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Western Animation / Pooh's Grand Adventure

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"I used to believe in forever, but forever's too good to be true."

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."
Christopher Robin.

Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin, in some countries titled Winnie-the-Pooh's Most Grand Adventure, is a 1997 direct-to-video film in the Winnie the Pooh franchise.

Christopher Robin spends the "last day of a golden summer" with his best friend, Winnie the Pooh, all the while keeping a secret from him. He leaves Pooh with some cryptic advice: "You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think… Even when we're apart, I'll always be with you."

When Pooh wakes the next day (on the first day of autumn) he discovers a note from Christopher Robin attached to a pot of honey. Pooh collects the gang and they all go to Owl to decipher the message, which had been splattered with honey and rendered illegible. Owl informs them that Christopher Robin has been taken to a horrible place called the Skull by the monstrous Skullasaurus. Owl equips the gang with a map and they set off on a treacherous quest to save their friend. Thus, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Rabbit end up facing numerous horrors and perils in the outside world beyond the sanctuary of the Hundred Acre Wood - not just from around them, but even from within…

Pooh's Grand Adventure is considerably Darker and Edgier than past stories in the franchise. Though most previous Pooh stories would feature moments of drama, this is more drama than most standard Pooh fare. It's also the first Big Damn Movie of the franchise.

The movie is loosely based on In which Rabbit has a busy day, and we learn what Christopher Robin does in the mornings story from The House at Pooh Corner, which was also partly adapted for the 2011 movie Winnie the Pooh. Some of its settings, as well as the movie's main theme, would later be adapted into Kingdom Hearts II.

Pooh's Grand Adventure provides examples of:

  • The '90s: Mostly unseen, but "Wherever You Are" does get a '90s pop ballad remix during the end credits (which is far more tearjerking and heart-wrenching than you'd expect to be featured in the credits for a DTV Pooh movie).
  • An Aesop:
    • The lesson of the movie is that the biggest obstacle holding you back from something is often yourself. As Christopher Robin puts it perfectly, “you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Have faith in yourself and you can do it.
    • The other lesson is what Pooh reflects on in "Wherever You Are". Yes, there truly is no such thing as forever because inevitably things will change, and you will inevitably lose people you care about to time and/or distance. But you will always have the love and lessons that people gave you in your heart, and it’s up to you to remember them and use them to keep going.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Cleverly deconstructed, when Pooh fails to remember that he's braver than he believes, stronger than he seems and smarter than he thinks. He learned this lesson from the start of the film but he forgot it because he is a bear of very little brain. He knows that Christopher Robin was trying to tell him something important and he correctly deduces that this knowledge can help his friends but he's not able to remember the words correctly which causes his advice to be ineffective. By the time he does remember what Christopher Robin tried to tell him, his friends have learned this for themselves. In his favor, he also remembers the crucial wisdom that even though they are apart, Christopher Robin he will always be with him. In short, Pooh knew all along but he couldn't explain it.
  • Always with You: Christopher Robin's promise to Pooh and the gang.
  • Arc Words:
    • Christopher Robin: "You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
    • "Forever (and ever)."
    • "I will always be with you."
  • Artistic License – Biology: Apparently when school starts, autumn immediately begins, and the leaves instantly change color and start to drop. In many real-life cases (particularly in the USA), public schools usually start anywhere from late July to mid-August, when it's still summer and the leaves are still green (for the most part.) Zigzagged with Great Britain (the country of origin for the original book series), where the autumn term typically begins in early September, quite some time after midsummer has passed and when trees may just be starting to turn to their autumn colours.
  • Aside Glance: Many of the characters look at the fourth wall at several points (such as Rabbit being annoyed when Pooh can't read Christopher Robin's note).
  • Assurance Backfire:
    • Played with, as it frequently occurs whenever Pooh tries to motivate his friends by recalling what Christopher Robin told him, but these motivational words would probably be very effective...if he could actually remember the words correctly.
    • Played straight with Tigger in one of the opening scenes though when he tries to motivate Piglet, only to make him more scared when he implies that Piglet could fall to his death.
  • Balloonacy: Not balloons, but apparently Piglet and Pooh can be carried through the air supported by a handful of butterflies.
  • Bat Scare: Played straight with Tigger who runs from some bats he finds in Skull while searching for Christopher Robin.
  • Beware the Skull Base: The heroes believe that Christopher Robin has been kidnapped by the fearsome monster called the the Skullasaurus and that they have to reach the "Eye of the Skull" in order to succeed, which they interpret to mean that they must journey to the Skull, a skull-shaped rock in a land of grey crags where the Skullasaurus lives and has imprisoned Christopher Robin. In truth, they just rather drastically misread a letter when he was telling them he had to go to school.
  • Big Bad: The unseen Skullasaurus, who pursues the group throughout the film or so it seems.
  • Big Damn Movie: Oh yes! A grand adventure it is, one whose stakes and emotional power have yet to be matched by Pooh fiction to date.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Skull ends up being this, especially since a significant majority of this perilous location could be underground though this could also be a result of the heroes' imagination.
  • Big Good: Played for Drama and Deconstructed with Christopher Robin. As they're all his toys, Pooh and friends think the world of Christopher Robin and look to him for guidance and assistance. When they must go on a quest to save him, they slowly break down as they question their self-worth without Christopher Robin to help them.
  • Big "WHAT?!": When Piglet tells Christopher Robin that the Skullasaurus gobbled up Pooh, he responds with a shocked "Did what?"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Even though the friends have found Christopher Robin and faced their flaws head on, Christopher Robin still won't be able to come and see them as much. But it's okay, since Pooh knows he always has Christopher in his heart, and they truly will always be together, forever and ever.
  • Break the Cutie: Much like how Christopher Robin is being forced to grow up, the main group faces some challenges that test their faith and their psyches, and at the end of the second act they are broken by them. No one gets this worse than Pooh, who has a heartbreaking song lamenting how bad things have gotten for him without Christopher.
  • Break the Haughty: Rabbit and Tigger are big victims of this as the story progresses. After Rabbit replaces Pooh as a leader to carry the map after he grows frustrated at the former's incompetence, his ego begins to inflate to a high level when they reach the mountainous regions when he sings his Image Song, "If It Says So" which claims the map is the right answer to find the boy and it takes him a few minutes to deflate when he accidentally tears the map in half after it got snagged on the branch and blown away. Tigger, on the other hand, is boastful about his tail being powerful enough to help him bounce as he helps get the remaining part of the map which lands him on the log in the ravine as a bridge which he ends up breaking it making him realize his tail is weak and quickly breaks down as the log quickly shatters nearly killing him as he fells into the ravine.
  • BSoD Song: "Wherever You Are" is sung at the end of the second act when the friends have fallen into despair over failing due to their vices - but most prominently, Pooh is lamenting that he can't find Christopher Robin and feels completely lost without him.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Once he takes charge, Rabbit orders the group to follow the map to the letter, singing a whole song about how they should trust the map, not their instincts. It's implied that Rabbit's lack of self-confidence has him using the map as a crutch to make himself feel better, since he has no idea which way he's leading the group.
  • Chain of People: Let's see... Eeyore bites a root, Rabbit grabs his tail with one hand and Piglet's feet with the other, Piglet holds Pooh, and Pooh saves Tigger. They all dangle off the edge of a cliff until Eeyore says "ouch."
  • Character Development: Most of the characters go through some sort of development by the end of the film.
    • Rabbit learns that his own brain and ingenuity is what makes him the smart one of the gang, and that he doesn't have to rely on the written word - and that in the darkest times, he really is the best leader for the gang.
    • Tigger learns how truly strong he is, not just in physical terms, but in personal terms when he decides he will try the impossible if only to save his friends.
    • Piglet learns to overcome his fears, much like Tigger, to help his friends.
    • Pooh and the entire gang overcome their dependence on Christopher Robin. Pooh in particular accepts that he may not be able to see the most important person in his life every day anymore, but that they'll always love and be with each other in their hearts - "forever and ever".
  • Chromosome Casting: The entire cast is male, since Kanga (along with Roo and Gopher) is notably absent.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Even after the climax where Pooh finally realizes the lesson Christopher Robin tried to teach him all along, he amusingly begins to interpret it a bit too literally. He begins to think that Christopher Robin is literally inside him in a way and thus debates how and if he should be eating more to also feed his best friend.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Even though they misunderstood Christopher Robin's note and he actually went to "school" and not "Skull", the gang just happen to find him in the eye of the Skull cave as soon as they reach it.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • Downplayed. The cover for the VHS and DVD, showing Pooh and friends happily setting off on their adventure, doesn't convey that this is a Darker and Edgier film, but it at least still conveys the big adventure theme of the film otherwise. The back covers, on the other hand, feature artwork that's considerably more solemn (the original VHS has a promo image of Pooh looking up into the night sky homaging "Wherever You Are") and foreboding (the gang of friends looking into the distance for the 2006 DVD), more appropriate to the film's tone.
    • The Blu-Ray cover falls guilty of this by boasting a barely-modified version of a poster for Winnie the Pooh (2011)note , complete with the otherwise-absent Kanga and Roo. Owl is also on the cover, despite not accompaning Pooh, Rabbit, Piglet, Tigger, & Eeyore on the grand adventure, but at least is still in the movie.
  • Credits Gag: "Winnie-the-Pooh ( And the Skullasaurus, too!)"
  • Crystal Landscape: Skull is filled with massive crystal structures, likely quartz, that help illuminate the evil lair. The crystals range in size from moderately large to gigantic spires.
  • Darker and Edgier: This film is a darker and edgier take on Pooh and friends, with some parts verging on downright scary as the characters leave the sanctuary of the Hundred-Acre-Wood and face perils of the outside world. The atmosphere is a lot heavier than any Pooh story to come before it, there's a lot of Paranoia Fuel, and the biggest threats to the characters turns out to be their own egos and vices. The film also sees the characters respond to what they believe is genuine death in a very mature way. Furthermore, it's an absolute Tear Jerker at some parts, even for a Disney film. Even the prologue is an ominous sign of things to come. We see a butterfly following a peaceful, meandering stream, only for the butterfly to react in shock when it sees the stream flow into a darker, scarier part of the river.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of the second act. Owl's map is useless, Rabbit breaks down and admits they have been lost for hours, and the group realizes they are hopeless without Christopher Robin. To hammer it home, Pooh's faith in Christopher is shaken and nearly torn down.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Eeyore has his moments.
    "End of the road... nothing to do... and no hope of things getting better. [Beat] Sounds like Saturday night at my house."
    • Pooh has a few moments too, though that may be due more to his innocent nature.
  • Death Seeker: Alarmingly, Tigger is willing to be abandoned to a fate of falling to his death after losing faith in his bouncing abilities. Luckily, his friends' valor in trying to save him brings him back.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Owl's song, "Adventure is a Wonderful Thing", in which he sings of the horrors awaiting the gang on their journey with gusto. Later, Rabbit's "If It Says So" has tinges of this, as massive signs begin to pop up everywhere during the song.
  • Disney Death/Not Quite Dead: Crossed with Dramatic Irony: the audience knows Pooh's alive, but Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, and Eeyore don't.
  • Dissonant Serenity: When the group first hears the Skullasaurus approaching, Piglet smiles nervously and simply asks "What was that?"
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Pooh's friends think the Skullasaurus killed him, but the audience knows Pooh is alive and well.
    • Basically how the whole point of the film is set up. Owl believes Christopher Robin has gone to "Skull" when really the audience knows he's clearly spelling "School" (if they know how to spell).
  • Due to the Dead: When Pooh is believed to have been killed, the other four rise to the challenge and face their flaws that had previously crippled them head-on to reach Christopher Robin in Pooh's name.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While it's a bittersweet ending, the cast still goes to hell and back to earn the "sweet" part.
  • Easily Forgiven: After forcibly dragging the group the wrong way and getting them lost, Rabbit mournfully admits he has no idea what he's doing and has ruined everything. Pooh, true to character, feels sorry for Rabbit's remorseful state and laments he hasn't done any better himself, with the others feeling the same.
  • The Eeyore: Obviously. "Not much of a house. Just right for not much of a donkey."
    • "It isn't mine. Then again, few things are."
    • "Thanks for noticin'."
  • End of an Age: The basis for the entire plot is that Christopher Robin won't be able to spend as much time in the Hundred Acre Wood anymore, since he's started school. And eventually, though only implied in the film itself, there will come a time when Christopher Robin will be unable to see Pooh every day, as opposed to having spent the past several years in peaceful bliss in the Hundred Acre Wood.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The characters waving farewell to each other (and half of them waving at the camera) at the end of the film as they return home feel rather cathartic, almost as if they're waving goodbye to the audience after taking such a journey with them.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Rabbit: "The Upside-Down Rock. If you've made it this far, you're (faltering) where... Monsters... Are."
  • Failed a Spot Check: Pooh and the gang failed to realize the cave they spent the night at was Skull Cave.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Has at least two of them, though one may be unintentional.
    • The implication that Christopher Robin isn't actually gone and that the gang are able to reunite with him undermines the theme of coming to terms with the loss of a loved one and/or the sudden unexplained disappearance of a close friend. The lesson that you have to learn to move on from such a loss while still cherishing the memories of your time shared doesn't hit as hard when the person in question re-emerges again. What about when Christopher Robin does eventually leave? These characters will have to experience this same journey all over again, for real, with no happy ending.
    • An additional example is that the real world is a scary place filled with things that characters are often unprepared to experience. So if everything was only scarier because of their imagination, how does this account for things that actually are scary and VERY real? Yes, your imagination can make some things scarier than they are but some fear is healthy to help one anticipate the dangers of the world.
    • Even if these flaws are legitimate, they don't take away from the core theme of finding your inner strengths when faced with adversity, nor from the themes of conquering your fears and trusting your instincts. They just threaten to undermine them, especially to a mature audience.
  • Fatal Flaw: Piglet's crippling fear, Tigger's overconfident strength, Rabbit's by-the-book knowledge, and Pooh's cheerful naïveté and faith in Christopher Robin are all exposed, picked apart, and exploited (except for Eeyore). It's the first Winnie the Pooh movie that could also double as a convincing character study.
  • Five-Man Band: Pooh is The Hero, as he's the one who provides the original reason for the quest and it's the most personal for him due to being Christopher Robin's "best best" friend. Tigger is The Lancer, the who is a foil to Rabbit; he's also the The Big Guy in the climax. Rabbit is both the The Smart Guy and The Leader of the group thanks to his brains. Eeyore and Tigger are both The Big Guy; Tigger's physical strength is what the group needs in the climax, and Eeyore himself is the largest and heaviest of the group, and at least can carry them around due to being the only quadruped. Piglet is The Heart, as he's the group's emotional core.
  • Flat "What": When Owl dramatically announces that Christopher Robin has gone to Skull, Pooh has a very flat, unimpressed "Skull??" for him before asking him to clarify.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: The storyline is reused in Winnie the Pooh (2011). Once again, Owl misreads a note Christopher Roblin left while he's at school, and assumes he's been kidnapped by a fantastical monster. This time it's mistaking "be back soon" for "The Backson." He even sings another acid trip song about it as he sends the others on their journey.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Piglet’s introduction, he’s shown to be at the very top of his acorn tree without any trouble; he only loses his confidence when he slips and looks down. He also says Christopher Robin already advised him to look his fears in the eyes and conquer them, showing that Christopher Robin already knew how brave he was.
    • Tigger is shown being unable to bounce all the way to the top of the tree to rescue Piglet, instead catching him after he falls a short distance. Tigger’s arc sees him realize that he may have limits on his physical abilities, but he’s still strong in his own right. It also foreshadows how in the climax, Tigger will similarly be unable to make the entire bounce to the Eye of Skull, but he defies gravity and logic to make the last leg purely for his friends’ sake, and the fact he made it that far to begin with is still celebrated.
    • Rabbit’s introduction similarly has him trying and failing to take a carrot out of his garden, and protests that it should come out because his almanac states that it’s time for the harvest. This foreshadows Rabbit’s arc: he has to learn that he can’t rely on the written word and that reality usually takes much more gut instinct, brains, and firsthand experience. Despite what the almanac said, the carrot just isn’t ready to come out yet.
    • The most obvious examples can be found in Fatal Flaw above, but a more subtle one can be found while the troupe are traveling through Skull: at one point, they encounter a giant wall of crystals that distorts Pooh's image so much that they mistake it for the Skullasaurus, hinting at the monster's true nature (its hellish call is actually Pooh's stomach growling) and that everything isn't quite as it seems.
    • A more visual example: When Pooh first sees Skull Cave in the distance and they go to sleep there, the inside of the cave is normal and generic, but becomes more scary and dangerous once the gang realizes they spent the night there the following day. Also, the cave looks nothing like it did when they realized it the following day. This is a clue to that the cave is not as scary as it appears to be.
  • Funny Terrain Cross Section: When Rabbit falls down an extensive tunnel, he travels through several layers of Earth containing various fossils, root systems and stones. The layers of Earth are even defined as they would be in real life.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress:
    • When the log Tigger is bouncing on collapses, he has time to look at the audience in horror as his tail starts to fall first, then his body, then finally his head. Turns into a Mind Screw when you consider that, later in that very scene, another log collapses beneath him, and gravity affects him the way it would in the real world: immediately.
    • When Eeyore lets go of the root preventing the gang from falling into a pit, he has time to say, "I said, 'Ouch'." before gravity comes into play.
    • Subverted during Tigger's bounce to end all bounces. He sends himself flying up into the air but falls just short of his goal. He falls a few feet out of the frame... only to suddenly reappear onscreen "swimming" upwards through the air to make the last few feet to his goal.
  • Grief Song: "Wherever You Are" is Pooh singing about how he misses Christopher Robin and desperately wants him to find him again, but ultimately resigns to try to dream about him if it means seeing him.
  • Grim Up North: Owl's map sends the others off northwards through a progression of increasingly large woods, the forest of thorns, and eventually "the forbidden mountains" in "the far north" in order to reach the skull-shaped mountain where the the Skullasaurus purportedly lives.
  • Growling Gut: The terrifying roars of the Skullasaurus turn out to be nothing more than Pooh's "rumbly tumbly", as he hadn't eaten any of the honey Christopher Robin gave him.
