“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is clearly sucking up most of the movie-buzz oxygen at the moment. But don’t forget that there’s another family film arriving in theaters this weekend: “Winnie the Pooh,” the sweet, completely Voldemort-less story, based on the classic A.A. Milne tales.
I took my 4-year-old son to an early screening of it last weekend (it was his first movie experience in a theater). He enjoyed it, but I may have enjoyed it even more.
So before Potter completely overshadows “Pooh,” consider these five reasons why it’s worth seeing — and why you might like it just as much as your kids.
1. “Winnie the Pooh” features the music of She &Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.
Which raises the question: Why hasn’t the cinnamon-and-honey voice of Ms. Deschanel been used in more children’s movies? It’s perfect, like the sound of a hipster Mary Poppins.
2. The movie honors the spirit of the books.
So much so that the characters repeatedly trip over the letters of the text, a clever touch in the already charming old-school animation.
3. It’s innocent, filled with gentle humor and has a short running time.
The movie only lasts 68 minutes, a tad longer when you factor in the animated short that precedes it. Which sounds like a drawback, unless you’re the parent of a child under the age of 6, someone who wants to give their kid the “in the theater” experience but doesn’t want he or she to get too squirmy.
Plus, unlike so many movies aimed at children, it contains no pop culture references, no flatulence gags and nothing even remotely objectionable. . . unless you object to Eeyore’s obviously untreated case of severe depression.
4. It’s a reminder of the movies Gen Xers grew up with.
It’s such a cliche for an adult to say, “They don’t make ‘em like they did in my day.” But in a lot of ways, when it comes to children’s movies, they don’t. Which is both for better and for worse, depending on the film in question.
That said, there’s something about the traditional approach here that is a reminder of a family-entertainment landscape that existed before our world got saturated with product placements and CGI. The beginning in particular made me flashback to a movie I adored as a child: “Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure.” It’s nice to revisit that place, especially with a child rocking in the stadium seat next to you.
5. “Winnie the Pooh” redeems John Lasseter.
The Pixar filmmaker took some lumps earlier this summer when “Cars 2,” which he directed, was deemed a lowlight in the Pixar canon.As executive producer of “Pooh,” a film that has Lasseter’s heartfelt-storytelling stamp all over it, one can feel a bit more optimistic about Pixar and Disney Animation’s future.