A WALK DOWN NOSTALGIA LANE REVIEW: “Piglet’s Big Movie” is voiced by John Fiedler (12 Angry Men , The Odd Couple ), Jim Cummings (The Princess and the Frog, Aladdin ), Ken Sansom (The Long Goodbye, Airport 1975), Peter Callen (Transformers , Ghostbusters [TV series]), Andre Stojka (Pom Poko, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer), Kath Soucie (Zootopia, Rugrats [1991 TV series]), Nikita Hopkins (The Tigger Movie, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie), and Tom Wheatley (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, They’re Outside). It is directed by Frances Glebas (Fantasia 2000, Mira Royal Detective [TV series]), with the screenplay being written by Brian Hohlfield (He Said She Said, The Rocketeer [TV series]).
The Hundred Acre Wood gang recount memories of their friend Piglet (Fielder) in hopes of finding him when he runs away.
And so we’ve reached the end of this installment of the Nostalgia Lane series with “Piglet’s Big Movie.” Nothing like rounding out a series with a Hundred Acre Wood visit. All I can say is, if you wait long enough, everyone will get their own movie.
“Piglet’s Big Movie” took up as much space in my childhood as the other Winnie the Pooh flicks. It was highly regarded. Not only did my brother and I love the movie, but we had a computer game of it as well (one that we thoroughly enjoyed playing). The feel-good charm of the Hundred Acre Wood is encapsulated in this adventure, showcased through memories that surround the character of Piglet. He’s a prominent figure of the bunch, but he’s given the spotlight this go-around when he decides to run away (or get lost, as I should say). Though he was never my favorite (that spot was saved for Tigger), I gravitated toward his story, as he was a scared little guy who had a bigger part in people’s lives than he realized.
There’s no denying that this movie has a good message for kids. It tells you to have courage and be bold. In pure Winnie the Pooh fashion, this is told through fun visuals, songs, and tons of reflection (because these animals love to look back on the past). However, it’s in watching “Piglet’s Big Movie” that I recognized the Disney formula for this series; one that made it easier to shovel out these stories year after year. You see, it’s quite simple: pick a character, have them search for something bigger than themself, and get lost in the process (only for the rest of the characters to go looking for them). The gang set out to find Christopher Robin in “The Search for Christopher Robin,” Tigger looked for his family in “The Tigger Movie,” and now everyone is tracking down Piglet. It’s humorous once I recognized it, though it proved troublesome when other elements became familiar. Not only was the factor of finding someone utilized, but the means as to how they ran away in the first place was also repurposed. The narrative structure of these bigger Hundred Acre flicks is old as the woods themself, and while it isn’t problematic for a child, it was tough to move past it as an adult.
That’s not to say you should skip this venture. Though it’s the weaker release of the Hundred Acre movies I have reviewed in the past, it manages to succeed in other areas. I enjoyed the visual of Piglet’s drawings, and attaching Carly Simon to assemble a soundtrack for it gave the film its own voice (much like what Phil Collins did for “Tarzan,” though not as iconic). There was care put into this project and its message, which has always been the thing I admired most with these features; there’s an innocence to this world that is beautiful and bittersweet when faced with harsh realities. “Piglet’s Big Movie” doesn’t hold anything too brash or harsh (aside from Rabbit [Sansom] trying to erradicate Kanga [Soucie] from the neighborhood for being different), but the appeal of these stories is kept intact nonetheless.
In my opinion, “Piglet’s Big Movie” is a miss. At least when compared to my childhood view of it. There’s plenty to take into account (for one, it’s a kids’ movie; for two, these things are a lot shorter than I remember), but at the end of the day, I didn’t feel all that connected with this tale. Piglet feeling left out isn’t something new, nor is the act of looking for him. Obviously, if this is the first Hundred Acre flick you see, the background is invalid, but for the sake of argument/comparison, it’s safe to say that this one is the weaker link. Mind you, it’s not a bad movie. There’s plenty to enjoy (I actually laughed a few times). But I was hoping to get roped in like the previous outings, and I sorely wasn’t.
Winnie the Pooh is a character/franchise that I adore. It’s one that I will show my kids someday. Their talks on growing up, family, and support through an innocent mind is wonderful, and you’ll most certainly remember moments that are captured in their films (especially the 90’s to early 2000’s ones). After watching a few of these though, they start to feel similar, and that’s where I wish “Piglet’s Big Movie” stepped up. It honored Piglet well, but I wasn’t as impacted as I wanted to be. Is it because I’m an adult now? Perhaps. I can’t skirt past that fact. Though in terms of quality, this one is the lesser of the bunch. It doesn’t make it any less worthy of showing your kids, nor does it disregard what the filmmakers teach. It simply displays the matter of preference. “Oh, d-d-dear.” FINAL SCORE: 74%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: