At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
Marc Ecko and Carolina Herrera, in conjunction with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, head up a live auction on eBay to raise money for breast cancer. Titled "Style and Sound: Case for a Cause," various designers will design iPod cases while their celebrity counterpart will compile a play list for the corresponding iPod to be auctioned off on eBay.
Each iPod case will come complete with an iPod courtesy of Apple computers and a playlist full of songs handpicked by various celebrities. Ecko says, "I wanted to become involved in bringing new energy to the organization using art, music, and youth culture. I also wanted to do something with an impact to make a difference."
The designer and celebrity pairings include Marc Ecko with Mary J. Blige; Carolina Herrera with Renee Zellweger; Betsey Johnson with Cyndi Lauper; Cynthia Rowley with Maggie Gyllenhaal; Luca Orlandi of Luca Luca with Mischa Barton; Robert Lee Morris with Brooke Shields; Vivienne Tam with Jessica Alba; Liz Lange with Billy Baldwin and Chynna Phillips; Max Azria of BCBG Max Azria with Brittany Murphy; Nanette Lepore with Hype Williams; Judith Leiber with Katie Holmes; and Carmen Marc Valvo with Vanessa Williams.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit Fashion Targets Breast Cancer® (FTBC), an initiative of the Councel of Fashion Designers of America Foundation, which, since its start in 1994 has raised more than $40 million for distribution to breast cancer organizations in 13 countries. The auction is currently live on eBay at Live Auctions and will conclude at 8:00 PM EST Wednesday, June 22 at a party hosted by Marc Ecko and Carolina Herrera.