Toy Story of Terror! (2013) October 31, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Horror, Comedy, Disney, Fantasy, 4 stars, Short, 2010s, 2013 , add a comment
The Toy Story toys go through a terrifying time.
The Muppets (2011) September 19, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Comedy, Musical, Disney, 4 stars, 2010s, 2013 , add a comment
A Muppet of a man.
January 2013 + 5 Films That Deserve Sequels February 1, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, Disney, progress reports, superhero films, 2013 , add a comment
The new-look-for-2013 monthly update covering January is now online, with a host of new and interesting features.
#18: 102 Dalmatians (2000) August 17, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Comedy, Disney, 2000s, 3 stars, Adventure, British films, 2012 , add a comment
If you still follow this blog here, I’m sure you know what to do by now…
#50a: Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation (2011) August 10, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Comedy, Disney, 4 stars, Short, 2010s, 2012 , add a comment
Rounding off animation week, and in honour of the fact that Toy Story 3 comes to Sky Movies Premiere today (and continues until Thursday 16h August), here’s my review of the first Toy Story Toons short…
#51: Cars 2 (2011) August 4, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Comedy, Disney, Sport, 3 stars, Adventure, 2010s, 2012 , add a comment
“Why is the police car wearing a giant hat?!”
For more thoughts on the seminal Cars 2, click through:
#99: Winnie the Pooh (2011) February 25, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Comedy, Musical, Disney, adaptations, 4 stars, 2010s, 2011 , add a comment
Winnie the Pooh, as many reviews on its release were keen to point out, is for small children. It doesn’t have the attempts to placate adults with their own jokes that elevate/plague most American animation; it’s only an attention-span-friendly hour long; and it has a lovely, genial, friendly tone, with brightly coloured characters, plinky-plonky songs and heartwarming moral messages.
The thing is, I don’t hold that this makes it “just for ickle kiddies”. Sure, it can, and when it’s done poorly it most certainly does, but that’s not Winnie the Pooh. Look back to A.A. Milne’s original stories and you see the same thing: ostensibly it’s just for the kids, but there’s actually all kinds of wordplay and (admittedly, gentle) subversion that’s clearly targeted at the adult reading the book. This new film captures that same effect. Naturally this means it won’t work on the cynical or black-hearted viewer, or the Mature type whose favour isn’t even curried by the adult-targeted jokes in a Pixar film, but for the rest of us it can make it a delight.
In few other films would you see the characters interact with the narrator; see them scramble across the words in the pages of the book their story comes from; indeed, see the presence of those tangible letters help along the plot — I won’t spoil how. You don’t have to love Winnie the Pooh in an ironic still-a-child-at-heart kind of way, even if the presence of real-life Manic Dream Pixie Girl Zooey Deschanel on vocals suggests you might — it’s clever and witty enough to transcend that.
The majority of the film’s other elements click into place nicely too. The traditional animation is gorgeously executed, the voices are the ones we surely all know from growing up alongside Disney’s Pooh output, particularly Jim Cummings pulling double time as both Pooh and Tigger, as he has for decades. The exception I’d make is Bud Luckey’s Eeyore. I don’t know if he’s always sounded like that and I’d forgotten, but his voice didn’t work for me. It’s not the only problem: the songs can be a bit insipid; equally, a couple transcend that to work beautifully; and there’s no denying that it is a bit short; but then it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and hey, Dumbo’s no longer.
The American Academy have overlooked Winnie the Pooh in their nominations this weekend (not to mention Tintin, and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten), I imagine writing it off as “just for little kids”. And that’s a shame, because I don’t think it is. I certainly loved it more than Rango and it’s definitely better than Kung Fu Panda 2, to pick on the two nominees I’ve seen. I struggle to believe I’ll find Puss in Boots more endearing.
Nonetheless, as much as I would dearly love to give a new Winnie the Pooh film full marks, there are a few niggles that hold me back — the songs, Eeyore’s voice, the length. But it is ever so lovely, and it came ever so close.
The 2012 Oscars are on Monday at 1:30am on Sky Movies Premiere.