Reviews: Poohs Grand Adventure
one of the best non-cannon Disney films
The film is criminally overlooked. People shy away from it because it's a Disney direct-to-video sequel, but in reality it's one of the best Disney films. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. Some of the songs are bland, and the butterfly scene was pure Filler, but... The song Forever and Ever captures the childhood belief that everything will always be the way they are now: that Christopher will always be a child exploring the Hundred Acre Wood and Pooh will never slowly descend amongst tons of garbage into an incinerator. Later on, the song Wherever You Are is the exact opposite of this: it's Pooh coming to the realization that he has failed in finding his friend, that he has lost someone without any hope of ever seeing them again, and that nothing lasts forever. Also, the characters. At the beginning, the characters have individual strengths as established in previous films. Tigger is confident in his strength, Rabbit in his intelligence, Piglet in his ability to (eventually) face his fears when his friends need him, and Pooh in his faith in Christopher Robin. Over the course of the movie, every single one of them comes to the realization that they ARE NOT SPECIAL. Tigger realizes he is not strong enough to succeed, and briefly displays the worryingly suicidal trait of being okay with plummeting down a gorge. Rabbit realizes that he is not intelligent enough, and the gang is subsequently hopelessly lost because of it. Piglet realizes he cannot overcome his fear, even to save his friends. And Pooh realizes that, no matter how hard he wishes, no matter how hard he tries, he can lose a friend. Permanently. HOW MANY CHILDREN'S MOVIES DO THAT! When you need EEYORE as comic relief, you know shit happened. Then they all get better. (Without Deus Ex Machina.) The characters are picked apart and then put together again, better than they were before. This was this troper's favorite movie growing up, and objectively remains so to this day, without Nostalgia Goggles. Much like Toy Story, it explores the idea that children grow up and leave their toys behind, but until then they can have many adventures together in the Hundred Acre Wood. Give it a watch!
Lost and found...then lost again.
The only Pooh movie to have a serious plot and deal with serious issues, "Grand Adventure" throws several Disney standards out the window and doesn't pull any punches putting Pooh & company in scary situations. I suspect Roo's absence was deliberate because everyone from Pooh to Piglet reaches their breaking point except for Eeyore, who was ALREADY broken. Sent on a rescue mission by a misinterpreted note, things go from semi-predictable to creepy to truly frightening. When the gang spends a night lost in a dark place and Tigger is makes a joke about the "splat" at the end of a fall to Piglet, things are genuinely grim for a Pooh movie. Expect to cry at least once at the very pictures of innocence cold, alone, and afraid. But Christopher Robin comes to the rescue of his rescuers and leads a march home with the dark places looking not so scary anymore and clears up the note that started the whole mess. Happy ending, right? No. You'll probably go "wait, that's not it?" But the gang didn't actually face a monster and overcoming their shortcomings didn't save the day. The usual, predictable, picture-perfect finish isn't forthcoming. The TRUE finale is a triple whammy. Christopher Robin tries to tell his best friend he's going away and he just. can't. say. it. Between explaining the note and his description of what he'd been doing that day (obviously in school) it's obvious to even children watching what he's really trying to say. But with Pooh's childlike faith in Christopher Robin, he sees it as just encouragement from his lifelong friend, and Chris turns the bad news into a stirring "believe in yourself" speech. Our last scene is of Pooh's vision going dark as he looks up at his friend whispering "I'll always be with you." It's a subtle visual metaphor for Christopher's childhood and friendships dying. And to rub it in the lyrics of "Wherever You Are" as the credits roll mourn that "forever is too good to be true". "Tearjerker" doesn't do it justice. The movie will have you cheering for the gang as they face true fear and danger to find their friend, reaching for tissues to cry in, and find yourself reminded that 'forever' is sometimes only in our hearts. It's not a perfect ending, nor even a happy one (!!!), but it is a beautiful one.
Didn't like it at all, even as a kid.
It's a Shaggy Dog Story. That's what it boils down to. Christopher Robin was never in danger, the heroes never were in danger, and everything they thought was attacking them was just a figment of their imagination and their own idiocy. Because it fell apart so anti-climactically at the end, I can't exactly get myself to appreciate all the stuff before that, since it's all going to lead up to nothing. Anything positive I can say? Well, the animation is nice. The characters still the lovable ones you've grown to love from previous Winnie the Pooh stories. The Adventure song is pretty fun, the rest can feel like filler. And some of the environments are also pretty cool, even if, again, they don't exist. I wish I could say more positives, enough to overpower the negatives, but the negative here is such a foundational problem that for me nothing at all can overcome it.