Misguided Reviews

The Fox and The Hound

If a film franchise you love goes through a “creative downturn” or your favourite band have a spell consisting of a couple of drab albums devoid of fresh ideas, you could compare it to travelling aboard a luxury cruise liner on a tour of the South Pacific, but encountering some turbulent waters in a force nine gale. As someone who is by no means a Disney fan, yet somehow finds themselves trawling through the series anyway, the company’s creative downturn of the late 70’s and 80’s feels like travelling over the same turbulent waters in a force nine gale, but in a garbage boat heading for Pleasure Island. Despite the, at times unpleasant, journey, I’m persevering on this rocky trip of watching through all things Disney, even if by continuing, I await a fate comparable to the obnoxious brats that end up on Pleasure Island. For those that aren’t as big a Disney fan as me (sarcasm), that means being turned into a Donkey-Slave-Child.

image 8With that in mind we come to today’s film, the world famous and highly renowned (again, sarcasm.) feature, ‘The Fox and the Hound’. As someone who is “misguided” when it comes to Disney, I look to offer advice to other “misguided” people who are nervous about which films to commit precious minutes of their life to, as well as to Disney fans who are trying to gently manipulate share their passion to their partners / spouses and friends. By advice, this mostly means saying which films will be tolerable to someone who doesn’t like the Disney approach to cinema, and a warning to those well-meaning Disney fans as to which films could result in break-up / divorce or unfriending on Facebook. If a friend decided I would enjoy and then made me watch “The Three Caballeros”, I would probably go a step further and block them. ‘The Fox and the Hound’ is a perfect example of a film I would not recommend to a fellow “misguided” person. I’m not saying it’s a terrible film, It’s just very, very…. “Disney-ish”. All the stereotypical characteristics that make up a film that is unmistakably Disney are present in abundance here. And if those characteristics don’t usually appeal, this film most definitely won’t be for you…

The one thing about the film that doesn’t reek of Disney is the opening credits. There isn’t that happy-go-lucky tune or warbling major-key choir. There’s a dark, ominous ambience. And a feeling that something horrible is about to happen in the woodland that we’re panning across…. Ok, maybe it reeks of Disney a little bit…

image 9We see a vixen running with her fox-cub as they’re being chased by hunters… It’s rather familiar. It reminds me of a certain Disney film involving deer. That’s never good. But surely they won’t kill a baby’s mother in the opening two minutes of film would they? Even Disney wouldn’t be that… Oh, they have. Just great. After taking the fox-cub to safety, she gets shot. This is going to be a long eighty-something minutes.

Now obviously by the title alone, I was expecting a plot that alluded to fox hunting, and by that fact alone, it was likely to be an emotional rollercoaster… but this in two minutes? Really? I wasn’t prepared for that. The only silver-lining is that it happens so early in the film, there isn’t chance to become invested in the mother / son bond, or the characters themselves, like you do in Bambi. That still doesn’t take away from the emotional fuckery that’s been put upon the viewer with so much of the film to go. I know there are plenty of films where a character dies, and death is a part of life, especially if you’re a fox dealing with bastard humans, but a death like this stands out for a few reasons. image 6Firstly, being a baby’s mother that dies, the viewer knows that the cub will always be an orphan, and never have protection from the one source that any person or animal most wants and needs. There is next to nothing that the film can do in its remaining runtime to cover the eternal loss. I give kudos for Disney giving him a loving owner, but later on they even have to fuck with that. Another reason that Disney takes a character death to the next level is that the fox-cub is ridiculously cute. Human empathy is always triggered more from the suffering of something cute. Especially if the animal has been slightly humanised. The other reason that this is hard to deal with, is that it’s in an animated family film. Even though I expect Disney to do this sort of shit, it’s still harder to deal with it in this setting rather than in a horror film and is a fairly grim start to a family cartoon that contains virtually no comedy, and repeatedly adds new grim or depressing aspects to it. The fox-cub named Tod is adopted by a nice old lady and befriends a bloodhound-puppy named Copper, and they play and frolic. image 4But once the bloodhound has been taught how to hunt, it inevitably ends up with Tod being viewed more as prey than a friend. And of course, sadness at the end of this friendship follows. Later on, in order to protect Tod, the nice old lady releases him into the wild, which of course leads to more sadness. There are a few instances where an animal nearly gets itself killed in true Disney fashion. And there’s the moment where Tod looks in the back of Copper’s owners hunting truck to see many, many fox skins, which becomes grimmer the more you think about it.

