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FEBRUARY 21, 2000: 

THE TIGGER MOVIE. Disney's latest addition puts the silly old bear in the back seat without compromising the storybook language and illustration we've come to know and love. Herein, self-centered but well-meaning Tigger bounces one forest critter too many, leading to a befuddled Pooh, cross Rabbit, homeless Eeyore, frightened Piglet and grief-stricken Roo. If Benjamin Hoff based a book on it, it might be called The Existentialism of Tigger. Part bedtime story and part action movie, it delivers Disney's trademark brand of computer-aided fireworks in just under 90 minutes. But Tigger's supple effects (leaves blowing across a still frame, rippling grass, transparent rays of sunlight) and watercolored images of the 100 Acre Wood reveal foreign influences unmistakably inspired by Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (whose Princess Mononoke debuted in America a couple of months ago). In fact, much of Tigger's production work was completed in Japan, by Japanese animators. Those who avoid the Disney franchise for its jingoistic tendencies have nothing to fear in, and may yet enjoy, this latest adventure. -- Wadsworth


TOPSY-TURVY. This historical drama defies the current trend in historical dramas by not starring Gwyneth Paltrow, or any box-office darlings whatsoever. Written and directed by Mike Leigh, and set in the stifling heat of London in 1884 (notable for being the last time Londoners complained about hot weather), Topsy-Turvy delves into the lives of the Savoy's famous Gilbert and Sullivan, the events preceding the writing of The Mikado, and the challenges the pair faced in bringing it to the stage. The absence of Gwyneth Paltrow, and the fact that Leigh's forgettable title recalls a movie about the cocaine-addled Hollywood degradation industry, may well impede its saturation of a market that might otherwise enjoy its music and history. Not that I'm any authority on the subject. I opted to see The Tigger Movie instead. -- Wadsworth


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