NOTE: This review was written under a previous rating system. Some of the older reviews may express opinions and judgment calls that are not in line with our current standards.1977
John Lounsbery/Wolfgang Reitherman
Walt Disney Productions
Those who are familiar with my movie-viewing habits, and my tendencies as a critic, may be surprised to find that I did not discover any threatening underlying worldviews in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh. Those who are not as familiar with my tendencies might have been surprised to find that I was on the look-out for one. Perhaps it is going a bit far, to dissect the statements of Piglet and Tigger to see how sinister they may or may not be; and perhaps certain parties will roll their eyes a little, and shake their heads at the bits I did find objectionable; and perhaps for certain other parties it will only serve to confirm their fear that my sole purpose and enjoyment in watching movies is to pick them to pieces. But I would earnestly and eagerly point out to those parties how very small my list of warnings really is, and beg them yet again not to worry.
Really, the only truly objectionable content in Winnie the Pooh is the language. That is a laughable statement, and most families would not have any problem with the slang that peppers the entire production; some families, however, might not want their little children going about the house repeating variations on a theme of “Blast it all!” or “Where in the heck are you guys?”
One could get very intense with this sort of study, and declare that Pooh is a utilitarian (“The only reason for being a bee is to make honey”), or that, in his portrayal of the only family unit in the Hundred Acre Wood, A. A. Milne was out to declare to the world that single motherhood was normative; but that really would be going too far. If a young child, however, were to watch this movie, and wonder why Roo didn’t have a father, it could raise a long series of awkward questions.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is not a “family movie,” in the sense that most of Disney’s animated movies were. Rather, it is a genuine “kids’ movie,” which means that, the quality of the visual artwork being what it is, and the soundtrack being what it is, and the themes being what they are, grown-ups are not likely to find much that will hold their interest. The presence of a younger family member, however, might suffice to fill up what is lacking in natural appeal.
I do not find Winnie the Pooh to be dangerous. Not being a small child, and not having one about me anywhere, I think it would be unfair to judge this film on my own opinion of its quality. I believe that most families will find it an enjoyable film… and, as far as fixing an age restriction, I will leave that to the discretion of individual families.