So, this has caused me to have an internal debate. I feel that usually, a family cartoon’s primary purpose is to be warm and light-hearted. I also feel that being funny is important because one of the main perks of a family film for any parent is seeing the children laugh. Tom and Jerry, this film isn’t. The debate I’m having is whether this should be a problem or not. Even Kerry, who is a major Disney fan, found the previous film ‘The Rescuers’ to be lacking in humour and light. I suppose a family cartoon can be a serious drama, but I would choose something more playful every time.

image 2To give the film some credit though, every low point has a high point after. After the mother dying, Tod gets a loving owner. After being left in the woods, Vixey (original name) proves to be a good love interest for Tod that ultimately makes him happy. And ultimately, despite wanting him dead, after Tod saves Copper from a bear, the two of them end up as good as they can be in the circumstances. But ultimately, this is still possibly the hardest film I’ve had to review, outside of Bambi. As I’ve said in the past, the easiest films to review are funny films, bad films and films with inexplicable headfucking moments, which Disney usually gives me in abundance. This is a serious film and, as I said before, isn’t even that bad (the low grade I’m giving it is purely based on my personal enjoyment factor) so this has been a slog. I’ll finish with my usual ‘predictable things Disney does’ rating:

⭐ For inexplicably cheesy songs. Also, in recent films Disney has taken to having lyrics that basically just say what is happening in the plot under the assumption most kids (and me) had stopped paying attention at some point.

⭐ Parent snuff. Say no more.

⭐ Frolicking animals. As always.

⭐ High-drama-physics-bending chase scenes.

⭐ To be honest, I’m going to have to start adding a star for Disney forgetting that a bit of light amusement goes a long way as that’s certainly been absent for the last 2 films…

So, all in all, this was a VERY Disney film. Black Cauldron next. The hits just keep coming…


Ben 🙄

I’m not shocked at Ben’s opinion of this film. I was, however, surprised at my own. I actually quite enjoyed it. Despite what he said in his review, I found quite a few bits funny and found a lot of characters very endearing. Yes, the fox-cub’s mum dies at the beginning. I can’t see how that could’ve progressed the story without the death, so she was essentially collateral damage for the greater good of the film.

image 7What I found interesting was, (and I’m sure a lot of people are aware of this, but the discussions have clearly bypassed me) how Disney have created a very good metaphor for institutionalised racism in society, particularly towards natives. Copper represents the white person and Tod represents the native, showing that as children, before being trained to hate by their parents or peers, they don’t notice any real differences between them and just see someone that they can play and become friends with. Then, once Copper’s owner takes him away to ‘train him to be a hunter’, he learns to see Tod as the enemy that must be destroyed.

Much like the theory behind Elsa singing ‘Let It Go’ because she’s had enough of hiding who she truly is, being a metaphor for coming out as gay, Disney’s broaching these subjects at all is welcomed and needed but could definitely do with being less subtle and a little more in-ya-face.

Or maybe it’s nothing to do with that and just a film about how fox hunting is bad. As a hunting-hating vegetarian and an anti-racist, I’m happy either way. Still look forward to the first openly-gay (and mentioned-is-actually-gay-rather-than-just-alluding-to-it-through-stereotypically-gay-mannerisms) lead (or even strongly supporting) Disney character.


Kerry 😁

New Releases

Artemis Fowl

Happy Monday to you all! As I am still furloughed and my six-year-old is back at school four days a week, what better way to spend my time than by watching Disney’s most recent offering, Artemis Fowl. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t even aware of the book series existence, let alone read any of them, so I had no idea what to expect from the film. When I first saw the title advertised, my instant thought was that it was another Star Wars spinoff. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that it wasn’t. Not that I have anything against Star Wars films, I just don’t intend to review or even watch the new ones when they are realeased. I think the last offering from that franchise that I watched in full, was Episode 1: Phantom Menace, about a year after it came out. So, *checks IMDB*… Fuck! 2000?! 20 years ago, then. Suffice to say, if anyone wants to discuss the latest offerings, I tend to refer them to my brother or my dad. As always, I just heinously digressed. Back to Artemis Fowl.

image 1Based on the book by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl is the story of… Artemis Fowl (Jr, to be precise). A twelve-year genius/prodigy who’s father (Artemis Fowl Sr) gets kidnapped by a fairy (I mean various synopsises say it’s a fairy, although their voice and demeanour didn’t seem overly fairy-like). Artemis has to devise a plan, requiring other creatures from the fairy realm, to help get his Dad back. That’s the story in a nutshell.

