Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle The Tigger Movie

By Marc Savlov

FEBRUARY 21, 2000: 

D: Jun Falkenstein; with the voices of Jim Cummings, Nikita Hopkins, Ken Sansom, John Fiedler, Peter Cullen, Andre Stojka, Kath Soucie, Tom Attenborough. (G, 76 min.)

Bats in the Hundred-Acre Wood?! For a moment there I thought I'd stumbled into Winnie the Goth, but no, this first full-length foray to the big screen for Disney's beloved Winnie the Pooh franchise is as predictably tame as the fluff in Pooh bear's noodle, and therein lies its charm. Unlike some animated sequels, such as those spawned by the adventures of immigrant mouse Fievel in An American Tale, the adventures of Pooh and company (Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga and Roo and the others) are rigidly structured stories that fall within rigidly established parameters. The very thing that kids love about the silly old bear and his friends is, of course, the fact that their outings are so similar ­ you're not likely to see this forest gang rescuing FernGully anytime soon, thankfully. That said, The Tigger Movie is 100% classic Pooh, though this outing focuses more on the series' "bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun" feline tornado, Tigger. (That's "T-I-double-guh-R," to you and me.) As you might expect, there is not a terrible lot to say about the film ­ it adheres to the rules of the game as closely as you'd think, and there are very few surprises. Faulkenstein, who previously helmed the Disney television special A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving, manages some neat tricks in this tale of Tigger's search for his family, though. Tired of being the only one of his species bouncing crazily about the wood (and dismayed by the fact that no one else seems to be able to keep up with him ­ Tigger's a Ritalin candidate if ever I saw one) he goes on a quest to find others of his kind, only to learn, in the end, that the true nature of family often has little if anything to do with genetics. Pooh and crew seek to soothe the saddened beast by dressing up as visiting Tiggerific relatives, to bad effect, though everything turns out all right in the end, wouldn't you know. While the film is clearly aimed at the three-to-eight-year-old set, parents can take momentary relief in a smooth musical number wherein Tigger envisions his family tree as a series of artworks done by various artists, including, hilariously, a drooping Dali-esque Tigger and what appears to Michelangelo's Tigger, complete with missing limbs. Hoo, hoo, hoo, indeed. With a tot-comfortable running time of seventy-six minutes and standard Disney cel animation (although the backgrounds are nicely made to resemble the illustrations of Pooh's original 1920s-era artist Ernest H. Shepard), it's a warm, comfortable, thoroughly inoffensive kidfilm that manages to tack on a few broad moral lessons as well. Not bad work at all, but parents take note: I noticed more than a few little ones literally bouncing in Tiggerian exuberance as they left the theatre, their soon-to-frazzled moms in tow.

3 Stars

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