  • Hallucinations: Crossed with Through the Eyes of Madness. It turns out Skull Cave and all the other scary obstacles that Pooh and his friends passed turned out to be not so scary after all, and Christopher Robin implies they were just figments of their imagination.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: While trying to flee from the Skullasaurus, Rabbit leads the party into getting lost in a maze of thorny vines, some of which bear toothy mouths. After finding Christopher Robin, it's shown that this was merely a large cluster of wild roses.
  • Heroic BSoD: See Fatal Flaw above. This trope is evoked when they collectively come to the assumption that they simply aren't strong, smart, or brave enough to save their friend... since Christopher Robin was the one who'd always come through for them.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The note that Christopher Robin left behind explains where he has gone, but the characters are not able to read it because they are illiterate.
  • In a Single Bound: Tigger ends up trying to perform this all throughout the movie only to succeed at the very end, just barely.
  • Innocence Lost: Of all characters, Pooh, among the most innocent characters in fiction, has a moment of this when he acknowledges in song that he "used to believe in forever" but has now been made to understand that "forever's too good to be true."
  • Insufferable Genius: Deconstructed. While Rabbit proclaims himself to be a genius after taking over Pooh's role as the leader. His overconfidence starts to get to his head as his Image Song 'If It Says So' portrays him at his worst not thinking beyond what Owl's deciphering map depicts when it's actually inaccurate. He suddenly becomes humble when he ended up guiding the team in the wrong direction, forcing him into sudden despair but as they are inside the skull, he quickly gets better as he decided to think for himself instead of relying on Owl's map and relay orders to his everyone so they could rescue Christopher Robin.
  • Internal Reveal: Anyone who has a basic concept of spelling will immediately understand that Owl's misreading of S-C-H-O-O-L spells not "Skull," but "School." Though considering the target-demographic the film is aimed towards, it isn't unlikely that several children watching would believe Owl's interpretation.
  • It Was with You All Along: The ending of the movie reveals that everything the cast had searched for, they had all along.
    • Piglet was always a very brave little guy, proven by when he immediately threw himself off a cliff to rescue Pooh and Tigger.
    • Rabbit was always very smart, and never needed a map to effectively lead the group.
    • Tigger always was extremely strong, if not physically then emotionally.
    • And Pooh learns that Christopher Robin was and will always be with him in his heart.
    • Eeyore sums it up best.
    Eeyore: Didn't need to come all the way out here to find it. Always had it inside all along.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Arguably Owl, as the movie becomes Darker and Edgier during his first scene. Also counts as a Meta Example, as it was his map and sway over the group's imagination that made the events and locations they encounter so scary in the first place. Once Christopher Robin is found, the group discovers to their shock that Skull and the rest of the Great Unknown are no scarier than the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood.
  • The Leader: Pooh is initially this, as he is the one who first brings the team together. However, being a bear of very little brain, Rabbit takes over after he gets them nowhere during the first Skullasaurus "attack". At the end of the second act, during the group's Heroic BSoD, Rabbit gives up his title after making a ton of bad choices and getting them lost. Then Pooh briefly starts making the decisions, but when he is separated from them, and the map proves useless, Rabbit finally becomes an accomplished leader when trying to get to the Eye of Skull. It seems that while Pooh has some leadership abilities, Rabbit when on top of his game is the best one to lead the group.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Played straight, to increase the search area.
  • Man-Eating Plant: While fleeing the Skullasaurus, the party gets lost in a maze of thorny vines bearing large, toothy maws. After finding Christopher Robin, it's shown that this was merely a large cluster of brambles, which the gang had mistaken for monstrous plants in their fear and confusion.
  • Meta Guy: Owl knows all about the various perils of an epic fantasy quest, and thus is the one who sends the gang out on their journey. Once the gang overcomes their fears, they find that all the things he dreamt up as part of their quest were all false, and they dissolve alongside the conflict of the film.
  • Mistaken for Dying: After Pooh gets separated from his friends in Skull Cave and they hear his screaming in the distance, they believe he was eaten by the Skullasaurus.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Pooh keeps mishearing Christopher Robin's advice due to having very little brain, and comes out as strange suggestions such as "Braver than a bee," "Longer than a tree," "Taller than a goose," "Bolder when you're not green," or "Smarter when you're pink." He only remembers it completely once trapped down in Skull Cave alone.
  • Monster Delay: Played with. The cast continuously runs from the monster before it could appear, and when it appears that the Skullasaurus has the heroes cornered it's averted as the suspected shadow of the monster is revealed to be Christopher Robin.
  • My Greatest Failure: Tigger being unable to bounce out of the gorge, and subsequently bringing his friends down with him; Piglet being unable to save himself from a swarm of butterflies; and Rabbit getting the group lost.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Pooh and Christopher Robin's discussion about doing "nothing" is reprised for the opening of this film.
    • Tigger tears into some honey, but remembers from The Blustery Day that "Tiggers don't like honey!"
