Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #51: The Backson

winnie the pooh backson

Sigh…

I REALLY REALLY was not looking forward to re-watching “Winnie the Pooh” for two reasons! The first reason was, as I’ve talked about in other posts, I REALLY don’t like this movie! And the second reason was that I had so much trouble picking a forgotten/minor character for “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, and now I’d have to go through all that trouble again. I mean, who’s forgotten/minor in the “Winnie the Pooh” franchise?! UGH!!! Moving on…

Released in 2011, the 51st film in the Disney Canon (although other countries don’t count this one) wasn’t a financial success in the theaters. Then again, the budget was really small, so I’m sure that it made its money again on DVD purchases and/or rentals.

The film features our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood who incorrectly assume that their friend Christopher Robin has been kidnapped by a monster called the Backson. How do they incorrectly assume this? Christopher Robin leaves them a note saying that he’ll be “back soon” and Owl incorrectly reads it as “Backson”!

We can't even attribute Owl's misreading to Christopher Robin's misspelling since "back soon" are one of the only words spelled correctly.
We can’t even attribute Owl’s misreading to Christopher Robin’s misspelling since “back soon” are one of the only words spelled correctly.

So they set a trap to capture the Backson and save Christopher Robin all while searching for a new tail for Eeyore after he’s lost his. That’s the entire plot right there.

"That's it?!"
“That’s it?!”

That’s it! Now you see the main reason why I dislike this film is that the whole story of the characters incorrectly thinking that Christopher Robin has been kidnapped due to an incorrect reading by Owl HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE IN “POOH’S GRAND ADVENTURE: THE SEARCH FOR CHRISTOPHER ROBIN”!

Oh, wonderful gem of a film! You are a treasure gravely forgotten, but never at my house! One day you'll receive the recognition that you deserve...be patient, dear film!
Oh, wonderful gem of a film! You are a treasure gravely forgotten, but never at my house! One day you’ll receive the recognition that you deserve…be patient, dear film!

I mean, it’s pretty darn similar! The difference is that in “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin”, Christopher Robin’s note says that he’s gone to “”school”, and Owl misreads it as he’s been taken to a place called “Skull” by a monster called the “Skullasaurus”. Actually in both films after misreading the letter, Owl sings about it! I mean, in this movie, he sings “The Backson” describing the monster as he goes along,

and in “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin”, he sings about Skull and the dangers getting there.

It just seems like such a rip-off!

So you may be wondering, if the whole movie is about the characters searching for the Backson, then why do I consider the Backson a MINOR character or a FORGOTTEN character?

"Yeah, why?"
“Yeah, why?”

Well, firstly, because he’s definitely less memorable than our friends of the Hundred Acre Wood.

And secondly, because the Backson only appears in the movie in a POST-CREDITS SCENE! And if you’re like me, you take the movie off once the end credits come on and don’t bother waiting for post-credits scenes, so I’m sure that many people didn’t even get to this part in the movie and that qualifies him as forgotten/minor in my book!

"And what book is that exactly?"
“And what book is that exactly?”

Here’s to the Backson!

"Oh...umm...thanks, but I'm a bit busy to accept the award now. But don't go away, I'll be back soon! Hmm...back soon...hey, it sounds like my name!"
“Oh…umm…thanks, but I’m a bit busy to accept the award now. But don’t go away, I’ll be back soon! Hmm…back soon…hey, that sounds like my name!”

27 thoughts on “Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #51: The Backson”

  1. I have the VHS tape of Pooh’s Grand Adventure. I used to watch it a lot when I was younger. But it never came to my attention that these two films practically had the same story. I watched this film in theaters. So. I’d usually be very nostalgic when watching films like these, but this one didn’t make me so excited.

  2. I never got around to watch this movie. Great article as usual and that is one of the things that bother me about this franchise; there is not much for them to do. I also think it was not smar releasing this in theatres because they made so many different films for them, so why did this one need to be released in theatres.

    What are you gonna do after this? Do a Forgotten Characters DreamWorks or something?

    1. Well, maybe I’ll do a Forgotten/Minor Characters list for Pixar films or Blue Sky, etc. (I’m not doing Dreamworks, because I haven’t and don’t plan to watch “The Prince of Egypt” and I don’t think it’d be right to just skip it). But even if I do that, it won’t be for a while.