Now, as I said, I haven’t read the books. However, looking at the reviews for the film IMDB, I’m quite glad that I haven’t. Those that are lovers of the series seem to hate the film as it is so far from the story in the first book. I think that this is similar to how Harry Potter fans felt after those films came out (although not quite as hateful). I hadn’t read the Harry Potter books until, I think, Order of the Phoenix was released in the cinemas and, as I had nothing to compare them to, I loved the Harry Potter films and thoroughly enjoyed Artemis Fowl. image 8I can see where the book lovers are coming from though. It was quite vague in parts, which I’m sure is where the books would fill in the gaps. However, despite not knowing the characters, I enjoyed the casting choices. Current Disney-darling, Josh Gad, is great in every role he plays and his portrayal of giant dwarf thief (he is a giant dwarf that is a thief, not a big guy that steals dwarves, I should clarify), Mulch Diggums was no exception. It was nice to see Colin Farrell not playing a bad guy for a change and he is very easy on the eye, so his presence in the film as Artemis Fowl Sr, was appreciated by me and my daughter. Judy Dench was Judy Dench, so no complaints there.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the film a lot and can’t wait for the sequel, which was nicely set up.


Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Rescuers

I’ve now watched the first 22 Disney Animation Studios films (not including the racist one that is hidden from history, at least on Disney+) and I’ve discovered that the franchise isn’t just one continuous success story of box-office smash hits, all renowned for their artistic mastery and exquisite storytelling. Ok, admittedly as someone who is a lifelong Disney cynic (or “Disneyphobe” if you will), and that is on a journey through their back catalogue, I’m unlikely to think that the series is consistently wonderful anyway, but it’s still surprising to discover that Wikipedia and most mainstream media group Disney Animated Studios cinematic releases into “golden era’s” and “periods of creative decline”…

The last film I watched was ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh’, which, although fine for kids under ten, was hardly the most gripping of stories ever put on tape. Today I will review “The Rescuers”, who’s title hardly carries a ‘Cinderella’ or ‘The Lion King’ level of head-nodding recognition. Next, I will review ‘The Fox and the Hound’, which sounds like a right barrel of laughs. Then it’s ‘The Black Cauldron’. One question: What the fuck is ‘The Black Cauldron’?! No really. Never heard of it. Then we have ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ and ‘Oliver & Company’… Hmmm. So, seeing as those titles aren’t exactly household names either, no wonder Wikipedia has stated that we’re entering a “period of creative decline” then…

But let’s deal with one creative misstep at a time, and so onto ‘The Rescuers’. From my experiences so far, Disney films have always started with a VERY Disney song and some VERY Disney intro credits. It’s a sure-fire way to reassure other people that they are about to watch something very Disney, and a sure-fire way to warn me, that I’m about to watch something very Disney… But this time it doesn’t start with the credits and a god-awful tune! It jumps right into the first scene. I’m disconcerted by this. For most companies to justify changing that tried and tested formula of decades, it would mean that they’ve written one hell of an impactful opening sequence involving fascinating scenery, intrigue and/or characters so enigmatic that the viewer is sure to stick around for the remainder of the movie. For Disney it’s so we can be introduced to an old ship containing what appears to be two BDSM sex-slave alligators….BDSM Sex slave Aligators

And then the intro credits start. I’m now hooked, what about you? 🙄

Maybe they decided it wise not to start the film with the opening credits, due to the fact the accompanying song is really rather bad. Even for them. It’s a reminder that we are now well into the 1970’s. It is also a reminder that for all the disco, rock, prog, funk and punk that made the decade special for musical innovation, it is also the decade that gave us this. And by “this” I mean a woman warbling over the top of some stoned dudes playing acoustic guitars and flutes. It’s the sort of whimsical folk music that sounds so dated because next to no-one has felt the urge to listen to it in the last forty years. And now the film’s opening credits have finally started, it appears that it doesn’t want to ever end. My god it’s long. And it repeats the line “who will rescue me?” many, many times. I’ll happily rescue her if she shuts the hell up.

Two days later and the opening credits draw to an end, and now the story can continue. Will we find out some backstory about our BDSM sex-slave alligators? I’m guessing no, seeing as the scene starts at the United Nations conference in New York (unless one of the delegates gets some interesting questions regarding his expenses later on). Obviously as this is Disney, we don’t find out the important, and no doubt significant happenings involving the people in the building. We find out what the mice are doing. Image 11.2It turns out they’re copying the humans and having a general assembly of rodents from across the globe. Which reminds me that I award a ⭐ for every time Disney does something that is so “predictably Disney”. And this is a doozy!

⭐ One star for the spectacular racial stereotyping of the nationalities of the different mice.