    • The end of the film hearkens back to more classic dialogue from the two's farewell in both the original books and the epilogue of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
  • Narrator: David Warner serves as the narrator of the film. Though the film contains a few Aside Glance's, Warner does not interact with the characters. He also does not provide any narration for most of the second half of the film, his last spot being when describing how Rabbit is leading the group astray when they're looking for the Forbidden Mountains, and only returning for the film's ending.
  • Never Say "Die": "The got Pooh."
  • No Antagonist: Revealed only at the end of the film, as there was no Skullasaurus and the main obstacle of the entire movie was actually the characters overcoming their fears and Pooh realizing the true depth of his relationship with Christopher Robin.
  • No Sense of Direction: Played for laughs and straight; After Pooh's trusted with the map deciphered by Owl. He and his friends set off to search for Christopher Robin and as they heard the 'Skullasaurus' roar, assuming it was following them. Pooh tries to ease the situation when everyone immediately panics by reading the map and pointing in every directions to run away from it together but it's obvious that Pooh is illiterate despite being a leader and Rabbit losing his patience with him snatches the map from him and assumes himself as a leader.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Lampshaded when Tigger tries to comfort Piglet with this cheery exchange:
    Tigger: Don't worry, Piglet ol' pal. There's no difference between falling a thousand feet to the jagged rocks below and tumbling out of bed.
    (Piglet uncovers his eyes and grins)
    Piglet: Oh. Really?
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • None of the characters ever actually see the Skullasaurus (because it doesn't exist), but that's part of what makes it so scary to them. In particular, the first encounter with the beast has the group look up in horror as the roars of the Skullasaurus' roars echo through the woods they just emerged from, initially completely devoid of score. There's one point where they do believe they've finally seen it, but it's actually a distortion of Pooh's reflection in the crystals within the Skull cave. This turns out to be Foreshadowing, as the Skullasaurus' roars they'd been hearing the whole time was actually the sound of Pooh's stomach getting hungrier, so in a sense, Pooh was the Skullasaurus all along.
    • The world beyond the Hundred Acre Wood is treated this way, since it’s unfamiliar territory and the characters, being Christopher Robin’s playthings, have never left home to this extent before. They’re appropriately on edge most of the journey especially once they believe the Skullasaurus has begun hunting them. It ends up getting Downplayed since even before the Once More, with Clarity at the end of the film, most of the “Great Unknown” is just as mundane as the rest of the world and it’s the characters’ own insecurities and vices that cause them the most trouble.
  • Not So Stoic: Eeyore spends most of the film being... well, the Eeyore, but he is genuinely horrified when Piglet leaps to save Pooh from falling into the gorge. Later, Eeyore screams for his life like he'd never done before when a bridge breaks under him in Skull.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: At the start of the film, Christopher Robin's attempts to tell Pooh that he will not be seeing him tomorrow are not helped at all by Pooh repeatedly stating how he's glad they're meant to be together "forever and ever."
  • Oh, Crap!: Many examples, but probably the biggest example is Eeyore after realizing he just let go and caused them all to plummet into the screaming gorge.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • When Pooh is about to plummet into the gorge with Tigger, Piglet immediately leaps into peril to save him without a moment's hesitation, only a completely serious and grave expression on his face. Eeyore and Rabbit follow suit, completely shocked and terrified by Piglet's act of bravery.
    • The group as a whole is this when they realize they don't have what it takes to find Christopher, let alone go home.
      Tigger: Let's face it. Without Christopher Robin, we don't stand a chance of finding Christopher Robin.
  • Once More, with Clarity: After finding Christopher Robin, the gang realize that everything was only as scary as it was because they believed it to be, and the end musical number shows that the gorge was a tiny dip and the carnivorous plants were merely thorny.
  • Out of Focus: Eeyore does not have a character arc like the other four members of the group, and doesn't contribute much, but is still included as he's one of the franchise's core characters. He does provide some of the film's funniest moments regardless.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The gang needlessly went on an epic quest to save Christopher Robin just because some honey blurred the note he left. Owl's rather sub-par spelling skills don't help matters.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: After the scene where everyone, minus Pooh, runs away from the distorted gigantic image of him, Pooh backs up in fear towards a long, long slippery rockslide, screaming all the way down, ending in him getting stuck in a wall of crystal until almost the end of the film.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Again, the film shows the first day of school happening on the first day of autumn, and the leaves instantly change color and start to drop overnight. In many real-life cases, public schools usually start anywhere from mid-August to mid-September, when it's still technically summer and the leaves are still green (for the most part), as the first day of autumn is really September 22nd.
