter Cullen as Eeyore (my favorite) also turn in inspired voice-over performances.
Our story begins with poor Piglet feeling neglected and deciding to go off on his own. It isn’t long before his friends realize he’s missing, and even shorter before they decide to go looking for him. While they search for Piglet, the group begins to realize (through flashbacks of course) what an important part of their lives he is. Along the way, they recount stories of past Piglet adventures, including the building of the House at Pooh Corner for Eeyore, a trip to the North Pole, and the arrival of Kanga (Kath Soucie) and Roo (Nakita Hopkins).
Readers will remember that Kanga and Roo were first viewed with suspicion when they arrived. The Hundred-Acre gang then hatched a plot to kidnap the younger kangaroo and substitute Piglet in a maneuver intended to convince Kanga that she should move out of the woods. However, true to his nature, Piglet was the first to discover that these two were no different that the rest of his friends. The point is that children will learn that big differences do not depend on big sizes.
It is s-s-s-o nice to watch a film with uplifting, unobjectionable lessons, and Carly Simon’s music positively shined. No, this film will not be nominated for any Oscars next year, but it will make a wonderful 75-minute escape for any family.