⭐ Another star for the mice frolicking and engaging in slapstick visual comedy, in that way in which Disney, bless them, have cornered the market…

As has been the case in a few of the Disney films since ‘101 Dalmatians’, I’m really not keen on the animation. Although probably more skilfully drawn, it lacks the bright warmth of the simple bold drawing that other companies and even Disney themselves often incorporate. With this sort of animation, I find I’m always aware that I’m watching drawn characters in drawn settings as the pencil outlines seem to dominate the visuals. It’s like someone in Disney’s animation department was desperate to make sure the viewer never forgets how hard they had to work in developing the end product you see in front of you…

Anyway, these mice are part of the International Rescue Aid Society. They have received a message in a bottle about a girl in trouble. And that they need to save her. Then they start singing. This is exactly why mice aren’t usually deployed in high-risk rescue missions. You have a young girl in peril and rather than rushing off to sort shit out, or better yet inform the authorities, they have a good old song and dance! Get you shit together mice. Eventually, they send the formidable sounding duo of Mr Bernard and Miss Bianca to solve the case… Sleep easy little girl.

image 13I can’t properly recall what happens next but in my notes, I wrote “Mr Bernard and Miss Bianca piss off a lion. Then we go to an orphanage because it’s Disney”. I’m sure that sums things up fairly accurately. The mice are in said orphanage. They speak to an old cat. We know he’s old because he has a moustache and glasses, as all old cats do… I’m zoning out throughout all of this because I’m incredibly bored. He tells them about a girl in the orphanage that went missing. Apparently, in the flashback we see from the cat’s memory (and why would we question the recollections of a potentially senile feline?), the missing girl’s name is Penny. She really wanted to be adopted but was ignored on adoption day. Typical happy fucking Disney. Not for the first time my mood is substantially lower now that it was before the film began… Interesting, Penny’s toy bear looks an awful lot like Winnie the Pooh, who just happens to be the star of Disney’s other release from the same year. That’s subliminal advertising for you right there. I wonder if Winnie the Pooh is carrying around a ‘Penny the Orphan’ doll and I didn’t spot it? Anyway, some bitch from a pawn shop once tried to lure her away in a car, so she’s a suspect.

image 8.2Now we go to the pawn shop, which will indeed almost certainly, contain the antagonist who took the girl. I know this will be the case because of the sinister music. You never get sinister music before a happy scene of frolicking baby rabbits. Unless one gets shot perhaps (although knowing Disney it would probably be one of the parents who snuffs it). But happily, inside the shop there are no dead animals, but there is a woman. It’s a white trash Cruella De Vil. The mannerisms are the same, facial expressions are the same. It’s as though they were sisters separated at birth, one was raised by English gentry in a manor house and the other in a trailer somewhere in Louisiana. The writers have clearly just made this woman a budget-Cruella here as the original one was regarded as a successful antagonist. It feels lazy. After yelling at someone on a phone, she packs her bags and is off on a trip to her boat on the Bayou.  Where she will probably do something mean and original, like skinning 99 kittens maybe. The two mice sneak into her car though, so they can keep track of her… until they are flung out by her terrible driving. Which means they need a new way to complete their journey.

image 6This leads us to what is most likely the longest ‘two mice planning their travel arrangements, then travelling in a sardine tin on an albatross’s back’ scene in the history of film. I haven’t researched it to confirm if it’s definitely the longest, but I’m confident that the scenes multi-day runtime will easily put it in contention. I didn’t time it either by the way, but that’s how long it felt.

⭐ I’m giving Disney another star here for the predictably horrible music that accompanies their journey. I hate the soundtrack for this film more than anything I’ve watched since I heard Snow White sing. And that was in the first film…

Now we switch scenes to find budget-Cruella along with what turns out to be her sex-slave alligators. She has a slave / servant / partner / bitch (not sure which) called Snoops. They are after a diamond but need someone small, like a young orphan for example, to retrieve it for them as they are too big to fit into the cave type thing where it’s hidden. This is a REALLY stupid story. Why not just use explosives or machinery to retrieve it? For plot purposes, they decide to use Penny instead.

image 12Meanwhile, the mice have fallen out of their sardine-tin-albatross plane and have ended up in depths of the Bayou. There’s lots of animals, such as rats and a dragonfly and more utterly horrific music. I’m done with this film. I haven’t found myself invested in a single character so far. None of them have any depth whatsoever. There’s no reason to care about the mice other than the fact that they’re trying to save the orphan. Not only that, but there’s no light in this film! Usually when Disney have a dark storyline, there’s always a lot of fun things to offset it. But here, the slapstick feels forced and dull and there’s no humour.

