Disney shines a light on Piglet

March 21, 2003|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

He's a little guy with a big heart. What's not to love?

Shamelessly heart-tugging and defiantly uncomplicated, Piglet's Big Movie offers the smallest of A.A. Milne's irresistible Pooh characters some time in the spotlight, and the result is the sort of feel-good lesson kids will enjoy and parents should welcome.

Poor Piglet, voiced as always (at least since 1968) by John Fiedler, is feeling chronically underappreciated. As always, he's among the most resourceful of the Pooh gang, as well as the most eager to please. And while his friends - Pooh, Rabbit, Eeyore and Tigger - aren't exactly being mean to him, they're hardly paying the little guy the attention he's due. Even after he saves the day when a honey raid almost turns ugly, the gang continues to treat him more like a bothersome little brother than a valuable asset.

Of course, Piglet's too loyal a friend to complain openly, but he's feeling decidedly down.

But then events conspire to remove Piglet from the scene, and his friends, afraid he's in some sort of peril, go looking for him. The first thing they find is his scrapbook, and with the sort of logic that makes the Hundred-Acre Wood such a magical place, they deduce that the surest way to find Piglet is to revisit all the places he's been. And so the gang embarks on a greatest-hits tour of the little guy's life, in the process coming to realize both what a friend he is and what a valuable guy he is to have around.

Sure, it's cheap moralizing, but since when is that a bad thing for kids?

The songs, provided by Carly Simon (who performs one of them, "With a Few Good Friends," in a video that plays over the closing credits), are catchy and comforting, decidedly in step with the warmhearted spirit surrounding Disney's Pooh franchise.

Piglet's Big Movie doesn't exactly aim high; the animation is flat and unadorned, the story predictable, the winsomeness a little overbearing. This is the sort of piece Disney used to send straight to video, until someone at the Mouse House realized parents were desperate for theatrical films they could see with the little ones. Its pleasures are slight, but safe, and welcome.

Sun Score: ** 1/2

Piglet's Big Movie

Directed by Francis Glebas

Released by Walt Disney

Rated G

Time 75 minutes

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