Famous Disney Bears

In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, Disneynature is releasing another new documentary, Bears. This new movie will follow a bear family for a year as the young cubs learn life lessons. Seeing the commercials for this movie got me thinking about all of the bears in the Disney family.

Disneynature Bears
Disneynature Bears

Winnie the Pooh
Let’s start with probably the most famous Disney bear of all. Coming from the books by A. A. Milne, Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are a childhood staple. He may be “stuffed with fluff,” but he can be quite courageous when needed. We’ve all joined in on their adventures (often in search of “hunny”) and learned about friendship along the way. Pooh and Piglet’s friendship in particular, never fails to warm my heart.

Pooh
Tigger, Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore

Baloo 

Carefree and fun-loving Baloo is Mowgli’s best friend in The Jungle Book and he taught us all about the Bare Necessities (which, thanks to writing this blog post, I have had stuck in my head for three days). For the most part, Baloo is playful, but he can be very protective of Mowgli. He is probably the most popular character from the movie and in fact, became the star of his own TV series: TaleSpin.

Baloo and Mowgli float
Baloo and Mowgli float

Koda and Kenai

These two bears from Brother Bear started out with quite the complicated relationship, but eventually became as close as brothers. Koda is the playful and talkative one, while Kenai is moody and serious. I think they both learn a lot from each other.

Koda and Kenai
Koda and Kenai

Harris, Hamish, and Hubert

Oh the triplet brothers from Brave. Definitely can’t forget them. Merida’s young brothers are always up to some sort of mischief, which is what caused them to become bears to begin with. Although they don’t stay that way forever, you can still see the brothers as bears in the Festival of Fantasy parade.

Brave triplets
Brave triplets

Br’er Bear 

Betsy mentioned Br’er Bear in her post about bunnies and rabbits as the antagonist to Br’er Rabbit in The Song of the South. Teamed up with Br’er Fox, the two keep getting outwitted by Br’er Rabbit and you can see a lot of their foiled plans in the Splash Mountain ride at the theme parks.

Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox plotting
Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox plotting

Country Bears

Big Al, Liver Lips, Wendell, Trixie, Terrence, Henry, and the rest of this musical gang have been entertaining guests at the Magic Kingdom since the park opened. There was also a version at Disneyland up until 2001. The popularity inspired a movie in 2002, but that wasn’t very successful. They remain pretty popular in the Magic Kingdom though, especially with fans who grew up with the show.

Country Bear Jamboree
Country Bear Jamboree

Fozzie Bear

This jokester of the Muppets is Kermit’s best friend. He’s very often the target of Statler and Waldorf’s heckling, but he keeps trying with his “wocka wocka” tagline! Fozzie always struck me as very loyal, especially to Kermit and though he may be slow to catch on most of them time, I think he is a friend you can count on.

Fozzie Bear
Fozzie Bear

Humphrey the Bear

Humphrey was created in 1950 and appeared in several Disney Animation cartoons at that time. Humphrey is kind of a big and goofy bear that lives in a national park and tries to steal food from the visitors. He doesn’t speak, but he does make different grunts to express emotions. His shenanigans are usually spoiled by Donald Duck or the park ranger. He got to be so popular that the animation studio created a series just for him, but unfortunately the studio stopped producing the short films soon after that. He later appeared in other shows like Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers and House of Mouse. If you’re looking for him these days, you might want to check out the Wilderness Lodge.

Humphrey
Humphrey

Honorable Mentions: Little John from Robin Hood, Gummi Bears, Duffy, Lotso, Bear in the Big Blue House

When I first started writing this post, I was surprised by how many bears would be on this list. It was fun to rediscover some old favorites like Humphrey! Did I forget any of your favorite bears?

 

 

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Why I Love the Muppets

MuppetsMost of us who grew up in the late 1970s and early 80s have been fans of the Muppets for decades. I was only alive for the last two seasons of the original Muppet Show, but watched them in reruns for years and wait not so patiently for the remaining seasons to be released. I still love watching the first three seasons, Pigs in Space will never grow old, and Harry Belafonte singing the Banana Boat Song (Day-O) is inextricably linked to the Muppets from my childhood.

I love that now a whole new generation is becoming fans of the Muppets through the 2011 film and the soon to be released Muppets Most Wanted coming out in a couple weeks. Stemming from their introduction on Sesame Street, I have a greater fondness for the Muppets than many of the original Sesame Street characters (despite having met Maria and getting to sing with her on stage in a mall tour in the early 80s – showing my age, I know). Part of why I think the Muppets still resonate with kids and adults today is they don’t pander just to kids. They treat kids like small people. This sort of humor allows for some material that goes over the kids’ heads, but for the most part it is accessible without being dumbed down.

The Muppets have been a part of my life for 30 plus years now and I hope that they stay relevant for decades to come. Sure, kids these days may not recognize some of the stars from the 70s who were on the Muppet Show, but I challenge you to stick your kid in front of the tv for an episode and see if they laugh. The pop culture zeitgeist may change a million times in the next year, but I love that the Muppets seem to be standing the test of time. From their show, to their movies (of which there are still a couple in their repertoire I need to see), and even tv specials, the Muppets are here to stay.