Budget-Cruella and Snoops are now making Penny retrieve the diamond. Clearly concerned that while kidnapping an orphan to retrieve a diamond is indeed bad, it’s still not a heinous as skinning puppies. So, they try to add further shade by having her tell Penny things like “no-one would ever adopt you”. At one point after Penny retrieves the diamond, budget-Cruella won’t give her teddy back to her, for literally no reason whatsoever. It all feels forced.

image 1With the diamond now in budget-Cruella’s hands, she turns on her slave / servant / partner / bitch (still not sure which) and tries to escape with said diamond and inexplicably, Penny’s teddy (seriously, why? What’s the point?). But yeay, here are the mice and some of the other random animals to sort shit out (I should point out that have been a few scenes involving these animals that I’ve completely skipped over. That is because most of them involved more horrible music which has caused me to repress them. It’s not as though these scenes contained anything of importance anyway).

⭐ Typical Disney high drama chase scene.

To cut a LONG story short, the teddy is retrieved, the animals save the day, they get the diamond back, and budget-Cruella is left angry, bounty-less, and for good measure her BDSM sex-slave alligators turn on her and try to eat her. There’s no explanation why her faithful sex-pets turn on her. Perhaps diamond theft is a line crossed in an alligator’s eyes. Penny gets adopted and Bernard and Miss Bianca get together. I get the feeling that the writers were intending this eventual mouse coupling to be a grand payoff that everyone was hoping for all along. Maybe some people were. I wasn’t. I know there was a couple of moments of foreshadowing some mutual attraction between the two during the film, but the way I see it, is that they’re mice. A mouse will hump its own sibling if you give it a couple of days, so the fact that two mice can spend as long together as these two have, and not have produced three litters already makes me think that they can’t be that into each other… So, when they get together at the end, I didn’t really care.

Image 10The other reason I didn’t care about the coupling of Bernard and Bianca is the same reason that stopped me caring about anything else in this movie. I wasn’t remotely invested. As protagonists, Bernard and Bianca were simply nice. Lots of characters are nice. There was nothing memorable about them. There was nothing to REALLY make me care about them. We had no backstory, no character development…. just nothing! Budget-Cruella was a rubbish antagonist. She wants a diamond and spends her time with BDSM sex-slave alligators and her bitch (because let’s face it, he was her bitch, nothing more, nothing less. She has BDSM sex-slave alligators so you can bet she’s the type to have a bitch), but other than that she’s painfully two-dimensional. I obviously wanted Penny to be rescued and be adopted by a nice family, because I’m not a sociopath, but the lack of personality and screen time afforded to the orphan devalued what should have been a more of a real feelgood moment.

As is probably obvious by now, I didn’t like the film. Disliking a film is nothing new to me, but this time rather than putting it down to my own personal taste, I really thought the story and characters were lazily handled. Furthermore, and the thing that really pisses me off here, is that Disney have forty years of filmmaking under their belt at this point, so they really should be at the stage where they can produce full length features of the quality that I’m assured their modern films possess. I know Walt Disney dying probably threw a spanner in the works with regards to their creative direction, but by all accounts, Walt never wanted this film to be made anyway, so the creative team have no one to blame but themselves.

The film ends with Bernard and Bianca setting off on another adventure, which tees up a sequel. Of all the films they could tee up a sequel, they went with this one first?! Seriously?! Will the characters develop some personality next time? I suppose it’s still better than the first sequel being “Bambi II: Now We Target His Wife and Kids”. Or Fun and Fancy Free II: Exponentially Funner and a Fuck-ton Fancier Freeish. Or Gloria Estafantasia: Animated stories set to late 80’s commercial pop music.

So, I’m not being a completely cynical bastard (despite the fact this film has made me one), I will finish on a positive: the film has a cute dragonfly. It’s a reassuring fact that despite how lazy and shit everything else around it gets, Disney knows how to draw adorable animals. And even more positively, on occasion they don’t injure them, make them cry or kill their family.

Disney Predictability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (I gave a fifth star for them blatantly ripping off Cruella…


Ben 🙄

I realised about 10 minutes into this film that I don’t think I have ever actually seen it. If I did, I can see why I don’t remember it though. Ben’s right. It’s awful and for all the reasons he’s stated above. Very little character backstory, very little character development and a very basic plot line. I think it may have actually been me that mentioned how dark and unrelenting the film is. Sorry to those of you that like this film, but I agree with Wikipedia. It’s definitely Disney’s period of creative decline and I’m struggling to think of a film I’m having fond memories of until The Little Mermaid, at this point.

Still, must continue for the sake of this ‘experiment’. The Fox and The Hound next. Again, don’t think I’ve seen it. I wonder why my parents never bought me or my brother any of these films when we were children? Probably because they knew they were shit and wanted us to have positive associations with Disney (which we both still do, so good job Mum and Dad!).

I’m really not looking forward to The Fox and The Hound. I’m familiar with the story and as someone who is a ‘hunting-hating vegetarian’, it’s filling me with a sense of dread. I could be wrong. We’ll have to find out, won’t we.

