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Honey might smooth things over

Winnie the Pooh and friends get a lesson in acceptance when newcomers move into Hundred Acre Wood.

February 11, 2005|Kevin Crust | Times Staff Writer

The Hundred Acre Wood used to be such a nice, quiet neighborhood.

Then one morning the relative calm enjoyed by Winnie the Pooh and his patchwork of friends is shattered by an intruder. A really big intruder. A really loud intruder. Awakened from their slumber, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Roo head to the wise but cranky Rabbit's home to discuss what could possibly have left behind the large round footprints and made the thunderous trumpeting noise that disturbed them so.

Thus is the setup of "Pooh's Heffalump Movie," the third in the series of new animated films based on the characters created by A.A. Milne, following 2000's "The Tigger Movie" and "Piglet's Big Movie" in 2003. The twist here is the introduction of the aforementioned Heffalump -- a species previously seen as an hallucination in 1977's "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." Driven by Rabbit's description of the Heffalump as a fearsome behemoth with large menacing horns and a sharply barbed tail, the group, goaded by the adventurous Roo, reluctantly decides to capture the monster.

As plans are made and the necessary tools are gathered, however, Roo is informed that he is much too young for such a dangerous mission.

But in true rebel fashion the little marsupial sets out on his own to snare the beast.

Once he crosses into Heffalump Hollow, Roo encounters a baby Heffalump named Lumpy. A far cry from the terrifying picture painted by Rabbit, Lumpy resembles a cute little mauve elephant who just wants to play and is as frightened by the "creatures" on the other side of the fence as they are of him. The youngsters form a fast friendship and set out to teach their elders a lesson in acceptance.

An innocuous introduction to diversity for the preschool set, "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" features some charming songs by Carly Simon and is warmly animated so as to evoke nostalgia in parents. The Heffalumps are seamlessly incorporated into the milieu, gently fitting in with all the familiar elements. Pooh craves his hunny, Eeyore mopes and Tigger pogos and woo-hoos with aplomb, making the Hundred Acre Wood the warmly remembered place it has been for more than 75 years.


'Pooh's Heffalump Movie'

MPAA rating: G

Times guidelines: Playful roughhousing, nonthreatening peril

Jim Cummings...Winnie the Pooh/Tigger

Nikita Hopkins...Roo

Kyle Stanger...Lumpy

Brenda Blethyn...Mama Heffalump

A Walt Disney Pictures presentation, released by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. Director Frank Nissen. Producer Jessica Koplos-Miller. Screenplay by Brian Hohlfeld and Evan Spiliotopoulos, based on characters created by A.A. Milne. Supervising editor Nancy Frazen. Music Joel McNeely. Original songs Carly Simon. Art director Tony Pulham. Running time: 1 hour, 7 minutes.

In general release.

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