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Winnie the Pooh
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Walt Disney Records / 2011 / 46:33

Winnie the Pooh has been a very reliable cash cow for Disney since it acquired the rights to A.A. Milne’s story and characters half a century ago.  Now, after years of spinoff movies of varying pedigree, they return to the where it all came from, with a new hand-drawn animated version of the original story.  Animated films have changed considerably since Pooh made his debut in 1966 – but the indelible songs written by Richard and Robert Sherman for so many of the Disney classics of that era are still loved by children today, and their most famous Pooh song opens this album, in a new version sung by Zooey Deschanel.  There are a couple of reprises, but the other songs here (of which there are quite a lot) are new ones, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (I would posit that there is a fair chance they are related).  Kids will probably enjoy them, but there’s not the kind of depth there that means the appeal might extend to adults in the way the Disney songs of the Shermans (and for that matter Alan Menken and Randy Newman) do.

The original score is by Hans Zimmer associate Henry Jackman – Remote Control’s complete hold over scoring animations having now finally infiltrated even Disney.  (There is a moment in the seventh track of this CD when the chorus sings “It’s Pooh!  It’s Pooh!”  Whether this is because that’s the lyric of the song, or actually they are offering their opinion on the infiltration of all corners of animated scoring by Team Zimmer, is unclear.)  Sorry, cheap joke – and I must be fair – this is a bit of a departure.  It has a much more “classic” feel to it than the music in all the Dreamworks animations – it’s fully orchestral, actually very old-fashioned, and entirely charming.  Themes are lacking – and those who object to mickey mousing in their scores (who should, quite frankly, not really be buying soundtrack albums to Disney films in that case) will be having palpitations – but full marks to Jackman for so successfully evoking Disney scores of the 1960s.  Nothing groundbreaking – and the songs are completely disposable – but apart from a few ill-advised moments where the composer betrays his true film scoring background – so enjoyable!  *** 1/2

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  1. Mastadge (Reply) on Wednesday 13 April, 2011 at 21:10

    Something to look forward to. Is that 47 minutes including the songs, or 47 minutes of score?

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Wednesday 13 April, 2011 at 22:48

    The score’s about 25 minutes.