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Pooh's Heffalump Movie
2005 - G - 63 Mins.
Director: Frank Nissen
Producer: Jessica Koplos-Miller
Written By: Brian Hohlfield, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Starring: Jim Cummings, Brenda Blethyn, Jimmy Bennet, Kyle Stanger
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: disney.go.com/disneypictures/heffalump/main.html
   
Somewhere Disney executives are chittering like money-hungry hyenas, if hyenas could be money-hungry that is (There’s no question that Disney executives are). Their newest animated film, ‘Pooh’s Heffalump Movie’ runs a scant 63(!) minutes, barely long enough to qualify as a television special, not to mention a theatrical release that patrons must pay upwards of nine bucks to witness. Thankfully for those who venture to see the latest Pooh adventure, what they are given is a good little film (emphasis on little) that can be enjoyed by both young and old.

Here the plot involves the mythical heffalump, a creature that is rumored to be a terrifyingly evil creature. So when the usual suspects (Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Tigger) are out exploring and come across the titular creature, they are afraid. At first anyway. It is not too long before the Heffalump is found to be perhaps the most adorable character ever seen in film, animated or not. Voiced by Kyle Stanger, the Heffalump, who goes by Lumpy, is consistently cute with an absolutely infectious level of delight to its personality. The character will cheer up even the most jaded viewers while captivating the hearts and minds of the target audience. That is not to say that the rest of the cast of characters aren’t charming themselves.

The “usual suspects” are once again appealing, thanks to voice actors who could bring heartwarming feeling to their respective personas in their sleep at this point. The storyline they find themselves in is modest, touching on themes of acceptance and exploration with gentle intelligence not often seen in a time when most animated films feature manic personalities and slapstick humor over real intelligibility. The film also benefits from simple animation that is effective because of its simplicity, not in spite of it. The warm color palette coupled with the overall lucidity of the surroundings make for a film going experience that is astutely comforting in its familiarity.

The only negative to be found is the aforementioned length but perhaps it is for the best since young children are notorious for having short attention spans. This way they’ll have an hour or so of quality entertainment and maybe learn a lesson or two in the process. Meanwhile, their parents will be overjoyed at the clarity and concise nature with which the film is delineated. And yes, maybe even they will learn (or relearn) a thing or two, which is far from a bad thing. One wishes that Disney made family films this good all the time. One also laments the closing down of the studio’s traditional animation department. One only hopes that they are willing to reopen it every once in a while, if only to produce another entry in the long-running ‘Winnie the Pooh’ franchise.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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