The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) - 10 stars out of 10
“The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” is a true Disney classic. The film is so good that its characters have become iconic and beloved by children everywhere. Unlike the heroes of most Disney films, Pooh lacks a certain… intellect, and this makes him adorable as he goes to his thinking place to “Think, think, think think think think”. His childlike logic puts him into memorable comical situations (and often honey pots). The animation of Pooh is very well done, allowing him to express emotions while maintaining his stuffed animal appearance. The style of the film is what makes it so special. The story is presented as an illustrated children’s book that we are reading. We see the pages being turned while the text of each page echoes the dialogue and actions of the characters verbatim. The film utilizes the book style as characters jump from page to page, the pages flip back and forth to see what other characters are doing, and the words on the pages interact with the story as they are blown away by the wind and washed away by the flood. The hand-drawn effect is enhanced by using a sketch-like outline for the characters when showing them close up. It is a visual masterpiece. The three short stories are seamlessly tied together and you would never know that these featurettes were produced and released over an eight year time period, with the “Honey Tree” being released 11 years before this compilation. Unlike “The Three Caballeros” and “Saludos Amigos” (which feel disjointed and random), the storybook approach of Pooh’s “chapters” allow each story to flow into the next. I love the Sherman brothers’ songs in this film. They create the classic Disney sound by using those full jazz chords in the voices without creating a stylistically jazz sound (a la “The “Aristocats”). The repetition in each song will quickly have it stuck in your head, and you will be singing “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers,” and “When the Rain Rain Rain Came Down” for weeks. As a child, the trippy “Heffalumps and Woozles” haunted me but, as an adult, it’s actually a really cool sequence! While the visual style and music are great, the true triumph of Pooh lies in its voice acting. This diverse array of voices is what makes each character so distinguished, not only in this film but also throughout pop culture. When you consider the voices of Sterling Holloway (Pooh, Cheshire Cat), John Fiedler (Piglet, church mouse in Robin Hood), Paul Winchell (Tigger, Shun Gon from The Aristocats), Junius Matthews (Rabbit, Archimedes), Hal Smith (Owl, Flintheart Glomgold from Duck Tales), and Barbara Luddy (Kanga, Lady from Lady and the Tramp, Merryweather), they are so radically different that each voice stands out from the rest. There are few films that boast this many great voice actors and this film is as much as feast for the ears as it is for the eyes. “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” is a great family favorite for each generation to pass down to the next. It has an appeal for all ages and will truly come to life once you have ridden the ride of the same name at Disney World.