      I’ll like to spend time on my new blog as well as putting more “My Thoughts” and more “Top 13” lists on this blog.

      1. It is understandable. I should do more list and non-reviews myself, just talking about my opinion. I jut posted my review of Bee Movie and I rip it apart like no other. It is great you are expanding your horizons.

  3. I’ve actually never seen Winnie the Pooh, but will have when I get there on my Disney Canon series. I do, however, remember watching Pooh’s Great Adventure as a child. I always wondered if it held up, I take it you would say it does?

      1. I will happily skip, unless I have some serious housecleaning to do. Then I might Netflix it and put it in while I clean. That’s how I made it through The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

  4. Everything in this movie is designed for little children under 5. Its tone, its length, its simplicity, its music. Maybe it’s just not made for you?
    I actually think of it as an underrated movie which not enough people saw so I guess we see it differently. I liked the music and for a movie made for little kids (even the original Many Adventures was a little scary for very small one’s). I like it. It certainly is a lot easier to sit through than Barney or Tellatubbies.
    Oh well.

      1. But it wasn’t made for you! That’s my point. It was made for toddlers who need a sweet simple movie that is short, with music they can sing and without much scares. The movie you mentioned in the post looks to scary for toddlers. To me it is well within the studio’s right to take a property and retool it for little children.

      2. Yeah, but all the other ‘Winnie the Pooh’ movies and TV shows and episodes were made for toddlers as well. So, I feel I still can say that this movie is bad whilst all the other ‘Pooh’ franchises are great films and TV shows!

      3. I dont think that is true. I’d say they were made for 5 and up but anyway just something to keep in mind. Sometimes movies are made for a small demographic and I think that’s ok.

      4. There are a lot of movies that I admit are not made for me. It doesn’t mean they are bad or shouldn’t be made. Wolf of Wall Street for instance I’ve heard is a great film but it was not made for a Mormon girl who doesn’t want to hear 508 swears in a movie. That’s ok. Different audience. Not all movies need to apply to everyone and I can appreciate a movie that is trying so hard to appeal to toddlers but still make something of quality.

  5. I’m inclined to believe that the story similarities between this WINNIE THE POOH and POOH’S GRAND ADVENTURE are purely coincidental. I’ve read A.A. Milne’s original Pooh books enough times to tell that the filmmakers simply took two (or three) different stories (one of them being “Rabbit Has a Busy Day, and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings,” from THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER, and the other(s) following how Piglet and Pooh dug a Heffalump trap) and combined them in a way that just seemed to make the most sense. POOH’S GRAND ADVENTURE, on the other hand, was a completely original story, with no basis in the preexisting stories.

    At any rate, I greatly appreciate this film as a reintroduction to our old buddies in the Hundred Acre Wood, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that there are a couple of elements that don’t really bode well with me:

    1. Of all of Kanga’s voice actors, Kath Soucie best replicates the qualities found in the original performance by Barbara Luddy; Kristen Anderson-Lopez, on the other hand, doesn’t, so hearing her voice among the likes of Travis Oates as Piglet, Tom Kenny as Rabbit, Bud Luckey as Eeyore, and Jim Cummings as Pooh Bear and Tigger seems rather jarring. (Craig Ferguson manages to pull off Owl very naturally, by contrast.)

    2. The Lopezes’ new songs (and Zooey Deschanel’s “So Long”) are not particularly memorable or singable (though “It’s Gonna be Great” is very funny), and just don’t hold up well against the Sherman Brothers’ classic tunes.

    2a. Still talking about the songs, Deschanel’s rendition of the title song is tolerable, but it doesn’t possess the whimsical, nostalgic qualities of the original performance by the Walt Disney Chorus. (If anything, I would have preferred that they recycled the earlier rendition in this film.)

  6. The Backson was definitely the only character you could pick for this, though. Since no one but the main characters ever seem to appear in these.

