Archer's never been a movie fan. Long narratives that require an understanding about why people are acting as they are and what they are feeling -- not exactly his thing. But we took him to see Cars 2 earlier this summer in the hopes that there would be enough racing to keep him from getting board while the rest of us enjoyed the story. And based on his enjoyment of the trailer for Disney's new Winnie the Pooh traditional-animation feature (which had a meta-textual element using the book pages and words), as well as the movie's short running time (69 minutes), we decided to go see it as a family, too, and hope that Archer could find something to engage him.
Did he ever. The animated book illustrations and playful interaction with the text tickled him pink. And during the rapid-fire verbal farce about whether Piglet could tie knots (Piglet: "I cannot"; Owl: "So you can knot"), he was in hysterics, confiding to me afterwards, "I was laughing so hard I almost threw up."
Of course Cady Gray loved it all, as did her parents; the movie has a handmade feel that combines the gentleness of the books, the classic imaginative touches of the original Disney Pooh featurettes, and a dash of contemporary zip. But every time some comic misunderstanding or bit of narration-related fourth-wall-breaking happened, I glanced at Archer and saw a huge grin on his face. With the right sense of humor and self-awareness about its formal qualities -- whether cinematic or literary -- a story can hook him, and keep him enthralled.