After the magical box office success of this year’s Cinderella, Disney quickly dug through its collection of classic animated features to find a tale it can wave its wand around to bring to life. Cherished Walt Disney masterpieces like Beauty and the Beast and Mulan are up for a live-action makeover. While these news surely generate excitement and cheer among Disney fans, confusion would best describe the feeling incited by the revelation of a real-life Winnie the Pooh hitting the big screen.
No release date or cast has yet been attached to the project, but Disney has already hired Alex Ross Perry to write and direct the “silly old bear” and his gang of cuddly stuffed animals.
Not a lot of details have been divulged about the incarnation of the lovable characters, but based on the popularity of films like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Paddington, it’s more than likely that Disney will use the CGI approach to blend fantasy with reality. Seeing a red t-shirt-wearing grizzly bear going on adventures with Babe may be a bit of a stretch for audiences.
Also, instead of making a direct remake of Winnie Pooh’s memorable adventures, Disney plans on elaborating a “Where Are They Now?” film. The twist is that Christopher Robbin, Pooh’s little human friend, returns to the Hundred Acre Woods all grown up. Perhaps he’ll find poor little Eeyore on Zoloft or Tigger instructing a Zumba class. Whatever the case may be, Perry’s experience with thought-provoking indie films would be fitting for a project attempting to blend nostalgia with modernness. However, could the “tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff” compete with this generation of cynics?
The last time Pooh made a theatrical appearance was in 2011’s Winnie the Pooh which barely managed to break even at the box office. Then again, it was a film mainly geared towards children. If the studio decides to take mature audiences for a stroll down memory lane à la Toy Story 3, then Pooh may have a chance to compete against fan-favorite Iron Man and the Minions. The Muppets were able to resurrect from oblivion without having to strip away their wit and innocence, so anything is possible. In this case, however, Pooh doesn’t really have anything to strip. Considering how Hollywood frowns upon full-frontal male nudity, this bear may end up having to put on some pants for this uptight crowd.