Life happened. I had a job that require me to travel for work 3 out of 4 weeks of the month. Sarah finished grad school and has been doing teacher things. Funny how teachers are way more busy than you’d expect. We still see each other sometimes, but mostly to play Pokemon Go.
But I lost that job and while I’m finding a new one, I’m going to watch me some Disney.
And apparently next on my list is the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Unlike many of the movies we’ve watched in the past, this one is definitely one I remember from childhood. Likely because it’s one of the ones I had on VHS and when I was sick, it was a favorite of things to watch. It probably didn’t hurt my memory building that there was also a New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh TV show when I was a kid too.
While the film is animated, it always starts with a minor head fake for me such that it begins with a short live action set of shots in what is presumably a child’s playroom establishing that Pooh and the other characters (with the obvious exception of Christopher Robin) are all stuffed animals. This is stated in the narration too, but eventually we see the book from which everything is based. It opens and this is where we start to see the animation within the context of the pages.
I absolutely love this framing device. It’s one that runs throughout the film such as where Pooh is “sailing clean out of the book! Quick turn the page!” The tune is annoyingly catchy and does a wonderful job of introducing all the principal characters. It’s probably my favorite opening of any Disney film but there’s always one part that bothers me. It’s when Pooh hops along the letters labeling his home. He jumps straight on the point of the “A” and damn if that doesn’t always look sharp enough to make me wince. I always feel like he’s going to need some stitches to keep his fluff and stuff from bleeding all over the page.
Pooh goes on to do his stoutness exercise. As a perpetually skinny kid, this always seemed funny to me: Exercising to be tubby. I mean, I get that the idea is to expend energy to make one hungry, but I was always hungry anyway but never gained weight. Then my metabolism slowed down and I don’t have that problem anymore. Dammit.
But I guess the exercising may really need to be more like exorcising since Pooh spins his head around like the kid in the Exorcist. That never weireded me out as a kid but it sure does now. And I’m not the only one. I just googled “Pooh exorcist” and this was the first thing that came up.
So Pooh gets hungry and needs some honey. But he doesn’t do well at finding it himself and goes to seek help from Christopher Robin in the form of a balloon so he can turn himself into an inconspicuous “little black rain cloud.” As he approaches Christopher Robin’s pile of stuff, it’s never struck me that Pooh knew exactly what his plan was. He always looked confused in my eyes. But for a “bear of very little brains” he sure comes up with a plan quickly.
Regardless, the little black rain cloud scene is one that’s certainly stuck with me since being a kid. Any time I see dark rain clouds on the horizon, I always think to myself, “Tut, tut. It looks like rain.”
Meanwhile, I also find the balloon curious in and of itself. Mostly because there’s not many sorts of gasses with which a balloon can be filled to float. Hydrogen and helium are the only real choices. And I’m forced to wonder which sort this particular balloon was. There’s no way that either one could provide enough upwards force to lift Pooh, but helium was still fairly rare in the early 1900’s (the book was written in 1926). As such, it’s entirely possible that this balloon was filled with explosive hydrogen (think Hindenburg disaster). Only a few years earlier, New York passed a city ordinance banning hydrogen balloons as someone lit some decorative hydrogen balloons at a city function which badly burned a city official.
The next scene has Pooh overeating at Rabbit’s house and then getting stuck on the way out. I’ve never understood why Rabbit seems to have a dozen jars of honey. Seems a bit excessive. And why, upon getting stuck, did they not immediately reverse course and have Pooh use the back door which is much more Pooh sized? I suspect Rabbit dug the hole to his burrow so why not dig around Pooh and get him out? Nope. Can’t do that. Instead they cruelly let him starve for days. Weeks? Months? Who knows?
However, this scene does introduce us to Gopher who I’ve always had a fondness for. I’m a sucker for puns and every piece of misunderstanding of his comes in this form. Similarly, his token line of “I’m not in the book, you know?” refers both to a phone directory as well as the original source material. Did phone books even exist in 1926? I feel like at that point you’d just dial the switchboard to be connected.
The third chapter is the blustery day. This one isn’t one that I remembered much of, except the phrase “Happy Windsday” which I still say frequently if we have a windy Wednesday.
Owl gets his tree blown over and his home destroyed but seems surprisingly nonchalant about it.
That night Tigger is introduced who warns Pooh about the heffalumps and woozles, which gives him nightmares. Which gave me nightmares. Seriously. Their scene is super acid trippy. Reminds me of the pink elephant scene in Dumbo.
Next up we get the Hundred Acre wood flood. Where everyone’s home is destroyed. Oh noes. Meanwhile, all these toy animals are getting wet which seems like a good way to get a lot of mold growing in them. Probably not best to have them around kids anymore. Which makes me think of the Velveteen Rabbit in which the toy in that book was to be burned to prevent it from reinfecting its owner. Cheerful, right? (Spoilers: The fairies save it by turning it into a real rabbit.)
Tigger bounces too many people and they decide to abandon him in the forest overnight to scare the bounce out of him. But then Rabbit and Pooh get lost instead and there’s terrifying things like screaming caterpillars. As a side note, I’ve generally hated camping. I wonder why.
Having not learned his lesson, Tigger bounces himself into a tree which does very nearly scare the bounce out of him. But he then decides otherwise. So… lesson learned?
The Christopher Robin is sent away to boarding school and the toys are left out in the forest.
Why is it snowing on this blog?