As for The Rescuers…


Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

What the hell happened?! Disney seemed to be heading film-by-film in a direction that was rather positive. I’m a Disney cynic who’s reached his mid-thirties with no real knowledge or nostalgia for the magical, mysterious, romantic and fantastical world that is Walt’s multinational, publicly traded conglomerate and who is watching through all the Animation Studios films, one-by-one, in chronological order, because apparently a global pandemic isn’t enough of a punishment… After suffering greatly through the Forties and labouring through the Fifties and Sixties whilst seeing some rays of hope, the Seventies seem to be introducing a new era of Disney, in which ‘Aristocats’ and ‘Robin Hood’ put the days of Doe-snuff, paedo-princes and donkey-slave-children behind them, and allowed me to sit down to watch 80 minutes of animated entertainment with a smile (mostly) on my face… But then 1977 happened. And as anger was felt around the world and punk reared its nihilist head within society, Disney released ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’…

How I approach this review is conditioned by one key factor: To what demographic is this film intended?

image 11Every single Disney Animation Studios feature, to this point in time, regardless of plot, presentation or purpose (entertainment or wartime Pro-Latin propaganda), have fallen neatly into the category of “family film”. The presentation and stories were always developed enough for an older audience, and often contained some more mature themes along with the silliness that kids love. If that’s the intention with ‘Winnie the Pooh’, then I have a problem. If this is a conscious attempt from Disney to side-step from the familiar path of (for me sometimes torturous) family entertainment and adapt a story and aim it specifically at younger children, then I still don’t like it much, but I can forgive what they’re doing…

I’m sure there are some adults who grew up with Winnie the Pooh who are loving seeing characters from their childhood brought to life as well. But for a picky adult like me who is mostly unfamiliar with the lunatics, gluttons and bastards that frequent The Hundred Acre Wood, the unavoidable fact is that this film was not made for me. It’s not like it’s been the film I’ve hated the most so far. Granted, I definitely didn’t like it… Ultimately there was just nothing that was keeping my attention on the screen in front of me. A big contributing factor, at least for me, was the fact it was ‘The “Many” Adventures of Winnie The Pooh’. Therefore, many small, and not one big adventure. This means there wasn’t a singular plot that had the full attention of the films run-time to fully develop and evolve to a satisfying conclusion. Instead, the movie consists of three simple, short stories randomly plucked from the original book (or books) with a self-plagiarising elephant freak out chucked in.

image12Then we move onto the characters. Again, if you grew up with them, you probably have this special affinity with them, and their presence alone may invoke fuzzy feelings of comfort and warmth. I alas, have no nostalgia to cover my feelings of frustration, apathy and sometimes sheer dislike towards them. There have been many conspiracy theories rolling around over the years apparently, regarding “hidden meanings” about what the characters are meant to represent which could explain their peculiar and sometimes unpleasant behaviour. These were mostly theorized no doubt, by stoned students who were choosing to spend their time philosophising about the underlying representations of stuffed toys in an AA Milne children’s series, rather than study. A popular theory is that each character represented a different mental health issue. I’m not touching that one with a six-foot barge pole. And although some of the characters can fit nicely into that narrative, others don’t. The same can be said for the other popular conspiracy that each animal is addicted to and constantly under the influence of a different narcotic. Not only do you occasionally have to put square pegs in round holes to make the theme work, but substance addiction is again a rabbit hole I have no intention in going down. Or for that matter, be like Winnie the Pooh and get stuck in it with my arse hanging out.

For me, the connection between the characters is somewhat broader and simpler (and bear in mind whichever metaphor is accurate, they are still personalities that AA Milne decided to put his son in a fantasy world with). In my mind they are all what eventually became of various different dicks we knew, and if we were unlucky, befriended at school.

image 7Winnie the Pooh. He loves honey. He’s not addicted to honey. It’s honey. He just REALLY likes honey and is intrinsically greedy and selfish. He reminds me of the type of kid lots of people would know at school, that was just out for whatever he could get. The sort of kid that would randomly call round your house “to play” one day, even though he never had in his entire life until now… and it just so happened you had just bought a shit-hot new game for your PlayStation One. That he’s desperate to play. But just like Pooh and his desire for honey, he doesn’t just say his intentions outright. This bellend from your youth, will instead chat to you and hang out, and all is well. But then casually, and with a pronounced look over to the part of the room your games console is sitting, will say with an overdose of innocent surprise, “Oh! I forgot you had a PlayStation! I like PlayStations! Have you heard about that amazing game that came out last week? Wait, you have it? Wow! You’re SO lucky, I wish I could play it…” Eugh. Wanker.

