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Loveable and on his own...

Piglet's Big Movie

The Disney Version

That lovable little Piglet overcomes his feelings of inadequacy, and through a mix-up convinces himself that all his friends are in big trouble. Meanwhile, Pooh and the rest think that Piglet has disappeared.

Carrying Piglet's scrapbook, the gang tell stories about times Piglet helped them all, hoping that memories will give them a clue as to where he's gone.

Yes, it's another sequel from the Disney Television Animation division. Usually these end up going directly to video, but occasionally one shows enough promise for a theatrical release. Such was the case with last year's Return To Neverland and last month's The Jungle Book 2, both movies that at least tried to capture the charm of their source films.

Piglet's Big Movie, though, suffers a little bit from using the rote formula that most of the direct-to-video sequels have: a thin connecting story (usually involving a book) that ties little vignettes together. The device allows the studio to either backdoor pilot a proposed series, or at least not waste the few episodes of a shelved one.

Kanga and Piglet meet for the first time. Maybe.
So when that scrapbook comes off the shelf, you may groan a bit. But Winnie The Pooh stories do tend to work best in shorter narratives, and on video, where a kid can stop after their favorite story, this will play out really well.

In theaters, however, the little kids, who Pooh is really for, will grow a little restless. At least until a climactic waterfall rescue scene, which grabbed back their attention at the preview screening.

For adults who appreciate such details, this movie boasts new songs by the Sherman Brothers, sung by Carly Simon. Over the end credits, Simon makes an appearance to reprise one of the most hummable songs from the film. Darned if it didn't work.

The movie also acknowledges its past. Pasted into Piglet's book is a crayon drawing evoking a scene from The Tigger Movie, so Disney is trying to teach kids about continuity. (Though they utterly ignore it in a vignette involving Kanga and Roo moving into the wood - Tigger is shown with the group already, when we all know he was the most recent addition. Right? Right? Oh, man, I am a freak.)

If you're desperate to take the kids to a movie, then Piglet's Big Movie is inoffensive and somewhat entertaining. But you'd be wiser to just wait for the home video.

Derek McCaw

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