Timeless Winnie the Pooh Still Charms
- Friday, July 15, 2011
Well, you know that potty humor is easy. It’s cheap. And that’s one thing that I know that you know, yes, I suppose we’ve had some in some cases throughout our films. But by and large I think we really work hard to be better than that in terms of going for things that are genuinely funny and based on the character in the situation and not just go for the quick, easy potty humor line or noise or something. And I think that we just don’t have that in there. I mean we have a very well-written, witty story and it’s got the humor that grows from the characters in the situation and I think that’s what works the best. And I think that’s what resonates with not only kids but adults. It has those different levels for the different audiences. The film is building on what was done in the past, but it was done today. It’s a story for today, written today, produced, animated today. And the audiences I’ve seen it with were largely adults, and they love it. They really, really love it.
I thought the part about finding Eeyore a tail was really cute. Is that a wink and a nudge to “pin the tail on the donkey”?
Well, it really comes out of A.A. Milne’s book and a lot of the dialogue, a lot of the stories, come right from the original Milne stories. So, you can open up a book and actually read some of the same dialogue that we used in the movie that come from the story.
What about the lesson at the end of the film? Instead of thinking of his tummy, Pooh thought of his friend first. It’s subtle, but it’s there.
Absolutely. It’s not that we try not to hit people over the head or preach at them, but certainly there’s a nice positive message in there. And I think that a wise parent would be able to take advantage of that if the situation arises. And I think that that’s, you know, we like to see growth in characters throughout our story. Not that these characters make great changes, but Pooh is almost a honey addict. He does tend to think of himself sometimes more. But it’s just a very nice arc to the story that he, as Christopher Robin says, “It’s a very nice thing you did. You thought of others before you thought of yourself.” And I think what better message to have for a generation that seems to be all “me, me, me” these days.
Piglet’s a good example of a character who undergoes a little growth, too. He’s anxious and fearful, but he presses on and rises to the occasion to help his friends.
One of the animators, Bruce Smith who animated Piglet, kind of described Piglet as ”Pooh’s wingman.” That he’s his best friend, and he’s always there. Very loyal, very dependable which in a way you could say that about most of the characters. They’re a family that way.
Why do you think that the characters and gentle lessons of Winnie the Pooh over the years are so timeless?
Well, I think they’re just nice characters. I really think that they’re, despite their apparent dysfunctional-ities sometimes, like a family and ultimately they like each other. They love each other, and I think that there’s a timeless quality to that that I think we all are attracted to. They’re the kind of characters that you’d kind of like to hang out with. You can see Christopher Robin and his imagination and he enjoyed being out in the Hundred Acre Wood with them and confiding in them. So I think the way that they’re presented is that they’re very likeable and they’re very charming and whether you might be able to identify with a particular character or little bits of yourself may be in all of them at times. I think audiences if they have that ability to either connect to themselves or say, “I know somebody who acts just like Eeyore” or “I know an Eeyore in my life”—those kind of things make these characters live beyond just being an entertainment on the screen.
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