THE NEW WINNIE THE POOH movie is the cartoon equivalent of a rock reunion tour: The old band is back together, and they seem familiar, but it's the kind of hollow cash-in that pleases the merchandisers while fans wonder what dimmed the spark of what they once held so dear.
This time around, the familiar story of Eeyore's lost tail and the scary, imaginary "Backson" has all the riffs of A.A. Milne and Disney's old hits but none of the feeling. True, the hand-drawn animation is marvelous, Craig Ferguson is great as the voice of Owl, Zooey Deschanel's songs are sugary and cute, and there are enough metafictional gags to suggest the studio at least somewhat kept the adult audience in mind. Hell, I'm even willing to trust that it's all ridiculously sincere, since Winnie the Pooh doesn't display the cynicism you'd normally expect from this kind of nostalgia-baiting.
But there's just nothing else here: Winnie the Pooh goes through a lot of motions, hitting the easy recognition of the expected catchphrases and forgetting to bring the imagination and heart. Younger kids may find it passable, though the ones in my audience seemed restless and bored.