Reinventing Winnie the Pooh
"What's great about Winnie the Pooh is that these characters are so innocent that they can go off on tangents," says Hall. "If they have a particular goal that day, they'll leave the house and pursue it, but then something else is going to happen, and before you know it, something else happens and they've gone on circuitous paths. So we wanted to make sure that it was organically unfolding. We weren't imposing a story structure on the characters, but at the same time, it couldn't seem random. The challenge in story development was: 'How much do we structure this like a traditional movie, and how much do we pull back and let the characters inform the course of the film?'"
And considering how self-reflexive the narrative is, with the interplay between narrator and characters and sentences flying off the page at will like another character, it's clear that Winnie the Pooh is not just for kids.
"We heard stories that at a USC test screening they were standing in line for five hours and turned people away," insists Anderson. "But getting a free screening and getting them to pay money is a whole other thing. But it certainly gives us confidence that we achieved what we wanted to do, which was to create a broad audience movie."
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.