leave a comment --Angel Cohn
Working from the same basic template as THE PIGLET MOVIE (2003) — a tiny, under-appreciated character wants to be bigger in order to fit in with the gang, a string of too mellow Carly Simon songs and a lesson about accepting differences — produces similar results: A short, sweet movie perfect for the toddlers and not too torturous for adults. The residents of Hundred Acre Woods are a flutter when they're awakened by a large trumpeting noise and subsequently discover some massive footprints. There's only one possible explanation: dreaded Heffalumps have invaded their neighborhood. Depending on the account you choose to believe, the legendary beasts dwell in Heffalump Hollow, have three heads, fiery eyes, multiple horns, tails with spikes and are known to step on houses and steal honey. So Rabbit (Ken Sansom) rallies the troops, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (both voiced by Jim Cummings), Piglet (John Fiedler) and Eeyore (Peter Cullen) for an expedition to capture one of the savage beasts. Despite his dead-on skills with a lasso, the older fellows deem Roo too small to come along, so the precocious tot sneaks out and over the dividing fence to the darker part of the forest so he can be the first to catch a Heffalump. And he succeeds, finding the playful Lumpy (Kyle Stanger) wandering through the woods and tossing a rope around the amiable behemoth's neck. No matter that purple, sweet-faced Lumpy, who drags the pint-sized Roo along by his own lariat, lacks the stereotypical Heffalump traits; in fact, his tail is a big pink fluff-ball and he has an infectious giggle instead of a mean snarl. Roo is still pleased as punch he's captured a real, live Heffalump. Lumpy, for his part, loves his new playmate but is awfully nervous about visiting Roo's part of the forest, which Heffalumps know is populated by dreadful, orange, bouncy animals and loud-mouthed creatures with big pointy ears. Together the odd couple learns that their misconceptions about each other are completely off base. Roo's peppy eagerness to learn is adorably endearing and Lumpy is the cutest thing on four legs; the tots for whom the film is intended are, presumable, as yet insufficiently worldly to wonder why Heffalumps speak with British accents. And with a running time of just over an hour, it's the perfect "smackeral" of adventure for youngsters craving Pooh Bear and his pals.