From this news story about replacing Christopher Robin with a tomboy in Winnie the Pooh, we get this image:
I’m not going to dwell too much on this latest alteration to the world of Pooh. Disney has already more or less removed everything that made the original stories special for me, so this latest change is nothing new, so to speak. The books paint a picture of a charming, gentle world of mild adventure, wordplay, and poetry. The Disney version is both louder and less articulate. The clever dialog has been replaced with catchphrases. The characters have been made more vibrant by having all of their base traits turned up to the proverbial “eleven”. The poems are, of course, long gone because, um… Why exactly? Are kids just getting too much dang poetry on TV?
I think making the whole thing computer generated really fits. Now the visuals can be just as sterile as the rest of the show! I’m not sure why the little girl is wearing a bike helmet while standing around in a field with a bunch of stuffed animals. I think this particular zone poses a pretty low risk of head injury. Maybe they’ve put a skate park in the 100 acre woods.
Sorry. I shouldn’t care. It’s not like they burned all of A. A. Milne’s books when they made the show. Still, it’s hard not to suffer from some “Han Shot First” fanboy incredulity. It’s saddening to see beloved works reprocessed like this, and I can’t help but wish they’d just make up the story they wanted instead of Disney-fying this one.
Anyway, that’s not the interesting thing about this image. No, the interesting thing about this image is that it makes no sense, visually. Sadly, the version with the news story is only 180×180, but I’ve blown it up here so we can have a closer look.
Question: What direction is the sun shining?
The shadows all indicate that the sun is to our right and shining towards the viewer, but if you look at Pooh’s behind it looks like there is light coming from this side of him. Tigger is backlit. Piglet is being lit from above. The girl looks like she’s rendered in full brightness, without any shadows whatsoever. She looks like she’s glowing in comparison to the other characters. I suppose you could argue that everyone aside from the girl is lit from from a nearby light source directly above, which could explain the character-specific variations in apparent light direction, although that still doesn’t explain their shadows. I can’t help thinking Pooh looks like he’s actually getting hit by two lights, the one producing the bright highlight on his head, and the one illuminating his back.
In any case, the trees in the background aren’t casting any sort of shadows on the ground, and you could make the case that they look like they’re lit from our left. The grass looks nice, but it doesn’t match the style of the characters. It’s too washed out and the blades are too distinct.
I’d give this a pass if this image was a screenshot from something rendered in realtime, but for a pre-rendered show this is cave-drawing primitive. This is the CGI equivalent of South Park animation. This is the image you hand out with your press release? There are armies of kids out there who could crank out better images using Blender and their home PC. Maybe Disney should get back in touch with Dick Van Dyke and get some help with their rendering.
So… they may be abusing a beloved classic with over-merchandising and political correctness, but at least they’re doing it really poorly.
If I were a bear,
And a big bear too,
I shouldn't much care
If it froze or snew;
I shouldn't much mind
If it snowed or friz â€"
I'd be all fur-lined
With a coat like his!
For I'd have fur boots and a brown fur wrap,
And brown fur knickers and a big fur cap.
I'd have a fur muffle-ruff to cover my jaws,
And brown fur mittens on my big brown paws.
With a big brown furry-down up to my head,
I'd sleep all the winter in a big fur bed.
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