The Tigger Movie
as reviewed by Skylaire Alfvegren
Winnie the Pooh, the philosophical bear who led English journalist/playwright A. A. Milne’s stuffed posse through adventures in the 100 Acre Woods, is a character well-suited to the half hour featurettes Disney has starred him in over the last three decades. But what kid could stand two hours of musings about honey pots?
In The Tigger Movie, the first full length feature based on Milne’s characters, Pooh’s world remains decidely old-fashioned (Milne published the first story in 1921) and tranquil, except for the overly exhuberant spring-tailed tiger, who breaks the fourth wall in the intro, jumping out of the story book to proclaim himself star of the film–a move familiar to anyone who grew up watching The Wonderful World of Disney.
Tigger always seemed to personify the English impression of Americans–loud, brash and in the habit of leaping before he looks. A furry, G-rated version of the fast-talking bachelor uncle who teaches his nephews dirty jokes and how to play poker, Tigger rattles the nerves of the more staid Pooh, his nervous sidekick, Piglet, the anal-retentive Rabbit and pessimistic Eeyor. But everybody loves Tigger, especially young Roo, who sees a surrogate daddy in Tigger’s manic bouncing and flouncing. But Tigger feels alone, and one day he decides to find his real family.
Retaining the pastel, semi-impressionistic style of original Pooh animator E. H. Shepard, as well as the gentle moralizing that made Milne’s stories popular with adults, The Tigger Movie, free of glitz and celebrity voices, hardly resembles the average Disney production. There’s lots of cuddly cuteness, and the requisite musical numbers, but they don’t leave Disney’s usual saccarine afterburn. The rambunctious “Round My Family Tree,” where the animators construct Tigger’s imagined geneology using equal parts Fantasia and Busby Berkeley, is worth the price of admission.
Christopher Robin appears only once, Charlton Heston-like, after the gang rescues Tigger from his hapless search. The moral of the story, that genetics don’t make a family, is more than timely, as is the choice of star, hyperactive Tigger. Broken family? Ritalin? Today!