Piglet's Big Movie
Kanga and Piglet get a new sense of scale
Noell Wolfgram Evans · August 17, 2003 | Creepy. It's not exactly the first word that comes to mind when you think of a Winnie the Pooh movie. Cuddly, maybe. Caring, cute. Indeed the little round bear is these things, but his latest cinematic effort, Piglet's Big Movie, is not.

It's not creepy in that the movie deals with the occult or the red-light area of the Hundred Acre Wood. It actually tells the somewhat innocent story of Piglet and how he attempts to help his friends, but ends up lost instead. As his friends try to find him they begin to realize how special he is while he starts to get an appreciation for being small. It's a plot that I'm sure many people, especially children, could find some relatable aspects in. Its execution though is, well ... creepy.

Let's take as an example a scene that occurs midway through the film. Piglet has returned home and is now (through a rickety plot convention) being cared for by Kanga (the kangaroo). In previous Pooh stories, height perspective of the characters was skewed slightly so that all of the characters lived within a certain height range. It's not to say that all of the characters were of a uniform size, but they lived with a storybook symmetry. In this film that's all been thrown out the window and everyone has a more "realistic" stature. What that means is that the scene above unfolds with a 6½-foot kangaroo chasing this 6-inch pig all over the house. While she's doing it to give him a bath and play, it's been animated at angles to provide perspective but instead give the scene a certain menace. When Pooh finally shows up at the door, you're relieved in a way that you are when daylight finally comes in a monster movie. It's not the kind of feeling I want from a movie like this.

Scenes like this permeate this film and only help to illustrate the movie's main problem—Piglet. As a character he's always felt a little weak, never really bringing much to the action except a whine and a nervous stutter. But since he's always been a side player he's at least been tolerable; being given the lead here only draws out his shortcomings.

As for the animation, it's competent but feels flat. There's a certain detachment that one feels when watching the characters. You can feel the love and character in some animated films but here it's almost as if the animators knew the audience would know the characters and so they could (to borrow a phrase) phone their performances in.

Pooh and his friends Rabbit, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Owl, Kanga and Roo and Christopher Robin were created not by Walt Disney, but by a man named A.A. Milne. It was Mr. Disney who saw the inherent story (and perhaps marketing) value in these characters and first featured them in a cartoon in the mid-1960s. From there their popularity skyrocketed to include a variety of various television shows, new, expanded book adventures and of course a host of related "paraphernalia." Up until this time, every book or movie that I saw featuring Pooh and his friends had a storybook quality to it. The producers of this film seemed to pull the characters from the books into reality and it's a place where they just don't belong.

Piglet's Big Movie
Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2003
Directed by Francis Glebas
75 minutes

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As for extras, the ones on this DVD are what you might consider standard fare for a Disney DVD. There are a few set-top games along with the obligatory karaoke feature. The one nice extra is actually found when the disc is activated as a DVD-ROM. In this capacity you can print out a Piglet coloring book. An exceptionally nice option, especially when everyone wants to color the same thing.

Watching the movie I realized that you're either into Pooh and his friends or you're not. There is no middle of the road. If you're reading this in Eeyore slippers, than perhaps this movie is for you. But if it's been at least 10 years since you've visited Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, it may be best to keep those memories and their fondness intact and keep away from this film. It's animated fare such as this that makes you realize what a treasure films like Finding Nemo are.
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