ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.12 - MARCH 2000

The Wonderful Things About The Tigger Movie
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A True Classic
Even at the 9:30 pm showing that I attended, there were more families there than not. I was having flashbacks to animal assemblies and The Fox and the Hound the whole time I was watching the movie. From the outings to the theater with my family, I went away with two things. The first was how the film's lessons and adventures related to my little four-year-old world. Yes, The Fox and the Hound was just Romeo and Juliet, but it taught me about friendship. Yes, The Rescuers was part James Bond, part It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but when the villains took the little girl's toy away and said, "You'll never see teddy again!" it scared the Osh-be-Goshes off me and I sure related. A little bit adventure and a little bit morality tale -- that's what fairy tales are made of, and that's what The Tigger Movie is.

Tigger with his "real" family bounces with joy on receiving a letter from his Tigger family. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The film is full of classic family values. Oh no, I'm sounding like a Dumbo party member, but hold on Eeyore party fans don't go burning Pat Buchanan posters in my yard yet. Owl (Andre Stojka) is like a grandparent, Rabbit (Ken Sansom) is a worrying mom and Pooh is the dopey next door neighbor. The relationships between the characters form experiences to which any kid can relate. Tigger wants someone to bounce with him, but Pooh and the gang have more important things to do -- just like my mom and dad did after they came home from a long day at work. Roo runs after Tigger wanting to act big -- just like my little sister wanted when I was playing Atari. I read a review bashing the film for being old fashioned and out of date. Well, if a kids' movie about families caring about each other is old-fashioned then the world is pretty sad for all of us. Republican Dumbos and Democrat Eeyores all included. The characters make up a caring community. However, the flick isn't quite as old-fashioned as one may think. Heck, Ms. Kanga is a single mom! There's no Mr. Kanga hopping around to help with Roo. The whole Hundred Acre Wood crew make up a family of different feathers and furs. Pooh and Piglet didn't just assume the frogs couldn't be Tigger's family because they weren't bright orange. In this time of "it takes a village to raise a child" Tigger's "real" family looks like the model for a Democratic campaign poster. These are lessons for today's kids. Moreover, the lessons of family and caring are intrinsically the same today as they were yesteryear. This will never be out-of-date.

Now for the second thing I took away from my outings to the movie theater when I was young. It was a family affair. I wasn't just raised by my parents. I had grandparents, uncles, aunts and family friends. It's just like Tigger having Ms. Kanga, Owl, Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit and Eeyore. Especially today, more kids have evolving family landscapes that include step-moms, step-dads and step-siblings. The Tigger Movie is much more than an old fashioned Disney flick. It's a modern fairy tale, with characters and adventures a modern kid can relate to very easily.

The Tigger Movie is a film for the four-year-old in all of us. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

There's a place for inside jokes about Star Wars and the Cold War in animation, just as much as there is a place for a simple tale about family and friends. I've noticed that "kids" movies are making a lot of money lately. It puts a smile on my face, because it means kids with their families (whatever the configuration) are piling into the car and going to see films. For a film made just for the little ones The Tigger Movie is great. It's a warm, funny and subtly told story that doesn't fall into the trap of most "made for kids" films that sink to using dumb bodily fluid and adults-getting-hit-in-the-groin jokes. The most wonderful thing about The Tigger Movie is there are more lessons to be learned from the film then how to market a movie for a mass audience.

With a stuffed Tigger proudly perched on his desk, Rick DeMott is the Associate Editor of Animation World Magazine. Previously, he served as Media Coordinator for Hollywood-based Acme Filmworks. He holds a BA in Film/Video from Penn State University with a Minor in Comparative Literature.

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