The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is the very first feature length film for everyone’s favorite silly old bear. It’s the twenty-second animated Disney movie and easily the best of the Dark Age. Probably because it’s the last to have any kind of involvement from Walt Disney. It was actually Disney’s daughter who inspired him to gain the rights to A. A. Milne’s beloved children’s classic Winnie-the-Pooh.
Since the story is so simple, a movie proved a tricky endeavor. So Disney settled on shorts instead. Each one introducing characters that would become Disney favorites. Winnie the Pooh may originate from literature, but he’s every bit the Disney icon that Mickey Mouse is. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is made up of all three shorts released before and after Disney’s passing. Robin Hood recycled a lot, but it’s really this film that was the easiest to make.
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree – The first short came out in 1966 and is the last animated project released in Disney’s lifetime. Winnie the Pooh is a teddy bear of very little brain who lives in the quaint enchanted land the Hundred Acre Wood. A simple forest where animal residents live. Christopher Robin is an imaginative young boy who cares for all who live there. We’re first introduced to Pooh who’s made all the more iconic with his yellow fur and red t-shirt. Pooh of course loves nothing more than to enjoy a nice pot of honey. When he runs out, Pooh attempts to get more from the titular honey tree. The only real obstacle in the movie are the bees.
Pooh seeks help from Christopher Robin who’s in the middle of finding a tail for the gloomy Eeyore. We also see the wise Owl, the motherly Kanga, and her rambunctious child Roo. When the bees don’t fall for Pooh’s rain cloud idea, he seeks honey elsewhere. We’re then introduced to the very eccentric Rabbit. In a comical comedy of errors, Pooh is stuck in Rabbit’s hole and only his friends can get him out now. This short is a perfect introduction to all of Pooh’s best traits, but there is one problem. The inclusion of a character that wasn’t in the book. A whistling Gopher similar to the Beaver in Lady and the Tramp. His inclusion is distracting and a bit too Americanized for the British story.
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day – The second short came out in 1968 and is the last animated short produced by Disney. Winnie the Pooh is seen thinking before a rather blustery day begins. In order to appease their British audience, the short rightfully introduces the easily frightened Piglet into the family. The wind is enough to blow Piglet away with Pooh holding on like a kite. They wind up in Owl’s tree house which is destroyed in the process. So Eeyore seeks to find him a new house.
That night Pooh is introduced to fan favorite character Tigger. The super energetic bounce loving goofball. On his way out, Tigger mentions Heffalumps and Woozles. So we’re treated to another trippy colorful elephant dream similar to Dumbo. The wind is replaced by rain that floods most of the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh bravely rescues Piglet, but it’s Piglet’s willingness to give up his house that makes him a hero too. In the end it’s so nice to see every book character celebrate together. The delightful short was enough to earn Winnie the Pooh his first and only Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too – The third short came out in 1974 without any Disney involvement. Tigger is now the main character who has fun pouncing on anyone he sees. All the bouncing begins to get on Rabbit’s nerves. So he attempts to abandon him in the woods in an attempt to deter him, but Tigger is too clever for that. Pooh and Piglet find their way out and Tigger helps Rabbit out as well. The next seasonal change comes when winter begins. Tigger has fun bouncing with Roo, but let’s just say his bouncing gets out of hand.
They wind up in a tree where Tigger is too scared to get down. Rabbit makes him promise to stop bouncing, but what good is a Tigger that doesn’t bounce. This short proves why Tigger is such a fan favorite character. From his signature song to his fun loving disposition. It’s also here that the narrator takes an active part in the story. By turning the book so Tigger can use the words to get down. The most meta part of Winnie the Pooh is the fourth wall breaking mentions of the book they’re in. It’s the best way to link all the shorts together.
In conclusion, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ends with a sweet newly animated friendly exchange between Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. They promise to remain friends as he prepares to go off to school. Winnie the Pooh is a character that I loved when I was a boy filled with imagination. But that was mostly when I was very little. As I got older I watched less and less. Thankfully I rewatched the movie several years later and couldn’t keep a smile off my face if I tried.
Winnie the Pooh is just the kind of character that’s impossible not to love. Thanks in no small part to Sterling Holloway, who’s voice is now synonymous with the silly old bear. Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl are an excellent ensemble that deserve just as much love. Pooh’s adventures are short and simple with lessons for all ages. The animation is fittingly simple and so is the music. I’ve always adored Winnie the Pooh’s theme song and Tigger’s high energy anthem. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is sweeter than honey.
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