Pooh displays the same tendencies. He goes round to Rabbit’s house, after some false amiability, convinces Rabbit to allow him to stay for lunch, and then manipulates his way into having access to the honeypot. And eats ALL of it.

image 2When reviewing this film, someone in internet land stated, “It’s not probable anyone with two-digit age would find it interesting, but it is sweet as honey and only someone without a heart could resist loving this chubby bear.” I very much agree with their sentiment essentially saying, “for people over nine, it’s possible you will find it pretty fucking dull”, but needing to be heartless to resist loving this chubby bear? Well when that kid comes round my house and after twenty minutes of pleasantries, worms his way into playing the game he’s desperate to try, and then doesn’t talk to you until your mum has to pretty much eject him from your premises, you won’t have feelings of love, you would think he’s a wanker. Because he is a wanker! And if he grows up and becomes a whore for sweet food just like he did for that computer game, and constantly heads round to people’s houses with one self-benefitting intention, and after some false pleasantries exclaims “ooh is it honey time? Say chum, do you have a cheeky bit of honey I could have?”, and then eats all of it even though it isn’t his, would your thoughts really be “I must be really heartless because I’m not feeling love for this self-absorbed-greedy-manipulative-piece-of-shit-bear that treats friendships as a commodity for his own gluttony!!! No, he’s a dick! Fuck you Pooh, fuck you! *exhale* Wow, I never thought I would write anything where I would be saying ‘fuck you’ to Winnie the Pooh…

Some people will argue, that Winnie the Pooh is very different to a shameless, self-absorbed schoolkid because he’s cute and furry with a podgy tummy. Well that podgy tummy is podgy, not just because of stuffing, but because of limitless greed from honey that wasn’t even his to consume. It’s a podgy tummy of excess and shame. People then may argue, yes but don’t forget that Pooh is a bear of “very little brain” and would therefore not have the intellectual capacity to comprehend cause and effect, social conventions or to question his own baser instincts. I bet that in his youth at The Hundred Acre Academy for Stuffed Teddies he could have developed his brain far, far more than he did. I bet that every day, the teacher would ask him “What’s 2+2 Pooh?” and he would reply “Oh I don’t know, 9? It’s so hard to think on an empty stomach, it must be lunchtime. Excuse me sir could you spare me a bit of your honey? Say Piglet, so erm… brought any new PlayStation games lately?” Ultimately Pooh is a case of wasted potential and greed. No wonder Rabbit pretended he wasn’t home when Pooh came a knocking.

image 1Now I would feel sorry for Rabbit if it weren’t for the fact that he was the biggest dick of the lot. He reminds me of the kid at school who would not show any discernibly positive qualities; no sense of humour, not particularly intelligent, not particularly fun to be around, but yet would be usually surrounded by sycophants that would bow to him because they knew he was enough of a sadistic sociopath and usually built like a brick-shithouse enough to literally be a danger to cross. The sort of kid that when there was a camping trip (if you like that sort of outdoorsy shit), there would be a scenario where one of the kids becomes tiresome to the other, became the victim of their practical jokes. So, the kids suggest hiding his hat, putting ants in his bag or trapping him in his tent or whatever it is that regular arsehole children do. And then the sociopathic kid in question pipes up by suggesting that they tie him up to a tree, set fire to his hair and then pack up and leave him. All with a look a sheer glee on his face. The one who takes it way, way too far, but may well get his wish because it’s too scary for the more cowardly kids of the group to say no. When Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) annoys Rabbit, his approach to dealing with his bouncy nature, is to get him so lost in a dark wood, that he becomes a fearful, destroyed shell of his former self and would no longer want to bounce. Pretty damn mean. Piglet and Pooh know its hideous, but like the cowards they are, they go along with it.

Usually if the sadistic kid has a brain, he will grow up to be a cut throat businessman who screws over everyone he can for pleasure as well as to enrich himself, until the day he retires all alone because of all the hookers and broke because of all the drugs. He has become Rabbit. On the downside, he still relishes the chance to be a dick when he can, and his peers, like Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) will suffer. But on the upside, he’s mostly just bitter and miserable that he’s no longer as powerful and important as he used to be. And if we’re lucky he may also have a bear stuck in the hole of his front door for weeks on end that he can’t remove, with his arse sticking out into his living room. And let’s be honest, I doubt that that much honey digests particularly well, in fact it probably goes in one end and straight out the other, and a few weeks is a long time….  Best get a mop Rabbit. Just saying. Karma, Motherfucker!

image 5Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) is the kid that was “the life and soul of the party”. He’s exhausting, will drag every conversation onto himself, interject in every single conversation, shriek a lot and in extreme cases will spell their own name a lot (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) As an adult they are EXACTLY the same. But with their own YouTube “reactions” channel….

