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Winnie the Pooh returns to cinemas

After more than 35 years since the original, Walt Disney Animation Studios has released a new Winnie the Pooh movie, inspired by three stories from A A Milne's books.

But why has Winnie the Pooh had such a lasting appeal?

"To us he is exactly what he was to Christopher Robin. He was a favourite toy, but he became more than that - he became a favourite friend, and I think that Pooh was very loyal and a faithful friend," says Mark Henn, supervising animator for the film.

"Both are qualities we recognise and would like to see in our own friends and show to other people, and I think that is a big part of who Pooh is."

Winnie the Pooh was inspired by the teddy bear of author and playwright A A Milne's son, Christopher Robin Milne. He was named Winnie after a Canadian black bear at London Zoo. Pooh was the name of a swan that they came across.

And with the old school charm of the original Disney featurettes and a faithfulness to A A Milne's tales, this is the Pooh that adults of a certain age will remember.

But this isn't just a cut-and paste job. The producers, directors, animators, and voice actors have put their own stamp on the film. It is the same Pooh in the same hand-drawn art style with the classic watercolour feel, but given a spring clean.

The film is witty, creative, funny, and the character interaction with the narrator and the book text will remind audiences that this is a storybook which has come to life.

The voice cast include Jim Cummings (voice of Pooh and Tigger) who has worked on several of the Winnie the Pooh film and TV animations, and Travis Oates who provides the voice for Piglet.

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Producer Peter Del Vecho believes Pooh's life lessons and the overall feel to the film will resonate with today's audience.

'What is great about him [Pooh] is that he lives totally in the moment. We tend to get so focused in the future we forget to live in the moment. And Pooh reminds us that it is actually okay not to be the best in any one thing but to have fun.

"There is a time to put down the iPhone, to put down the Wii, and have simple conversations in life and remember our values, and there is something about simple movies like this, as well as books, in sparking the imagination of kids, and it is something we don't do well anymore."

This story is from BBC News

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View previous questions, with Dr. Sarah Brewer