Film » Screens

Hog Wild

Piglet provokes unprecedented sociological insights.

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He's charming, yes. Humble and loyal. But who is Piglet really? As the modern world violently shifts beneath our feet, it's time to reexamine this diminutive representative of the other white meat and all the archetypal denizens of classic children's author A.A. Milne's Hundred-Acre Wood. The release of Piglet's BIG Movie provides the ideal opportunity.

While Piglet (neurotically whimpered by John Fiedler) demonstrates naive virtue, his dubious friend Pooh (hoarsely drawled by Jim Cummings) is pure bourgeois scum. This is illustrated here in the opening sequence, wherein the "lovable" glutton-bear cons his gang into yet another despicable ploy to rob an innocent hive of bees (symbolizing the proletariat) of the fruit of their labor (i.e. "hunny"). Pooh is partnered in this ghastly crime alongside a shockingly intolerant Republican named Rabbit (ratcheted by Ken Sansom), with whom he has ideologically enslaved a derelict donkey called Eeyore (groaned by Peter Cullen) and a sub-Jar Jar racial caricature called Tigger (also voiced by Cummings, perhaps in a conspiracy of cultural identity theft). Ultra-sophisticated Owl (Andre Stojka) and smartly modulated Christopher Robin (Tom Wheatley) show up later to remind unwashed kids that, by comparison, they're not well educated and don't speak English very good.

The heist goes horribly awry, of course, and it's Piglet who saves the day, enabling his "friends" to be symbiotically splooged with the sticky sweetness of efforts not their own. His reward? He is banished to hell, to a literal and existential loss of direction. While the little pink Nancy-boy's inherent altruism keeps him singing in service of confused woodland creatures, his increasingly evident abandonment -- and frightening disconnect from his comfortable home -- paints the direst picture of sylvan upheaval since FernGully: The Last Rainforest.

Once our unlikely quartet of bear, rabbit, donkey, and spring-tailed jungle cat overcome their honeyed inebriation, they pillage Piglet's pad. Stumbling upon the tiny domesticated hog's childlike collection of crayon-scrawled portraits of his presumed chums, the four decide to steal the pig's memories to find him via flashbacks. This equals screenwriter Brian Hohlfeld (He Said, She Said) practicing what the Writers Guild's book of standards calls "laziness," as most new material consists of trite interstitials shoved between prolonged scenes stolen wholesale from Milne's delightful books. Or is this a blessing? Yes, I suppose it is.

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