Owl is the kid that compensates for their lack of self-esteem by constantly promoting their own intelligence, even if it’s wildly misplaced. As he grows up this self-promotion expands to other areas too. Whenever you tell them that you’ve done something, this will also invariably lead to them telling a longwinded story in which they’ve done the same thing but much better. Even though they probably haven’t. If you’ve trekked across the Sahara, you can guarantee that you will hear a blow-by-blow account about how he trekked across the Sahara twice and became a hero by building a well in Timbuktu before helping a chap called Edgar get a plane ticket back to his hometown of Paris… Unfortunately for them, the innate dipshit-ness will be exposed from time to time. Like when they have to spell ‘Happy Birthday!’ but get it wrong. Twice.

image 3Owl also lacks the intelligence to build a sturdy home, which results in it being blown away. He eventually finds a new home to live, which turns out to be piglets. A true wise owl would not look at a Pigs home (or sty, if you will) as an adequate abode! Firstly, it’s on the ground. Secondly, when he heads inside and sees a piglet sized bed, a trough in the kitchen, pictures showing cousins Peppa and George on the wall and presumably a huge pile of mud to roll around in on the floor, you would think at that point that Owl would have the decency to say, “oops, this is clearly a pigs home, I’ll be going now…”

image 4The fact that Piglet doesn’t call Owl out on this, and basically gives away his own home for literally nothing, could suggest that Piglet is a kind, selfless hero, who put others ahead of himself. But Piglet can’t fool me! He’s the kid who attaches himself to the biggest bully in the playground because he is filled with such an innate sense of fear and self-doubt, that he cannot say no to anyone, especially someone who is overbearing, intimidating and sadistic. So, on the theoretical camping trip, Piglet will be the one to get the ropes for the bully to tie the poor victim to the tree, despite his misgivings, because the fear of not doing so is too much to bear. In this film, he goes along with Rabbits insane “let’s scare the living fuck out of Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…)” plan, because he’s too cowardly not to. And when Owl takes Piglets home, Piglet doesn’t stay quiet through philanthropic nobility, he stays quiet because he’s too scared to rock the boat. Having to move in with a honey-whore seems like quite a fitting punishment if you ask me… You know who Piglet reminds me of? Wormtail from the Harry Potter series.

image13There was always a kid at school that would always find the negative in everything. They weren’t depressed or anything like that, just negative. If a group of you found a bag of gold, they would bring down the whole celebratory vibe by complaining about the dust on it. Or telling you about the time they lost a bag of gold… Essentially, it’s a bloody good way to divert the attention from the bag of gold, back onto them. If left unchecked this habit could lead them into growing up to become Eeyore. True, it would become fairly demoralising after a while if you kept having to have a tail with a pin essentially rammed back onto your arsehole, but you would adapt. Or just stop wearing the damn tail. But more than anything else, it just seems that Eeyore complains when the attention is diverted elsewhere…

You know that kid you went to school with that you completely forgot existed because they were so irrelevant to your existence, until you saw a class photo many years later? That’s Kanga, Roo and Gopher who I totally forgot were even in the film until I looked at Wikipedia just now…

So, to summarise, the main reason I’ve ranted about the characters for so long, is because I can barely remember the plot. That should tell you all you need to know about how much of an impression this film left. Probably about as much of an impact that Kanga, Roo and Gopher did. But it has been a while since I’ve really had a good old rant in a review, but I never thought that it would be Winnie the Pooh that brought that rage to the surface… And to answer the question of whether the film was aimed at young tots or at everyone, after much reading on the internet, I still don’t know. I’m not sure anyone does. Not even Disney.


Ben 🙄

Well there’s a surprise. My 37-year-old husband wasn’t enamoured with Winnie the Pooh. No real shocker is it.

I have a confession to make. I only saw this film for the first time a few months back. I enjoyed it for what it was. It’s cute and quite funny in parts. Our 6-year-old was half-watching it, whilst drawing, and found it funny at times (he’s a tough critic like his Dad!), so a child that actually likes films would probably enjoy it.

image 6However, the blatent copying of Pink Elephants on Parade, by the Heffalumps & Woozels song? What the actual fuck?! There are no words. There was absolutely no need for the song to be in the film and the entire, generally calm, feel of the film suddently shifted into a complete head-fuck. Unforgiveable, Disney!

Anyway, onwards and upwards. We’ve got The Rescuers next, which is a film that I have seen a few times during my childhood, but haven’t watched since. So, not only am I interested in Ben’s take on it, but am looking forward to seeing if I enjoy it as an adult too.

The Many Adventues of Winnie the Pooh score:


Kerry 😁