When it comes to their takes on classic literature characters, Disney's take on A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh is probably among the most charming and wholesome to ever come out of their doors. When Pooh and his friends first debuted on theater screens in 1966 in front of a film called "The Ugly Dachshund", they captured the hearts of audiences everywhere and he's had many adventures on the big screen and small screen ever since. I really love the two films from 1977 and 2011 made by Walt Disney Animation Studios involving the silly old bear and his pals in the Hundred Acre Woods as it captures that special part of childhood youth that we seem to be losing as the years go on. While I personally feel that his other films throughout the 2000s sadly don't come close to fully capturing that magic, "The Tigger Movie" comes close to doing it. The story focusing on everyone's favorite bouncing tiger was one of my first introductions to the Hundred Acre Wood and I was curious to see how well it held up having not seen it in over a decade. Fortunately, I'm happy to confirm it does mostly hold up well as this film is very heartwarming and sweet to watch.
Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, Tigger (Jim Cummings) starts to feel lonesome when his friends like Winnie the Pooh (also Cummings), Piglet (John Fielder), Eeyore (Peter Cullen), Kanga (Kath Soucie), and Rabbit (Ken Sansom) don't have time to bounce with him due to their preparations for winter. Hoping to cheer him up, Roo (Nikita Hopkins) suggests to him if he has any family members of his own and after a conversation with Owl (Andre Stojka), Tigger puts an idea together to try to find members of his "family tree" (in his mind, a striped tree full of other tiggers) in the hopes that he can find someone to bounce with and call his family. Pretty soon, his goal starts to get a little out there and his friends have to figure out how to convince him that he does have a family.
As I said previously, I hadn't seen the film in many years so I was curious to see how well this film held up, especially seeing how other Winnie the Pooh films from later in the decade like "Piglet's Big Movie" and "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" disappointed me. Fortunately, I'm happy to say that this film does hold up quite nicely. I don't think it's on par with the two films that Walt Disney Animation Studios has made, but it's still a very nice one regardless. The story is probably the most wholesome and heartfelt out of all the Winnie the Pooh films I've seen. Unlike other versions, this film decides to make a whole new original story with A.A. Milne's timeless characters and director Jun Falkenstein does a splendid job with this new tale. She understands what made the original film so special with the silly misunderstandings the characters end up getting into and ties it all together with a lovely message and ending. There's a lot of heart in this film and it really leads to quite a wholesome viewing experience as we see Tigger try to find his family and it leads to moments where you really do feel sad for him at times. It's clear that despite his goofiness that he does want to be loved by the others and it ends up working well. It also does have a lot of moments that are quite funny. The funniest moment came from Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore stumbling upon a pond filled with striped frogs thinking they were tiggers and trying desperately to talk to them despite them hopping around and croaking like crazy. It really did make me laugh. With that said, I do think that the subplot of the characters preparing for winter is not as properly fleshed out as it should be. It's clearly made a plot point at the beginning of the film but seems to be quickly dropped until midway through. I do think a bit more time could've been given to it since it did come across as an afterthought. I'm also not quite sure that I think the third-act climax works with the film. It's easily one of the biggest climaxes the Winnie the Pooh franchise has and I do wonder if it might feel a bit out of place. It's still really effective stuff and well-animated though. Speaking of the animation, it's probably my favorite thing about the film. This film really does perfectly capture the look and warmth of the watercolor and Xerox look that the Disney Animation films had so well. A lot of credit should be given to the film's art director Toby Bluth who really captures the cozy nature of fall and winter very well and gives the film a warm feeling to it.
The character animation also really does capture the Xerox look perfectly with that scratchy look around the characters that were prevalent throughout Disney Animation's films released in the 1960s. It was nice to see that again. Speaking of the characters, the film continues to prove just how timeless and memorable they continue to be. For a film about Tigger, the film does him justice while also giving him a lot more than his silly, playful nature. He still has it which is always nice to see, but the film really shows just how lonely he feels due to how the other characters just not having the amount of energy he does. You really feel for him throughout the film, especially after one notable scene where the characters really try to cheer him up and a lot of credit deserves to go to Jim Cummings. Pretty much all of the weight of this film is on his shoulders and he carries it very well. Even the limited screen time that Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, and Kanga showed just how well Falkenstein understands the characters. I also do like the relationship that Roo has with Tigger in the film and his goal for him to see him kind of like as a younger brother figure though I do feel that he does come across as a little too cutesy and well mannered in the film at times. I also can't forget to talk about the songs written by the Sherman Brothers. This would end up being the final film that the duo would work together on and they really went out with a bang. These songs are a lot of fun and very memorable that show just how talented the two were. My favorite is easily "Round My Family Tree" where Tigger sings about what his potential family members could be like and it's also where Falkenstien really gets to show off and play around with the animation. It was nice to see.
In all, "The Tigger Movie" is a very sweet and heartwarming film. The story is filled with the heart and humor we expect from a Winnie the Pooh film, the animation is very lovely and cozy, and the characters are still as charming and memorable as ever before. It's a very nice Winnie the Pooh film and I do recommend checking it out if curious. It may not be as great as the two films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, but there's enough heart and sweetness here that'll make anyone in the family smile.