The Tigger Movie manages the unimpressive feat of taking the “bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy fun, fun, fun, fun, fun” character from Winnie the Pooh and saddling him with a rather dull movie that is only watchable for its notably good animation and a few new songs by the Sherman Brothers. The plot of the movie involves Tigger feeling sad because nobody else in the Hundred Acre Wood has his particular joie de vivre, although some of his friends would call it destructive hyperactivity. This launches him on a search for his real family, leading to unsurprising, mildly heartwarming lessons about friends by the end of the movie.
It must be said up front that The Tigger Movie is quite impressive on a technical level. Jim Cummings demonstrates why he’s one of the most versatile voice actors in the business by turning in pitch-perfect performances as the polar opposites Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, and the joy in both of his performances is matched only by Peter Cullen’s hilariously morose Eeyore. While it’s not their best work, songs by Richard and Robert Sherman are always welcome, and the ones we get here are certainly enjoyable enough. The animation of the movie is exceptionally well-done, using state-of-the-art animation of the time to neatly re-create the scratchy, hand-made Xeroxed lines of Disney’s original Winnie the Pooh shorts. Tigger himself is a delight to watch, careening around with wild abandon in a frame that’s barely able to contain him. This is especially true in the “Round My Family Tree” musical number, which happily flings around visual styles with a manic, uninhibited sense of creativity that exploits the natural strengths of animation to their fullest. The sequence is nearly worth the price of admission by itself, thanks to its highly developed sense of play and fun. It is cut from the same cloth as the “Friend Like Me” sequence from Aladdin, with the same combination of exhilaration and energy that makes it a joy to watch repeatedly.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for The Tigger Movie itself, since its script takes a slight idea and fails to tease a feature film out of it. Even with a relatively short 77 minute running time, the movie drags uncomfortably through most of the non-musical numbers. The only way it could belabor its plot points more exhaustingly would be for the characters to turn to the camera and ask, “Do you know why Tigger is sad?” and then wait, Dora the Explorer-style, for the abundantly obvious answer. The Tigger Movie also manages to tack on an action sequence right at the very end that is both exceptionally unnecessary and extremely out of place in a Winnie the Pooh story. Disney’s original Winnie the Pooh shorts were notable for their deliberate, meandering pacing. The Tigger Movie may be aspiring for the same unhurried pace, but ends up feeling more like it’s just stalling for time.
Arriving on store shelves a few months ahead of its actual 10th anniversary, The Tigger Movie 10th Anniversary Edition DVD release is up to Disney’s usual high standards, with a clean, sharp image in a slightly pillarboxed anamorphic widescreen. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack is excellent, although it really only gets a workout in the aforementioned action sequence. The DVD comes loaded with extras, the biggest of which are two episodes of 1988’s The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: “King of the Beasties” and “Tigger’s Houseguest,” both of which manage to be more entertaining and appropriate to Winnie the Pooh’s spirit than the main attraction. Unfortunately, neither has been cleaned up or remastered for this release, with “Tigger’s Houseguest” looking especially bad. The musical section of the bonuses include a Kenny Loggins music video for the song he contributed to the movie (“Your Heart Will Lead You Home”) and a sing-along version of “Round My Family Tree,” which inexplicably cuts off the very tail end of the song. Of the games and activities, the only one worth the time is the Tigger Movie Interactive Trivia Game, since correctly answering all the questions unlocks a pleasant, brief video on the history of Winnie the Pooh as a literary figure and a Disney character. Although the packaging bills this as a 2-disc edition, the second disc only contains a digital copy of the movie for Macs and PCs.
Despite its flaws, The Tigger Movie may be worth at least a look on its technical merits alone. It may be even more enjoyable on DVD, since the format allows you to easily skip around to the assorted musical numbers and avoid the rest.