TIGGER MOVIE, THE

The Disney company, which has been making featurettes and TV
shows with the gang from Pooh Corner since 1966, here offers
their first effort designed for the big screen, a gentle, soft-
grained comedy-with-music that’s the cinematic equivalent of
a plush stuffed animal. Younger tykes, many of whom have been
brought up on the characters, should find the result quite
entrancing, while adults who accompany them will be mostly
charmed by the whimsical tone, the occasionally bright score,
and the malaprops regularly inserted into the script. And the
animation, while hardly cutting-edge, is often quite
beautiful in its effects.

There’s one problem, which is that the plot fashioned by Jun
Falkenstein, in which the title tiger searches futilely for
his family only to conclude that the cuddly beasts he’s lived
with all along are his real one, has an awful lot in common
with the recent “Muppets from Space,” wherein Gonzo learned
the same lesson. But the bond that exist among friends isn’t
a bad lesson for children to be exposed to, even in duplicate.

And the tone of “The Tigger Movie” is much sweeter and more
toddler-conscious than that of the Henson group’s picture.
While it has its share of action scenes which kids will respond
to with some vocal enthusiasm (Tigger bounds about with great
abandon, and there’s a big avalanche at the close), as a whole
it’s quite old-fashioned, almost quaint, in giving Eeyore the
room to be properly dour, and Piglet (still voiced by the
venerable John Fiedler) the space to be almost preternaturally
quiet. There’s also time for a lovely, lilting lullaby sung
by Winnie the Pooh (voiced, as is Tigger, by Jim Cummings,
who does a fine job of imitating both Stirling Holloway and
Paul Winchell) to some protective honey-bees.

In sum, “The Tigger Movie” is like a pleasant, undemanding
visit with old friends. It doesn’t have the visual pizzazz of
either “Tarzan” or “Toy Story 2,” and some parents may prefer
to await its eventual arrival on video, where their children
are accustomed to see these characters. But on the big screen
it offers a fine opportunity to introduce smallfry to the
wonders of the theatre experience, and at a mere 76 minutes it
certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome.