Somewhere in comic/animated fantasy land, there's a cartoon shrink who's making piles of dosh listening to the sad stories of characters looking for family, or with difficult choices to make. Gonzo went in search of his species (Muppets In Space), Woody had to choose between old friends and new (Toy Story 2), and now Tigger is pining for stripey relations.
To tell the story of Tigger's longing, Disney has dipped back into the "hunny" pot marked Hundred Acre Wood after a gap of more than 17 years. The film-makers have also taken a brave, retro step back in animation techniques to bring the characters to life. In these days of computer graphics and gosh-wow spectacle, it's comforting to find that nothing has changed in Winnie The Pooh's territory, and all the regulars and their various quirks are here (Eeyore's deadpan remarks steal the show as ever).
But the major downside to this backward step in animation is that everything else has been pulled back along with it. So, because this is mostly aimed at the very young, Disney has returned to some of the elements audiences were beginning to tire of. Such as a song every five minutes- only one of which, Tigger's Round My Family Tree, really gets anywhere near stimulating, with blink-and-miss nods to Jerry Springer alongside surreal, Fantasia-like scenes. The story is so featherweight, it pales in comparison with Pixar's take on separation anxiety, and there's very little here to enjoy besides the core Tigger tale (although the stock Pooh-schtick buffoonery of trouble with bees etc is fair enough).
It's not exactly pacy, either, and kids will probably start to fidget during the slower moments. But for those who grew up in Hundred Acre Wood and are trying to introduce their offspring to Pooh and co, this is still a welcome dose of bouncy cartoon fun.
A time capsule of Disney values past, which is respectable if not perfect. The Tigger Movie will make for fine, fluffy entertainment, providing exactly what it says on the poster. A film foranyone who ever sympathised with the crazy cat.
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