A little too cuddly
“One for the Heffalump movie,” I said. “You know what that is, right?” the ticket-seller asked me – one final gut-check to make sure I was ready for “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.”
With Keanu Reeves hunting demons at the local multiplexes, I didn’t expect a warning before a Disney movie about cuddly characters that look like stuffed animals, even in cartoon form. Then again, being 30, childless and still due for my first lobotomy, maybe I should have taken it as a sign that I was out of my demographic.Ordinarily, I might have heeded the warning, because as good as the intentions of “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” are, there just isn’t a lot there. Almost by default, cartoons for kids seem to entail something for adults – humor, a subplot that’s more than it appears, celebrity cameos – something. They could’ve even tied in that whole “Tao of Pooh” thing as a subplot in hope of grabbing followers of Eastern religions.
But aside from the movie’s sweet but clunkily obvious message – that the unknown probably isn’t as scary as you might think it is – there’s really not much else to “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” beyond cute cartoons and sweet, little songs. That’s also what makes it the first movie I’ve seen in a long time with nothing that would offend or frighten even the youngest kids. So teeing off on such a soft, sweet cartoon would make me feel guilty. But there are at least a couple of things to keep in mind: Adults searching for something to grab onto might come up empty-handed, and “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” just missed being a direct-to-DVD movie by a hair’s breadth, which shows sometimes.
So it’s probably cynical to judge “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” against what cartoons have become – showcases of high-tech animation with highbrow pop-culture references that give kids just enough to stay interested while much of the content goes over their heads. And so it’s probably a little cynical, too, that adults flock to movies for kids to find the same sort of thing Pooh and his cohorts dread they’ll encounter when they come across the heffalumps: something sharp, quick, maybe a little biting. But if adults are looking for anything of the sort in “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie,” they’ll probably find themselves disarmed with the heffalumps.
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