Their lovable form of satire makes them fun, but more intelligent humor than most other “kid’s” shows and movies. I have a fondness for the Muppets Take Manhattan, A Muppet Family Christmas (watch out for the icy patch!!!) and Rainbow Connection still tugs at my heartstrings. Miss Piggy will always be my favorite, with her fun catch phrases like “moi” and a well placed “hi-ya!” If you don’t follow her, or any of the Muppets accounts on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, you are missing out on a ton of fun. I guarantee I’ll be in the theater opening weekend to catch the shenanigans of Muppets Most Wanted. What is your favorite Muppet movie, special or episode of their show? Who is your favorite Muppet character?  Let me know in the comments.

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The Muppets

Image Copyright Disney

One of my fondest memories from childhood was watching The Muppet Show on Sunday evenings. I felt like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and company were a part of my family and we grew up together. I bought each season of the show as it was released on DVD and love reliving some of my favorite sketches such as Pigs in Space and guest stars like Harry Belafonte singing the Banana Boat Song (Day-O). So when it was announced that a new Muppets movie was coming out, I was cautiously optimistic that some of that comedic magic and poignancy from my youth might be recaptured. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

The first time I saw the Muppets I laughed almost uncontrollably at some of the cameos (ahem, Dave Grohl). While I was apprehensive about the introduction of a new Muppet, Walter, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey we as the audience experienced and the film was as a whole very satisfying. Some of my favorite moments included Animal trying to stay “in control” of his emotions, Pepe and Miss Piggy’s Dirty Dancing homage and the throwbacks to the original show like the theater at the studios and Kermit’s Rolodex.

While the movie is primarily a family friendly comedy, there were some touching moments that did cause me to shed a few tears. When the Muppets first revisit the Muppet Studios as a group and enter the theater, it totally tugged at my heartstrings seeing something I loved so much as a child in such disrepair. The moment that really resonated with me was when the Muppets played Rainbow Connection at the telethon. Being a huge fan of the original Muppet Movie, and many of the subsequent movies, this just was the right amount of a fresh take with a nod to the previous movie to strike a nice balance for me.

And if you are a super-fan of The Muppets like I am, the Wocka Wocka Value Pack is the way to go! Included in the pack is a Blu-Ray disc, DVD, a digital copy of the movie, and a digital download of the soundtrack. How can that be wrong???

Another of my favorite aspects of the film that I appreciated even more on the second viewing was the soundtrack. While I didn’t completely love every single song, I did immediately run out to purchase the soundtrack after seeing the movie the first time. As I mentioned, Rainbow Connection is a huge favorite of mine and has been since I was little. The other song I loved was Life’s A Happy Song. Accompanied by a great song and dance number that reminded me of That’s How You Know from the Disney film Enchanted, it was one of the most memorable moments that bookended the movie. Which is another reason that the Wocka Wocka Value Pack of The Muppets rocks, because it comes with a free digital copy of the soundtrack!!!!

There are so many awesome Bonus Features on The Muppets it is insane. Bonus Features include The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think),  Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets”, Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song, and A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through. And if you didn’t absolutely love the The Muppets before, you will after watching these features.

Also on the Blu-Ray disc is a feature called Disney Intermission where when you pause the movie the frame doesn’t just freeze, it shows something special…I really don’t want ruin it…It is just that cool!!!

Overall, I loved the Muppets and found it completely enjoyable. I came out of the theater feeling very much like Life’s A Happy Song and wanted to go back for more. The second viewing was just as much fun, and yes, I cried the second time around, even knowing what was going to happen. I hope that you all felt the same sense of nostalgia mixed with a fresh take on some of our favorite characters from the Muppets. Go out and grab this movie on Blu Ray or DVD to experience this great family friendly film with amazing clarity that was not to be found back when the original was released in the 1970s.

 

 

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The Muppets – Possibly The Bestest Muppets Movie Yet

So when I was asked to attend a Media Preview of The Muppets my heart soared and sunk at the same time.

I grew up on the Muppets and love them dearly like they are family members, and while I was stoked from the first second I heard about this movie I was also a little nervous about how it would turn out.

As I sat down in my seat this morning, I took a deep breath and hoped for the best…

First up were trailers for The Secret World of Arrarity and Brave, both of which I am now absolutely DYING to see!!! They both look like great stories that are breathtaking on the big screen.

Then it was time for the Toy Story Short ‘Small Fry’. This short lives up to it’s predecessor ‘Hawaiian Vacation’! It was super funny, just the right length, and absolutely set the mood for the movie!!!

The Muppets is a heart warming story where three devoted fans help the Muppets reunite to save their old theatre.

The story itself is full of nods to the history of the Muppet franchise while staying current enough to be funny to newbies. And in true Muppet fashion the jokes read on the adult and child level, which led to TONS of laughter from all of us.

I am not going to lie, I cried during The Muppets. Now this may sound silly, but there were parts that struck such a cord of nostalgia for the past and hope for the future that I couldn’t help myself.

I absolutely cannot recommend this movie highly enough…I seriously want to see this movie again…NOW!!!!

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq5LfuvRBVM

 

 

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