THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan

"PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE"

Piglet never got the recognition he deserved. Pooh was lovable, Tigger was funny, and Eeyore was hard to forget. Then there was poor Piglet, always a part of the 100 Acres crew but never really much of a breakout character, despite his inherent cuteness. If this were Chicago, he’d be “Mr. Cellophane.” This travesty of justice…well, maybe that’s overstating it. Let me try another phrase. This unfortunate oversight has been rectified with the release of Piglet’s Big Movie, which uses the title’s character’s lack of recognition as its premise.

As the film opens, Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Rabbit are hatching a scheme to gather some honey (or, rather, “hunny”) from some bees. Piglet wants to help, but is told that he’s too small to assist in such an “important plan.” When the plan goes afoul, it is Piglet who saves the day - not that anyone notices. They are all too busy basking in the fact that they met their goal. A frustrated Piglet wanders off, wishing there were some way he could help his friends or contribute to the world.

He wanders off a little too far, causing his friends to worry that he is lost. They grab Piglet’s scrapbook as a way to get ideas about where he might have gone. The scrapbook brings back many memories - of the time Piglet build Eeyore a house, of the time he united Kanga and Roo into the group, and of the time he pulled Roo out of the river. Suddenly, Pooh and pals realize just how much Piglet has done for all of them.

Like millions of children, I was brought up on Winnie the Pooh. I still like these characters to this day. Here’s why: they’re simple. They are more innocent and lovable than Pokemon or Digimon or Yu-Gi-Oh. There are no robots, no action scenes, no violence in these cartoons. The characters espouse ideas such as friendship and love. In general, animated films have become too frenetic, as though they believe something earthshaking has to be occurring every moment in order to keep children interested (a problem that befell Disney’s Treasure Planet). When this happens, the characters fade into the background. Piglet’s Big Movie, like The Tigger Movie before it, has an innocence and a sweetness to it that is welcome. It put a smile on the face of this big kid.

The story does end kind of predictably, with Piglet saving Pooh’s life. Maybe the plot didn’t need to end so dramatically, but that’s okay. I think this film has a great message for kids, and it imparts that message in a way that is entertaining and good-natured. Piglet’s Big Movie also features a handful of songs by Carly Simon that are a nice match for the film itself.

( out of four)


Piglet's Big Movie is rated G. The running time is 1 hour and 14 minutes.

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