Honey is as golden and gooey as ever these days.

And Winnie the Pooh, the bear who can never get enough of that treat, is still a sweet fixture for children. The longevity of the series can be credited to the freshness of its message and the characters' relationships, still touching and fun after all this time, without being too sappy.

Winnie the Pooh, the first animated feature film in 35 years with the bear as the lead, follows the lovable stuffed animals as they search for the lost tail of Eeyore, the ever-depressed donkey.

But that journey turns into a frantic quest to find Christopher Robin, the child who owns and adores them and whom they believe to be captured. Pooh and Tigger (both voiced by the versatile Jim Cummings) along with Piglet and the others attempt to save their owner from the "Backson" - an ominous-sounding monster born, it turns out, not from the dark forest that they fear, but from their comical inability to read well.

As the animals scramble, and stumble, through the Hundred Acre Wood, the film also veers off-course at times, seeming to lose focus of its central story. But with chipper songs, physical comedy (however much exists for animation), witty puns, and a lovable goofiness packed into a tight 69 minutes, it seems capable of holding children's attention and even entertaining older viewers (many of whom likely grew up with the bear themselves).

This Disney flick lacks the Pixar glitz, and even depth, of many popular kids' movies over the last decade, such as Up or the Toy Story series. But it still has a visual and emotional artistry that depicts the value of committed friendships, highlighting challenges that may come along. Yet what it expresses most of all is the sheer fun and joy these experiences can bring.

And that, of course, is the real jar of honey.


Contact staff writer Dante Anthony Fuoco at 215-854-2737 or dfuoco@philly.com.