Small children will enjoy this gentle story of making friends. Their families will be grateful for the fact that there is a suitable movie for younger kids and they might enjoy the pretty water-color backgrounds and a couple of funny moments. And if they take advantage of the the well-under-90-minute running time for a bit of a snooze, they can be grateful for that, too.
Previous features put Tigger and Piglet in the spotlight, but this time the focus is on Roo, the spirited kangaroo son of sweet-voiced Kanga. When the citizens of the 400 Acre Wood decide to capture a heffalump, they tell Roo he is too young to go along on such a scary expedition. But Roo sneaks out to show the others that he is grown-up enough to capture a heffalump on his own.
Roo finds a heffalump, but is surprised to find that not only is he not at all scary, but he is just as frightened of Roo and his friends as they are of him. Indeed, this heffalump is called Lumpy and he is just a child, like Roo. They quickly forget all about being scared of each other as they play games and enjoy getting to know one another.
But when Roo tries to take his new friend home so that Kanga can help Lumpy find his mother, Rabbit, Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger do not understand. They try to capture Lumpy. But friendship — and mothers — come to the rescue.
Newcomer Kyle Stanger, who provides the voice of Lumpy the heffalump was just five when the movie was made, and he is the highlight of the movie. He gives Lumpy so much personality and charm that every child will want a heffalump playmate of of his own. Brenda Blethyn provides the understanding and loving voice of his mother. And be sure to stay for the credits, as the scenes of Lumpy and Roo playing are among the best in the movie.
Parents should know that the movie has some mild peril that the most sensitive young viewers may find unsettling.
Families who see this movie should talk about how we can make sure we do not let fear of anything that is different prevent us from meeting new friends. And they can talk about how children are sometimes impatient to be allowed to do things that adults tell them they are not old enough to do and what “your own call” means. Parents will want to make sure that children understand, however, that they should not talk to strangers and that they should never let anyone persuade them that they do not have to answer when their mother calls them. They might also want to talk about how Roo and Lumpy will have to clean up the mess that they made in Pooh’s house and Rabbit’s garden.
Every family should read aloud the wonderful works of A.A. Milne, both the poetry and the stories about Winnie the Pooh and his friends. The heffalump” in the book is imaginary. Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the other Pooh stories available on DVD and video.