POOH’S HEFFALUMP MOVIE (2005)
Starring the voices of Jim Cummings, John Fiedler, Nikita Hopkins, Kath Soucie, Ken Sansom, Peter Cullen, Brenda Blethyn, Kyle Stanger, Jim Bennett, David Ogden Stiers and Carly Simon.
Screenplay by Brian Hohlfeld and Evan Spiliotopoulos.
Directed by Frank Nissen.
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 68 minutes. Rated G.
It’s impossible to review Pooh’s Heffalump Movie by the normal standards of what a good movie is. If you pick on little things like storyline and character development, you’re missing the point. It is useless (and perhaps just a little bit unreasonable) to grade it on an adult curve.
Pooh’s Heffalump Movie is made specifically for young children, who grade on a different scale than we do. It has favorite characters, colorful drawings, adventure and sweet Carly Simon songs. It has a cute new character. It even imparts a gentle lesson on tolerance towards those who are different from you.
Even the running time, which at 68 minutes would be insanely short for any other type of movie, makes sense in this case. Any longer, and the little kids it is targeting may get restless.
Winnie the Pooh really isn’t the main character here, young kangaroo Roo gets much of the screen time here. The storyline is simple, as is necessary. A mysterious large creature has been leaving giant footprints and making loud trumpeting sounds in Hundred Acre Wood.
The citizens of the forest are sure that it is a dangerous monster coming to harm them. Therefore, Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore go into the local woods to capture the mysterious beast, a Heffalump. Little Roo is not allowed to go because he is too young, so he decides to go on an expedition (or as he says, “expetition”) by himself.
The young kangaroo is afraid. However, when he finally meets a Heffalump named Lumpy, it turns out to be a little kid like himself. Not only that, the Heffalump is just as afraid of Pooh and the friends as they are of him.
As Roo and Lumpy get to spend some time together, they realize how much they have in common and become friends. Now Roo must make the others from Hundred Acre Woods realize that the Heffalump is not dangerous.
Pooh’s Heffalump Movie is a rarity these days — a children’s film that is specifically and entirely made FOR children. Unlike most kids films these days, they don’t drop in a lot of jokes and references just for the adults. It’s a nice thing that adults can still watch and enjoy it as a cute little story without feeling pandered to.
The most important gauge of whether or not Pooh’s Heffalump Movie works is a simple one. It was my two-and-a-half-year-old nephew George Seth’s first time to see a movie in a theater. As the end credits rolled, he said, “I want to see it again.”
Mission accomplished, Disney. (2/05)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 11, 2005.