“Winnie the Pooh”

Rated G

 

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2”

Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images

Last weekend’s movies are devoted to the very young, the not-too-young, and the young-at-heart.

First, to get us in the mood, we saw, Winnie the Pooh, a new Walt Disney Animated Studios adaptation of A. A. Milne’s classic.  Frankly, this is a very low-key, artistic gem of a film running a mere 68 minutes. I loved the opening credits featuring inanimate tableaus with Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals (and other nostalgic-evoking toys), using faded out color, perhaps something like the childhood memories of adults; a nice touch indeed.

There is a very nice blending of the book and the animated story line. The book is almost a character along with Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Owl, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Tigger, and Roo.  Occasionally, the typography gets active, in a few situations they even fall off the page into a heap at the bottom of the screen. Since I consider the book as a work of art in itself, I appreciate the guest appearance.

John Cleese of Monty Python fame is the narrator. Seems to me that the Minister of Silly Walks is fully equipped to narrate this tale and my ears were pleased to recognize an old friend.

The plot is simple. Winnie is hungry for Honey and while in the pursuit of same, Owl (Craig Ferguson of late night talk show fame) misunderstands a note thinking that Christopher Robin has been kidnapped by a monster called Backson. The gang pitches in to capture the Backson and get Master Robin back to the Hundred Acre Wood. There is a subplot about finding Eeyore’s missing tail that has to make you smile.

At the end of the film, there are the closing credits. They blow away the opening credits in originality and animated artistry. This little treat is nearly worth the price of admission. They actually are witty, charming, and whimsical.

For kids too young to see Harry Potter’s latest, this is the ticket.

What can I possibly write about the last of Harry Potter film — the end of an era? I have made the point before (in previous reviews of Potter films) that although I am not a devotee of the books or the films, I have immense respect for any author that can compel so many children to read big, fat books. Brava! Ms. Rowling.   

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 was, to me, the very best of the film franchise. Please don’t tell my niece and grand nieces this (grand Potterites they) but Part 1 bored me to tears. Part 2 made up for the experience, however. It was a wild ride and several times, I actually got anxious and worried as the pace picked up and ol’ Harry got himself into a climactic pickle.

I refrained from the 3D version. I knew that the film is dark both literally and figuratively — and you, dear readers, know my fierce disdain for fuzzy, dark, 3D movies. And, so, in 2D, there are many parts that are a feast for the eye. The bank vault scene, in particular, was massively impressive. Well done indeed. I am sure that Potterheads will find fault with key elements that fell out between book and film but a Part 3 might have overdone it. My mind had to make some rapid calculations and conclusion-making during the last twenty minutes, but I got the gist. It is a good thing I saw Part 1 the night before to refresh my memory.  

In short: good, solid fun had we this last weekend. I got to experience a fond reunion with old friends (Winnie and his pals) and bid farewell to characters for whom I have great respect (Harry and both his friends and enemies). I saw films based on great books that have filled readers with joy and inspired a lifetime of reading. For those of us who love books and movies, we have much to celebrate. God Bless Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh.

 

“Winnie the Pooh” and” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” both earn five bow ties out of five.

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