Arts and Entertainment | Analysis
March 6, 2018 at 5:18 PM
The first trailer for Disney’s live-action “Christopher Robin,” released Wednesday afternoon, gave us a snippet of a scene in which a tense Ewan McGregor sits on a park bench, swivels around to discover an aging teddy bear standing behind him and exclaims in disbelief, “Pooh?!”
That’s right, folks. Disney is bringing back Winnie the Pooh for a film in which McGregor, who plays a grown Christopher Robin grappling with the stresses of adulthood, reunites with the chubby bear we all know and love. The movie, set for an August release, will join several others that have featured a computer-generated bear in some capacity. Some cuddly like Pooh and others incredibly vicious, all of the bears contribute quite a bit to the stories being told and are therefore worth discussing.
In the words of Pooh, what to do? Well, rank them from worst to best, of course. It’s 2018, and that’s what we do.
7. Snuggle from the fabric softener commercials
Okay, so we’re starting off with a commercial, but Snuggle is too scary to omit. This bear has one of those cutesy voices that actually sound like a creepy adult with a head cold, and his eyes are so beady that they pierce your soul. In this Snuggle commercial from 2012, the bear wraps himself in someone else’s laundry and deeply inhales the scent of a child’s shirt, as if that’s not an odd thing to do. Snuggle then floats around in bubbles — which is kind of cool — but then asks viewers to snuggle with him. Um, no thanks. See you in our nightmares, weirdo.
6. Ted from “Ted”
This foul-mouthed character feels like your favorite childhood toy grew up and binged all 16 seasons of “Family Guy” while chugging beer — and that’s kind of what happens in the movie, too. It makes sense, given that the series’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, directed the film and voiced the bear with a thick Boston accent.
Ted is actually kind of cute, until he opens his mouth or interacts with women. This bear even does inappropriate things to a grocery store scanner, which is… disturbing.
5. That bear from “The Revenant”
This infamous scene from “The Revenant” gave way to all kinds of absurd Internet theories, but it actually just features a bear who attacks Leonardo DiCaprio’s character when she thinks her cubs are in danger. Kudos to the mama bear for protecting her kin, and for helping DiCaprio finally snag an Academy Award. But the grizzly is vicious, so the entire situation ends in a bloody mess — be warned if you choose to watch.
4. Baloo from “The Jungle Book”
One of Disney’s earlier attempts at remaking its classics with CGI animals, this 2016 film was quite the success. Baloo, known for teaching young Mowgli about the “Bare Necessities,” among other things, was voiced by Bill Murray and exuded the actor’s jocular spirit. He’s clever, tricking Mowgli into helping him “prepare for hibernation” even though bears in the jungle don’t do that. “Not full hibernation,” Baloo says, “but I nap. A lot.”
3. The mutated bear from “Annihilation”
“Annihilation” features quite a few mutants, the most terrifying of which is a giant bear with a human skull head. (You can see it at the trailer’s two-minute mark.) This one beats out its competitor from “The Revenant” solely because of its ability to emit the helpless screams of its last human victim. When the bear creeps up on Natalie Portman’s character, it opens its mouth and you hear a screeching “help me” repeatedly. The project’s visual effects supervisor, Andrew Whitehurst, was sure to tell Entertainment Weekly that the creature isn’t entirely malicious, though.
“It’s an animal who doesn’t really know what it has become and is clearly suffering,” he said, “and that side of the story was important because you didn’t want something that was just this horrific killing machine: You wanted a creature that was in a situation that was not of its own making and that it was unable to deal with.”
2. Winnie the Pooh from the “Christopher Robin” trailer
This 70-second trailer was enough to bring tears to the eyes of now-grown Winnie the Pooh fans. Nostalgia has a peculiar effect on us, to the extent that this movie could receive average reviews and we’d probably still go to the theater to see it. It helps that Pooh, once again voiced by a soft-spoken Jim Cummings (famous for his tenure as the leader of Hundred Acre Wood in the 1980s), seems to be on a mission to save Christopher Robin from the wicked clutches of capitalism.
1. Paddington from both “Paddington” movies
Paddington is perhaps the purest creature to ever set foot on Earth, let alone in London, and he charms everyone he meets with his exceeding kindness. He’s so great that you even root for him when he’s up against evil geniuses played by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, two actors who excel at playing enticing villains. And we’re not the only ones who feel this way — “Paddington 2” became the best-reviewed movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes in January, beating even “The Godfather” after the website adjusted for the number of accessible reviews.
We would all do well to follow this bear’s example, led by a lesson his Aunt Lucy often repeats: “If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right.”