Monday, July 25, 2011

Friendship according to Winnie the Pooh

The following is a review/analysis of the topic of friendship in the movie Winnie the Pooh. If you do not want the story ruined, you should see it first. I imagine this may be the kind of story that is still enjoyable if you know what's coming... but still, go see it.

So last Thursday I went with some good friends to see Winnie the Pooh. For those of you that are only familiar with "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" or "My Friends Tigger and Pooh" you might wonder why we went to go see a "kids movie." The truth is that when Disney wants to stick a little closer to the actual Pooh books, the stories are actually really funny and clever. This was the case for the movie on Thursday.

Besides laughing and general enjoyment, I felt something I didn't expect during the movie. Anger. I was not happy with Owl. Owl is someone who I looked up to as a kid, probably because I could relate with his love of books and because Pooh just isn't bright most of the time. (He's a bear of very little brains.)

Owl, as it turns out, is actually someone who acts like he knows a lot more than he does. He is obsessed with himself. Basically, he's the perfect hipster. (Maybe if he was a little more fashionable.) He is so focused on covering his lack of knowledge that he sends his friends out on missions that he doesn't seem to need to take an active part in. You can't really dislike him fully because he really is oblivious to what he's doing.

Contrast that with Winnie the Pooh, though. Pooh spends most of the movie focused on honey (or hunny) and has a hard time focusing when he hasn't quite had lunch yet. He even goes into a large honey-induced hallucination. He struggles to keep his mind off of honey and on their quest to find Eeyore's tail. Eventually, by the end of the story, Pooh just needs his honey. He stops by Owl's house, rings the bell that looks suspiciously like a donkey tail and goes inside for a small, smattering of honey. After Owl describes where he found his new door bell rope, Pooh realizes that it's Eeyore's tail and immediately leaves to give it back to him. Owl asks "Don't you want to stay for some honey?" and Pooh responds "I would very much but I have a friend who needs his tail back."

Pooh's wants were less important than his friend Eeyore's needs. If you know anything about Pooh and Hunny, you would know how important Pooh's friends are to him. Contrast Owl's constant talk about himself and his willingness to get others to do what he is not willing to do with Pooh who is willing to set aside what he desperately wants for his friends and I think we can see easily what the admirable quality in friendship is.

May I be a little less like Owl today,  a little less focused on myself and a little more like Pooh, willing to fulfill the needs of my friends even if it means I miss out on something that I want.

PS Owl's not so bad. He's just insecure.

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