Starring: Jim Cummings, John Fiedler, Ken Sansom
Director: Karl Geurs
Running Time: 85 mins
Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin is an American film about Winnie the Pooh and his friends as they embark on an epic quest to rescue Christopher Robin from a place called ‘Skull’, where they think he has been captured.
I remember watching this movie on repeat when I was a kid, and I absolutely loved it. No matter how many times I watched it. So, I can safely say that Pooh’s Grand Adventure is a delightful, warm film that children will absolutely love, but does it have the wider appeal of its predecessor, The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh?
As sad as it is to say, I don’t think so. The 1977 film, effectively an anthology collection of short stories, really felt like an A.A. Milne storybook, whereas the grander scale of this sequel 20 years later actually serves to undermine the true beauty of Winnie The Pooh movies.
Yes, it’s still wonderfully pleasant, with Jim Cummings’ legendary voice performance as Pooh still an absolute joy to listen to through the whole film, but there is something about Pooh’s Grand Adventure that feels inorganic compared to its predecessor of two decades before.
Simply put, the main reason for that is that this film is just one big story, without all the cosy little intricacies of Pooh’s many adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. The strength of these stories has always been playing on childhood nostalgia, celebrating the little adventures and how they feel so big, rather than more manufactured ‘quests’.
Having Christopher Robin fully out of the picture here doesn’t necessarily help matters, although Pooh and his friends have always been able to carry stories on their own. However, it’s the linear nature of the story that ultimately takes away from the carefree joy of playing out in the forest with your friends.
You might decide to do one thing, and then change plans right in the middle of playing, and that’s okay. That’s why the anthology/storybook structure of The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh worked so well, and why this film falls down a little.
Saying that, however, you’d have to have the coldest of hearts not to love any Winnie The Pooh movie you see. This film isn’t the best use of the legendary characters, but it’s still a touching and elegant edition in their on-screen history, with gorgeous traditional animation, fun humour and a couple of enjoyable songs all doing more than enough to put a big smile on your face.
As my three year-old self would tell you, Pooh’s Grand Adventure is a really, really, really, really, really fun movie, and I wouldn’t disagree with him. Its appeal may be more limited than its predecessor, but it’s still a sweet family movie, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2 overall.