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First off, you can't mention this movie without mentioning its' tone. Man, this is a really dark, emotional movie. There's a lot of nightmare fuel, tearjerking scenes, and maturity in the script that really develops the characters and studies them as much.
The movie deals with Piglet's fear, Tigger and Rabbit's egos, and Pooh's relationship with Christopher - and their dependence on him. The film deconstructs the characters' vices we've known since the beginning - their resolution really does bring great payoff to the characters. This movie could easily serve as the true finale of Pooh; the characters overcome their vices, learn they can overcome things without depending on Christopher, and that Pooh will always be with him. The last scene with the other characters is them waving goodbye to the camera - like they're waving goodbye to us and thanking us for going on such a big journey with them.
As a kid this movie scared me. It handles the Skullasaurus well in that it's never seen, only heard in the distance. And even better with the Skullasaurus? It's not real! It turns out it was fake. It fits with the themes I mentioned earlier. The Skullasaurus isn't the villain; the real struggle is the characters' flaws!
Then we come to the tearjerkers. Christopher's childhood ends. Like I've said this feels like a finale to Pooh. This is what the last chapter of the original book was about - Christopher being forced to grow up, and the cast having to live without him. It still makes me sad about growing up. Sooner or later you've gotta grow up and leave behind loved ones you'd see everyday. It's a truly poignant coming of age story, and I'm just talking about the first 5 minutes! The rest of the film sees Pooh and friends w/o Christopher to help them as they realize how damaging their dependence on him is. The most innocent things on the planet realize how helpless they are in the outside world without him.
"Wherever You Are" is the standout; "Forever and Ever" is sad since it's Pooh refusing to accept the future; "Adventure is a Wonderful Thing" is fun & scary; "Everything Is Right" celebrates the end. "If It Says So" drags though. Meanwhile, the score is tender, powerful and emotional, especially the dramatic swell in the final scene. The color palette is dull, though. I'm used to a more vibrant color palette. It fits a solemn and dark story, but it's noticeable.
This is a big movie. It deals with concepts integral to the franchise and gives closure to it. The credits song sounds more like it belongs to a live action drama's credits, not a Pooh film. But then again, this isn't just a Pooh film, nor a children's film. It's a dark, emotional and deep character study and also is a solemn film about change. This is what a movie should be.
IGN style rating: 10/10: Dark, solemn, genuinely emotional and a fantastic story about its characters' lives changing forever, Pooh's Grand Adventure is a terrific film for all ages.
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!
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.
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