Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Primary Look: Disney going old school with new Pooh

"Winnie the Pooh" will be back to his old nature again next year.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is returning the honey-loving teddy bear and his pals to their hand-drawn animated roots for a feature film plunging into theaters July 15, 2011. The new "Winnie the Pooh," the first big-screen "Pooh" quest from Disney animators in more than 30 years, will more closely look like the classic short films from the 1960s and '70s.

"We wanted to create a movie for the big screen that had the appeal and wit of those innovative shorts," said Peter Del Vecho, the film's producer. "What originally endeared all of us adults and children to these characters was that they were distended animals that came to life in the imagination of a child. We wanted to renew that imagination in a big way."

Pooh and company will relinquish recent puppet-powered, computer-generated Disney Channel makeovers in favor of the old-fashioned illustrative style that places the silly bear and his friends among the pages of a storybook. Jim Cummings ("The Tigger Movie") returns as the voice of Pooh and Tigger, with John Cleese ("Monty Python") serving as the storyteller.

While this version of "Pooh" won't be produced by a computer or projected in 3-D, Del Vecho cautioned it wouldn't simply be a redux of past "Pooh" projects. He said the film, spearheaded by Disney and Pixar animation Chief John Lasseter, will trait five new original songs and a faster pace punctuated with humor that's fitting for modern audiences.

"We're definitely resyetting the franchise and using this film as the instance to set for the studio," said Del Vecho. "Many versions have been done, and it's been a way for the property to live on in children's minds, but we're eager this is a new phase for 'Winnie the Pooh.' It's a return to quality storytelling that's been missing in more recent projects."


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