Filed under: Reviews
In 1926, A.A. Milne invited us into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, drawing upon the lovable gang of the Hundred Acre Wood. You don't have to be of any particular age to love the adventures of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo. Being in a theatre watching Walt Disney's Heffalump Movie, you can feel the excitement radiating surrounded by giggling children. Centered amongst the anticipation reminded me that the touching, worthwhile lessons learned from Pooh and Friends are not only a healthy influence for the expanding imagination of youngsters, but definitely a fun source of entertainment wrapped in memorable, heart-warming stories.
Pooh's Heffalump Movie draws attention to a neighborhood nearby – the dreaded and feared Heffalump Hollow – the residing grounds of the much-feared Heffalumps. Heffalumps, as the story goes, are scary creatures that are the product of everything our imagination can put in place of what we do not know. In fact, the scary Heffalumps frighten our friends Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo, although they have never actually seen one. Beyond a fence alongside our loved Hundred Acre Woods, the Heffalump Hollow is darker, creepier and the home to the unknown. When Pooh and the gang stumble upon a gigantic footprint, they pose the question is it a swimming pool? What kind of creature would be attached to such an enormous footprint pressed in the soil? There is only one conclusion – it must be a Heffalump! So, as the gang run to Rabbit's house to take cover from the trumpet-like sounds of the dreaded Heffalump, they decided as a collective that it is time to set out on a mission to capture the creature.
"How does one capture a Heffalump?" asks Pooh. The gang start preparing for the 1st ever Heffalump expedition in history –setting traps, cages, and practicing their lassoing techniques on a barrel illustrated with a bold scary face on it. Enthusiastic Roo wants to be the first to capture a Heffalump but Kanga and the Hundred Acre crew feel Roo is still too young to take part in the mission. A disappointed yet determined Roo insists he is capable of seeking out the dreaded Heffalump despite his disposition, and secretly convinces himself he must grow up faster to qualify for the quest.
"Do you want your nighty light?" comforts Kanga as she tucks Roo in for a good night sleep. "No thanks, I don't need it anymore!" claims Roo, reassuring his mother he is more of a grown up already. Early in the morning, anxious little Roo sets out all alone to be the first one to capture the dreaded Heffalump on his own – going against the wishes of the rest of the gang alarming him to stay away.
This latest Winnie the Pooh adventure introduces a new lovable character to the team – Lumpy (Heffridge Trumpler Brompet Heffalump the 3rd), who is a seamless addition to the original bunch from the Hundred Acre Wood. Lumpy brings to the screen a splash of innovation, creative flare and adorable quirkiness that fits the already-established mould of our classic friends. It feels like he was always meant to be a member, as if he was an original character shaped by A.A. Milne from the beginning. Lumpy is an excitable ball of energy with a contagious laugh and hilarious hiccups. The film carefully outlines the importance of accepting others – regardless of any existing differences that may set you apart. Roo and Lumpy soon realize everything that they once believed to be true about one another – all the aspects in which they were raised to fear each other – were basically gigantic misconceptions. Through their similarities as well as their individual traits, Roo and Lumpy develop a unique friendship based solely on the common youthful energies that drive them. The definition of friendship unveils itself as they discover how much fun it is to be different and learn that a quality friendship can spawn from the most unexpected places.
The film enforces such a valuable awareness for children to recognize in themselves and others that acceptance is a vital tool in relationships. Through the Heffalump Adventure, there is emphasis on teamwork, acceptance, communicating, being open to new things and opportunities, and most of all – the strong foundation of love and friendship. "The genre," says viewer Cristian Ponici, who attended the screening with wife Susie along with daughters Jordanna, 2, and Gloria, 4, "continues to create the moral fabric and values that parents adhere to."
One thing that was outlined in the story was how strongly Roo felt about wanting to grow up to gain the faith of his friends and the sense that he is capable of achieving. During the film we applaud Roo and worry for him as he tries desperately to face adulthood in the attempt to capture the first Heffalump. In the end, Roo learns that taking on challenges does not mean he has to pack up and move on from childhood. It simply means that he is in fact, maturing. When he proves his strengths to both himself and to his friends, later on he unconsciously resorts back to the thread of child fun and relieves himself of the pressure to grow up fast. Both Lumpy and Roo find themselves at a point when it is apparent that they have, indeed, grown through their journey in their own brilliant and unique ways. It is important for children to understand the necessity to take the time and allow themselves the leeway to continue being kids in a society that can sometimes impose pressures in other directions.
The delicate nature of re-inventing scenarios for Pooh and the gang to experience and still keep the flame of interest ignited has been successfully mastered once again in Pooh's Heffalump Movie. These friends have continued to entertain and educate children for decades and that can never be erased. The Hundred Acre Wood crew has a loyal following that I believe will adapt to the new characters introduced in the film and embrace them.
Tags: Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
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