Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pooh's Heffalump Movie

POOH'S HEFFALUMP MOVIE (Frank Nissen, 2005)

Winnie the Pooh and friends return for another adventure in POOH’S HEFFALUMP MOVIE. Strange sounds from the forest lead the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood to believe that Heffalumps are out there. Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, and Eeyore decide to go on a trek to capture one of the scary beasts.

Oddly enough, about the first half of POOH’S HEFFALUMP MOVIE could be thought of as the children’s version of THE VILLAGE. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, and youngsters like Roo shouldn’t doubt that the others say to be afraid of it. The story turns, though, from fear of the unknown into a nice lesson on tolerance. Roo encounters a Heffalump close to his age and realizes that although they are different in some ways, they have much more in common. This gentle film imparts its message without being heavy-handed. The relaxed pace and good-natured spirit are a welcome relief from the hyperactive and crass kids’ films that traffic in poop jokes and kicks to the crotch. At 68 minutes, the abbreviated POOH’S HEFFALUMP MOVIE tests the limits of the minimum time required to qualify as a feature film, but in this case, I’d rather the filmmakers tell their story in the time they need than pad it out unnecessarily.

Grade: B-

(Review first aired on the February 15, 2005 NOW PLAYING)

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