      1. I want to start by saying that I really don’t agree with your complaints about the Pooh’s Grand Adventure similarities,
        for 3 reasons:
        1) As Briskin stated, the Backson/Back soon confusion storyline here is taken directly from a chapter of The House at Pooh Corner, which you can read here: http://winniethepooh_uk.tripod.com/poohbear/id15.html
        What he doesn’t seem to realize is that Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997) was clearly borrowing from that story, as well. What’s more, the storyline with Eeyore losing his tail and Pooh finding it being used as a bellpull by Owl isn’t original, either. I remember reading it in a Disney tie-in book as a child long before this movie came out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been used in a Disney featurette or TV episode/special before, either.
        2) It really is incredibly silly to complain about Disney ripping themselves off. Furthermore, even if they had, it’s not without precedent. The Flintstone Christmas Carol (1977), for instance, rips its plot full-sale from the Christmas Flintstone episode of the TV show, and several later Three Stooges shorts and Bewitched episodes are flat-out remakes of earlier ones.
        3) The story is obviously the last thing this film is interested in. I mean, let’s face it, there are 3 real conflicts here. The first one is that the characters are trying to save someone from a monster that does not exist (or so it appears) but get stuck in a hole, even though one of them can fly out and does so only to fly back in so this can be comically un-acknowledged. Add in the fact that the other two conflicts are Pooh not being able to find honey and Eeyore losing his tail and it becomes obvious this film is nothing but an excuse to spend time with the characters in this innocent world again. So why over-analyze it?

        That said, I do have a few criticisms:
        – The animation sucks and was clearly done by people who did not have much experience with hand-drawn animation.
        – The casting of Craig Ferguson as Owl and Tom Kenny as Rabbit are incredibly distracting and inappropriate. In Kenny’s case, this is because he makes no attempt not to sound like SpongeBob SquarePants, and in Ferguson’s, it is because he is clearly a well-known celebrity imitating a classic character rather than simply personifying said character. Unlike others I don’t mind Bud Luckey as Eeyore, because Luckey is an animation legend and Peter Cullen was busy with other work. But there really is no excuse for not bringing back Andre Stojka and Ken Sansom, especially since Sansom died the following year and this would have been a great final role (just as Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie was for John Fiedler).
        – A lot of the comedy does feel too aggressive and inappropriate for Winnie the Pooh. I don’t even mind the “send the pig” line since Wyatt Hall really does sell the innocent delivery. I’m thinking of some of Rabbit’s dialogue and the scene with Pooh bashing the beehive with a stick while Piglet is inside. Also some of the “childhood innocence” humor seems a bit too forced and artificial. Occasionally it feels like they’re imitating the original characters. For instance I don’t think Piglet would really be stupid enough to cut up the rope, and there’s nothing here as convincingly childlike while clever for the adults who understand as the “Trespassers Will” sign or the “lived under the name of Sanders” joke.

        That said, it does convincingly re-create the tone of the original Winnie the Pooh stories, and I still have to admire it for its purity and simplicity. It feels completely non-commercial, which is probably why it barely made back its budget and the studio was only willing to pay for about an hour of animation. It’s just impressive how unlike the last DisneyToon films there really is no special hook for this. It’s not a special movie for Tigger or Piglet, or a heffalump, or a heffalump Halloween movie. It’s just plain Winnie the Pooh again, nothing more and nothing less. I’ll never be able to appreciate it completely, given that I am not 3 or 4 as I was when I watched the original Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but those who were, are, and will be, will I am sure, eat it up just as happily. It really is completely un-pretentious and un-ambitious. But of course that wasn’t enough to interest audiences and so we have the sad swan song for traditional animation at Disney. May it rest in peace.

      2. Thank you for the comment and you make a lot of good points. I guess I’m still gonna always compare it to Pooh’s Grand Adventure and feel bad that Disney ripped off one of its direct-to-video films for a theatrical film even though both take from the same story. I think that’s still always gonna bother me.

        I do agree with you with the casting of Craig Ferguson and Tom Kenny and that the comedy can feel non-Winnie-the-Pooh-ish. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film so I can’t remember much of the details of the comedy.

      3. You do have one really legitimate criticism. In the original story, Christopher Robin actually did misspell “back soon” as “backson”, so the confusion made more sense. Also the characters didn’t think the “backson” was a threat to Christopher Robin there, so the filmmakers clearly did take that element from Pooh’s Grand Adventure.

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