The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a package film done right. Part 1

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The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Directors: John Lounsbery and Wolfgang Reitherman

Year:1977

This film is unique in the Disney canon, because this is a package film, with a twist. Disney took three previously released animated featurettes Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968), and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974), and animated them together seamlessly to create a very original film.

Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree

Opening up with a shot of a little boys bedroom, (Christopher Robin) we go straight into the 100 Acre Wood, via an actual Winnie the Pooh book by A.A Milne and get the title song “Winnie the Pooh”, and head straight to Pooh’s house where he’s doing his morning exercises.

This is where this famous clip comes from, enjoy.

Pooh comes to the realisation that he’s out of honey, oh what a travesty, so sets off to get some.

Breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience and especially the narrator as he steps through the pages, and tries to climb the trees where there is a hive nest.

Naturally this goes tits up. So with a new plan in mind Pooh goes off to find Christopher Robin, who at this point is with Kanga, Roo, Owl and is in the process of putting the tail back on Eeyore, our favourite depressive, Eeyore shows gratitude, the only way he can whilst Pooh acquires a balloon from Christopher Robin and we find out this plan is to roll around in the mud, turn himself black, and convince the bees that he’s a raincloud! As idea’s go, this is at least original, but bloody stupid.

No one is that stupid Pooh!

No one is that stupid Pooh!

As expected, the balloon floats up, the bees are sussed in seconds, and react brilliantly chasing Pooh and Christopher Robin after the titular character has managed to eat over a dozen bees…they all escape and are suitable pissed off, as Pooh and Christopher Robin wind up in the mud.

Now most people or stuffed animals would have just given up by now, but not Winnie the Pooh as he relays via the narrator, that Honey rhymes with Bunny and Bunny rhymes with Rabbit! Whatever works for you Pooh.

At Rabbit’s place, the mere sounds of Pooh’s voice is enough to send poor Rabbit into a frenzy as he hastily packs away his things and tries to pretend that he’s not home. Despite Pooh claiming that Rabbit will give him lunch, something that turns out to be true since Rabbit is civil and polite, and Pooh is a greedy fucker!

Pooh then proceeds to eat Rabbit, out of house and home and gorge himself on every bit of honey until he is surrounded by empty jars,  with his gut to bursting; Pooh makes his way to leave, because he’s that type of guest but winds up getting stuck in the entrance. Rabbit correctly points out that it’s Pooh’s fault, for eating too much whilst Pooh asserts that it’s Rabbit’s fault for not having an entrance big enough…Fuck you Pooh.

Rabbit goes out the back, though why Pooh didn’t just go out that way is beyond me as Pooh claims to the Owl who is flying past, who takes one look at him and is sussed immediately to the situation, and claims that Pooh needs an expert. Right on a very impressive cue, the Gopher pops into view stating that he’s “Not in the book, but at your service.” The Gopher, who is a redrawn Beaver from Lady and the Tramp, alas not the same voice artist, but strangely similar.

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This is genius, since the Gopher wasn’t in the “original book” but was brought over, and just like the guy he’s based on “It works well!”

The gopher appears for about two minutes, mentions how much it will cost, doesn’t give estimates, needs seven sticks of dynamite, and then buggers off telling Owl and Pooh to “Think it over” and then contact him, as “He’s not in the book.”

Christopher Robin, Rabbit and Eeyore turn up and come to the conclusion that since they can neither push nor pull the bear out; instead they have to wait for him to get slim, which naturally could take ages.

Rabbit realising that he could be looking at Pooh’s arse for god knows how long, freaks out at the idea and decides to turn him into a framed window, complete with flowers, or creating the illustration of a Moose, Rabbit has some screwed up idea doesn’t he?

Pooh winds up being trapped for several days, as the Gopher appears, since he’s working he swing-shift and by a strange happenstance, has honey, Pooh since he’s learned nothing so far tries to get it, only Rabbit stops him  at the last second . You really think Pooh would have learned something by now.

However the next morning, Rabbit realises that Pooh can move a bit easier, so quickly rushes out in delight to get the rest of the 100 Acre Wood’s residents.

Although why they needed a marching band to get the stupid bear out, is beyond me.

As expected the entire team, including little Roo get in on the act of freeing him, but it takes a running push from Rabbit, no doubt trying desperately to get his home back to finally free him from the hole. With all this extra force, Pooh sails through the air until he is stuck up a tree, but doesn’t want to be rescued since he’s just found himself in a bee hive, and begins to gorge himself.

The moral of this story is, if you are an unlikable bastard, everyone will help you and you will wind up getting everything you want.

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day

The moment this story opens, the first thing to note, is that the animation is a lot better than the first one, it’s less scratchy, the shading is more impressive and it’s just better

We open up on a shitty day in the 100 Acre Woods, as Pooh ventures outside to go to his “Thinking Place”, yes a place where he does his “Thinking”. Perhaps his house cramps his style of something? Whilst he’s trying to find something to think about the Gopher pops up to wish him a happy “Winds Day”, because of the weather. I think the Gopher was being sarcastic, but Pooh is enraptured with the concept, so decides to go through the Wood wishing everyone a “Happy Winds day”

As we pass over to Piglet’s place, and learn that “Trespassers Will”, actually stands for his grandfather Trespassers Williams, and not “Trespassers will be Shot, Executed,  or thrown in a vat of Chocolate” Which is always thought it was.

Piglet is so cute as he stands there, telling us all at how proud he is of his family home, as courtesy of the weather and the fact that Piglet is so damn cute and small he takes to the air, and Pooh has to use his scarf which unravels and Piglet winds up being flown like a kite. The fact that Piglet has only Pooh there to save his life is enough to make anyone terrified.

The pair struggle against the wind until they both literally smacks into Owl’s rooftop home ,since this is England and the land of civility they are both invited in, thankfully Owl has a honey pot which makes Pooh very happy if it could get any as the house sways against the wind. In the end, since Mother Nature can be a bitch, the tree uproots, the house and tree slam to the ground and all that is left is a pile of wood. Owl after seeing the damage to his home, doesn’t appear to be that bothered by all this as he begins to tell them of his Uncle Clyde, whose interspecies relationship with a cat wasn’t understood ,so they went to see in a pea green boat (very clever, Edward Lear)

The blustery day, turns into a blustery night as Pooh in his bed, freaking out at the sound of the wind howling and the unfamiliar sound of growling outside his home. Grabbing his cork gun, which could be a reference to Peter and the Wolf, Pooh opens the door and in bursts Tigger, thank god everyone it’s Tigger.

I'm going to steal all yur thunder, because I'm Tigger

I’m going to steal all your thunder, because I’m Tigger

Pooh gets some wonderful deadpan lines in this scene, sounding so underwhelmed when there’s a Tigger on his chest. But it’s Tigger who launches into his song, and who thankfully hates honey; to Pooh’s relief as if both of them like it there will not be enough in a million hives! Tigger make a reference to only “Heffalumps and Woozles” liking honey, which Pooh corrects as “Elephants and Weasels”. I’m really not sure which is right in this scene, because both of them are adamant their both right and I had no idea what a Heffalump looked like until the later film!

Tigger eventually leaves, via naturally bouncing, leaving Pooh slightly terrified at Tigger’s establishing moment, and that Heffalumps and Wozels will get his honey so decide to keep watch.

Someone watched Dumbo, way too many times

Someone watched Dumbo, way too many times

But promptly falls asleep and dreams of Heffalumps and Woozles and I think that the animation team loved Dumbo, as this is so reminiscent of the Pink Elephant Parade, and just, as if not more trippy. Animation wise it’s actually very good, but in the context of the film, this is terrifying.

Pooh wakes from his nightmare/outer body experience to find that his house has been flooded along with poor Piglet, the poor wee sod in desperation sends an SOS via a message in a bottle for help.

The rest of the 100 Acre Woods residents, all pile to Christopher Robin’s place for safety since it’s the only place that is apparently above sea level and in the midst of all of this, Eeyore is still searching for a place for Owl to live, they live in a Wood, just build a new one. End of.

Little Roo finds the message in a bottle from Piglet, and Christopher Robin tells Owl to go find the little guy, something he succeeds at, since the little guy is hanging desperately onto a chair, trying not to drown courtesy of the flood. Pooh however had his head stuck in a honey jar, so is oblivious to the danger and is perhaps taking the George Plantagenet way out.

Instead of rescuing Piglet and Pooh, Owl instead starts an elaborate anecdote about one of his relations, and since Pooh and Piglet are heading for a waterfall (of course). Owl actually chastises him for interrupting his story, with the simple fact that he could die…fuck you Owl!

Piglet and Pooh survive, as Owl continues with his bullshit, as Piglet winds up in Pooh’s honey jar,  as they are washed up at Christopher Robin’s home, so everyone assumes that Pooh rescued Piglet, and is a hero, so will get a “Hero Party”. For doing sod all, what bullshit is this?

Hailed as a hero, for doing sod al!

Hailed as a hero, for doing sod al!

Eeyore appears, as if on cue to tell them all that he has found a home for Owl, and oh shit its Trespassers Will. Piglet’s home, Eeyore even claims that Owl’s name is on it, because Trespassers Will spells Owl, something Owl confirms is true.

So some Wood spirits magically built Owl a home and has his name on it, in a way that only the chosen can understand? Are they trying to find an excuse for Dyslexia, because I call total bullshit on this.

Everyone tries to tell Eeyore that it’s Piglet’s ancestral home, but a crying Piglet tells them that it’s Owl’s home and begins to walk away in tears. This is the type of scenario where if Owl had saved Piglet’s life and in gratitude Piglet let Owl live with him, then justified, but Owl has done nothing to deserve this, and everyone is an idiot for not pointing it out. Pooh decides that Piglet will live with him, because it’s better than losing your home because a bipolar Donkey and an asshole of an Owl cannot read…screw both of them.

Pooh suggests the “Hero Party” becomes a “Two Hero Party,” so we get another marching band, and I guess everything is resolved…and I hate Owl!

So this is now a two part critique, but in the next one we get more of the most fantastic thing in Winnie the Pooh…Tigger

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