  • Red Herring: When the gang is dangling from the cliff, Eeyore's tail (which Rabbit and by extension the other four are holding onto) begins to stretch, and it looks like the classic gag of Eeyore losing his tail will send the gang hurtling down. Instead, Eeyore, having been holding on by biting a root, opens his mouth and clarifies to Tigger that he said "Ouch". Then they fall.
  • Refusal of the Call: When Owl is rushing the group to start their quest, Rabbit tries to break off and run home. It doesn't work as Owl immediately catches him and shoves him back with the others.
  • Remembered Too Late: Subverted in that Pooh doesn't remember the lessons he was supposed to tell Piglet, Tigger and Rabbit and that these heroes manage to discover their bravery, strength and wit on their own. Pooh also remembers the lesson that Christopher Robin will always be with him at the climax of the film without anyone's help.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: While Pooh and the gang were wrong about what Christopher Robin's letter said — they thought he was trapped by the Skullasaurus when he was really going to school — the eyehole of Skull Cave was where they found Christopher Robin (because he happened to be wandering around there after returning from school).
  • Rule of Symbolism: Quite a few.
    • Pooh's honey pot is a physical representation of his initial belief that he is apart from Christopher Robin completely when they are not physically together. He clings to it throughout the movie, and even sadly looks into his reflection in the honey inside during "Wherever You Are". When he finally realizes that Christopher is always with him, he takes one last look into the pot to realize the truth, and ultimately gives it up when Christopher Robin rescues him from the pit.
    • The map is a representation of Rabbit's lack of confidence in his own mind. He orders the gang to follow it and him without question. He views it as a crutch to lean on so he doesn't have to try to come up with something on his own. At the end of his song about the map, the thing ends up ripping in half and becomes more and more useless until the gang reaches the Eye of Skull. Tattered and crumpled, Rabbit finally realizes it's useless and discards it, finally using his own brain to lead the team.
    • Piglet climbing the tree at the film's beginning represents his own demeanor. Climbing the stories-high tree proves that Piglet is capable of great acts of bravery, but when one little branch he's on snaps, he completely crumples. Once he gets the confidence boost he needs, he overcomes his fears and climbs the tree at the film's end with no problem.
    • Tigger's tail apparently not giving him enough bounce to grab Piglet in the opening scenes symbolizes his inner self-doubt about his abilities ultimately causing him to shut down. Later, in the gorge, this is exactly what happens: Tigger loses faith in his tail and ends up completely shutting down.
    • Christopher Robin tenderly places two fireflies into a sleepy Pooh's hands, and the two seem to become one - representing how the two are always together.
    • The Skullasaurus also counts in this regard. The fear of a wider and larger world, where Christopher Robin isn't around and closing fast, that the heroes have to run from at every turn before they are forced to confront it.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Pooh's Disney Death is what convinces the others to finally rise above their insecurities and make the final push to save Christopher Robin.
  • Sanity Slippage: Played for Laughs when discussed by Tigger. Piglet offers to be Pooh's new "best-best-friend" in the wake of Christopher Robin's absence. Pooh declines, since only he and Christopher Robin can do "nothing." Tigger muses to Eeyore that Pooh's apparently losing what little brain he had.
  • Scare Chord: When Pooh spots the Upside-Down Rock.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • At the end of "Adventure is a Wonderful Thing", Rabbit can be seen trying to run home when Owl is ushering the group onto their journey. Owl stops him and sends him along with the others.
    • When the Skullasaurus appears to have followed the group into the thorn forest, Piglet runs for his life in a panic.
  • Series Fauxnale:
    • The movie could easily serve as the true end to Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh fiction. It tackles the ramifications of the ending of the original books head on, having Pooh and Christopher Robin make peace with the fact that they'll always be together, and the cast overcoming their major flaws they're always portrayed with. While of course the franchise continued, this film could easily serve as the endgame of the stories of the Hundred-Acre Wood.
    • Some fans at the least consider the film to be the Grand Finale of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, given the fact it had the same animation and story crew (and therefore the same animation and art style), as well as the same voice cast (except for Owl and Christopher Robin).
  • "Setting Off" Song: "Adventure Is A Wonderful Thing", which Owl sings to the group about all the dangers they'll be facing, and how they might not return, before sending them off to Skull to find Christopher Robin.
  • Situational Irony: While also a case of foreshadowing, Rabbit and the gang thinking that they see the Skullasaurus at one point has an ironic nature to it since even though it is actually Pooh's reflection, who's rumbling stomach is what they are actually afraid of, this actually scares Pooh who thinks there actually is a Skullasaurus.
  • Skeleton Motif: After the gang deciphers Christopher Robin's letter, they become convinced that he's been kidnapped by a monstrous "Skullosaurus" and taken away to a place known as "the Skull". This is represented by a giant skull symbol on Owl's map, and turns out to be a cave bearing a suspicious resemblance to a cranium once the gang actually gets there. In the end, it turns out that they had just misread a message saying Christopher Robin was off to school, and their fear made the cave appear a lot more monstrous than it really was, though it still looks remarkably like a skull even in its true appearance.
