Author A.A. Milne's beloved bear, Winnie the Pooh, joins forces with his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood to help two of their own in Disney's hand-drawn charmer. Though he describes himself as a "bear of very little brain," Pooh (Jim Cummings) proves he's all heart when sad-sack Eeyore's tail goes missing and a terrible creature called the "Backson" abducts Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter), their human protector (the schoolboy actually leaves a note saying he will be "back soon"). Granted, our hero spends the entire journey dreaming about glorious pots of "hunny," but when push comes to shove, he prioritizes his pals over his tummy, which rumbles and expands as his hunger pangs increase. Wisely, co-directors Don Hall and Stephen J. Anderson avoid the distraction of instantly recognizable actors in favor of animation veterans, like Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), who voices the resourceful Rabbit. While Sebastian Cabot narrated the Winnie featurettes of yore, comedian John Cleese, who sometimes speaks directly to Pooh, ably steps into his shoes, and talk-show host Craig Ferguson also makes a mark as the know-it-all Owl. At 68 minutes, not including short film "The Ballad of Nessie," this John Lasseter-produced feature should captivate most young viewers, even those accustomed to faster-paced, computer-animated features, like Lasseter's directorial efforts for Pixar. Musician M. Ward and singer/actress Zooey Deschanel of the band She & Him add to the old-fashioned charm with their retro-sounding songs. And be sure to stay through the closing credits for the funny surprise at the end.
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