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Our review of The Tigger Movie (Blu-ray), published August 25th, 2012, is also available.
The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things.
Director Jun Falkenstein's The Tigger Movie was a collaboration between Walt Disney Studios and the now defunct Walt Disney Animation Japan, which was primarily known for producing Disney's animated television series (Darkwing Duck) and direct-to-video sequels to its classic films (101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure). Despite its modest low-budget origins, The Tigger Movie was successful enough to re-launch Disney's Winnie the Pooh brand, paving the way for the features Piglet's Big Movie (2003) and Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005). The success of The Tigger Movie is largely attributable to the fact that it places the funniest, most lively character from author A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books center stage. Tigger is the zany, anarchic foil to Pooh's placid, easy-going presence. Plus, he bounces around on his spring-loaded tail. How could kids not love him?
This 10th Anniversary Edition of The Tigger Movie is its second release on DVD.
Facts of the Case
The denizens of the Hundred Acre Woods are tiring of the good-natured but oblivious Tigger's bull-in-a-China-shop antics. His accidental destruction of Eeyore's house is the straw that breaks the camel's back. Owl's observations about family trees send the bouncy cat, who feels like a misfit among his friends, on a quest for other Tiggers. When Tigger's letter to his family elicits no responses, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, and the others feel sorry for him. Roo comes up with a plan to pretend to be Tigger's family and write him a letter. Tigger's ecstatic response to the correspondence is an elaborate party for his non-existent family. Roo and the others decide to dress up like Tiggers in an attempt to maintain their friend's blissful ignorance. Tigger discovers the deception and leaves the Hundred Acre Wood, venturing out into a harsh snowstorm. Roo , Pooh, and the gang follow him into danger, hoping to show their friend that he has a family even if he is the world's only Tigger.
A movie centered entirely on Tigger might have been too heavy on zany and lacking in heart, but Falkenstein's screenplay cleverly makes the character sympathetic without changing his basic nature. Tigger tears with Tigger-like gusto into his search for his family. His gung-ho enthusiasm makes his inevitable disappointment all the more poignant. The movie is an odd (and mostly satisfying) mix of jubilation and bouncy songs with an incredibly bleak undercurrent. Tigger is a wide-eyed innocent who doesn't know that he's hurtling toward heartbreak. We can see it coming from a mile away. The contradiction makes it possible for Tigger to make the leap from comic second banana to lead character.
An extended musical segment for the song "Round My Family Tree" is the most exuberantly creative portion of the film, but also the portion that feels the least grounded in the gentle fictional world created by A.A. Milne. The surreal, dreamscape segment makes visual references to ancient Egypt, space aliens, Cervantes' Don Quixote, and, sadly, The Jerry Springer Show. It's mostly entertaining but also a sign of the filmmakers' desire to pander to adults seeking cheeky postmodernism instead of crafting a piece of pure, heartfelt entertainment for young kids. Worse yet, a finale involving a massive avalanche and some super-heroics on the part of Tigger and Roo feels more Michael Bay than A.A. Milne. But these flaws aren't enough to entirely undermine the movie's other charms, which include a beautifully pictorial setting in the Hundred Acre Woods, catchy tunes, and the title character's childlike likeability. Plus, there's a treacly sweet cameo by Christopher Robin, who finally sets Tigger straight about his "family"—it's entirely corny, but perfectly suited to the movie's young audience.
The Tigger Movie returns to DVD in this two-disc 10th Anniversary Edition, which sports an attractive 1.66:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer. Character animation is smooth and fluid, while background plates have the same watercolor storybook illustration quality that characterized the look of Disney's first Winnie the Pooh feature, 1977's The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (which was, in turn, based on E.H. Shepard's illustrations for Milne's books). Colors are bright and accurate, detail is excellent, and the source print is nearly pristine. I never saw the 2000 DVD release of The Tigger Movie, but there's no way it looked better than this new edition. Chances are it looked worse.
Audio is presented in a Dolby 5.1 surround mix that is low-key but delivers clean dialogue, music, and effects. Voice actor Jim Cummings impresses as both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, taking over for Sterling Holloway and Paul Winchell respectively. Cummings' work is consistent with the earlier interpretations of the characters while also putting his own spin on them. John Hurt is also excellent, taking over for Sebastian Cabot as the story's narrator. All in all, the voice acting maintains continuity with Disney's earlier Winnie the Pooh adventures without feeling lesser or derivative. In addition to the English language track, French, Spanish, and Portuguese dubs are given full 5.1 surround treatments. Subtitle options include English for the hearing-impaired, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Supplements include everything from the 2000 DVD: an interactive storybook version of The Tigger Movie that kids can opt to have read to them or read for themselves, a Kenny Loggins music video for "Your Heart Will Lead You Home," a sing-along version of "Round My Family Tree," a "Thingamajigger" matching game and a "How to Make Your Own Family Tree" game, and a trailer for the movie. Exclusive to this edition are two Tigger-centric episodes from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: "King of the Beasties" and "Tigger's Houseguest." There is also a "Tigger Movie Trivia" game that leads to a video Easter Egg if you answer all of the questions correctly. Disc Two of the set is a downloadable digital copy of the movie.
The Tigger Movie isn't the first Winnie the Pooh animated adventure parents should buy for their kids (that would be The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), but it's a solid effort. Despite its flaws, it's a mostly charming and energetic little movie that kids are sure to love.
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