  • Slippery Skid: Rabbit experiences a version of this as he fails to stay on his feet while slipping on acorns. Later, Piglet plays this straight when he panics in the eye of the skull and falls off a ledge...only to fall on Eyeore.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: Even with the film's darker, more mature tone and scope, the rather dramatic credits version of "Wherever You Are" wouldn't sound out of place at the end of a drama like fellow 90's film Ghost.
  • Supervillain Lair: Skull functions as this for the Skullasaurus though we never see this creature interacting with this base since the Skullasaurus in all likelihood doesn't exist.
  • Tempting Fate: "Forever and Ever" is full of it, as Pooh's worst fears come true the very next day.
    Pooh: I wanna call your name forever/And you will always answer forever/And both of us will be/Forever you and me/Forever and ever.
  • The Quest: Played straight; they even have a parchment map!
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Happens pretty much whenever a character hears the Skullasaurus. Eeyore has the precognition to remind everyone that as terrifying as Skull Cave looks, something that sucks a lot more is going to find them if they don't go inside now.
    Rabbit: We have no idea what we'll find! (Skullasaurus roars in the distance)
    Eeyore: (begins running inside) But we know what's gonna find us!
  • Those Two Guys: Piglet and Eeyore are often seen together, though mostly during the latter parts of the film.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Once Christopher Robin is found, Pooh and the gang exit the cave and to their surprise, the cave looks smaller and less scary than before when they entered. Christopher Robin points out to them, "Well, things can seem that way when we're alone, or afraid, or someone's hurt." As they are heading home during the "Everything Is Right" sequence, we get to see how several of the other scary things they passed really looked like. And before all this, all the growling that was thought to be the Skullasaurus was really the growling of Pooh's tummy.
  • Too Good to be True: As said in his song, Pooh honestly believed that no matter what, Christopher Robin would always be by his side and that they would always play together "forever and ever". When this is found not to be the case however, Pooh utters this trope in a song, sounding heartbroken on top of that. Indeed, this realization is quite a devastating blow to the stuffed bear.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Rabbit is more of a control freak than a jerk in this film, but he softens considerably after he breaks down once he gets the group lost. No better shown when he gives the map to a sleeping, hurt Pooh to keep warm in the middle of the night.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Skull. It is dark, ominous and eerie, and the lair of the Skullasaurus, which has been hunting the group the entire film.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: During "Adventure Is A Wonderful Thing", Owl takes the place of Uncle Sam with his Tagline being "We want you" when trying to rally the gang's spirits.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: The typical Wacky Hijinks of the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood where the biggest danger to be found was bad weather and annoying pests gives way to a perilous journey from their homes to the "great unknown" in search of Christopher Robin, where Pooh and the others face their respective character flaws head on and at several points are very nearly overcome by them. To say nothing of them all thinking that Pooh has been killed at one point. Tropes Are Not Bad, though.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: In contrast to the peaceful, lovely fields and woodland of the Hundred Acre Wood where the main characters live, the Skullasaurus' lair is in a gloomy, fog-shrouded land of gray crags, bare rock and leafless trees under a slate-gray sky.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tigger and Rabbit as usual. In this film they come to rely on each other's leadership and strength, even after their typical banter and repartee.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction: Twice. With Eeyore, when he's falling after a bridge he was walking on collapses. And again with Tigger where he and Eeyore run into Rabbit.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Owl seems to think he's making a map for a dark, epic fantasy film, not a Winnie the Pooh film. This is a part of his Knight of Cerebus status; it's his map and romantic ideas of adventure that make the journey so dark, when nothing is really as scary as it seems. And even then, his map is wildly inaccurate to the world he was trying to map out.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The basis of the Arc Words above.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: It's implied Skull Cave and all those strange obstacles Pooh and the gang faced were all in their head, as Christopher Robin puts, can happen if they're alone, afraid, or if someone's hurt. Skull Cave appears much smaller than it looked like when Pooh and the gang first saw it, the carnivorous plants were just a garden of harmless roses, and that log over the ravine was just a tiny dip.

I've hung a wish on every star
It hasn't done much good so far
I can only dream of you.
And wonder if you're dreaming too..
... Wherever you are.

Alternative Title(s): Poohs Grand Adventure The Search For Christopher Robin, Winnie The Poohs Most Grand Adventure


The Thorn Forest

While trying to flee from the Skullasaurus, Rabbit leads the party into a maze of thorny vines where they soon become lost.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheHedgeOfThorns

Media sources: