I would have noted this earlier, but I just spotted it myself. Hollywood trade paper, Variety, posted the first review of Disney’s new Winnie The Pooh feature on its site April 1st, and it appeared in its weekly print edition this past Sunday (issue dated 4/11-17).
The review (by Justin Chang) is luke-warm, but positive. In case you can’t get past Variety’s pay wall, here are a few of the relevant parts:
“This soothingly short 69-minute picture boasts a few touches that, if not exactly crass, have been applied with perhaps too knowing a wink, resulting in a slightly condescending aftertaste.
“Misled by Owl’s iffy reading-comprehension skills, (Pooh and friends) come to believe Christopher Robin has been abducted by the Backson, an ugly, ill-mannered monster that looms ever more fearsomely in their imaginations in “The Backson Song” (the most memorable of the original tunes penned by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez). Performed over an inventive montage of quick-moving chalkboard drawings, this interlude is one of two musical sequences conceived and animated in a bolder, more fanciful style, the other being “Everything Is Honey,” in which Pooh finds himself in a golden-hued wonderland where everything is made of something sweet.
“(The directors) stick to a visual palette that, under Paul Felix’s art direction, retains the two-dimensional, watercolor-based style of the classic Pooh adventures, albeit polished to a high-tech gloss that in no way compromises its retro charm. The desire to stay true to what was lovable and enduring about the originals is palpable throughout, down to the amusing storybook conceit of having the characters interact not only with the narrator (voiced by John Cleese), but also with the letters and punctuation marks on the page.”
The film opened today in Europe. If you’ve seen it, tell us what you think (a U.S. talkback post will be here on July 15th).