Thanks to a quick response to my film-of-the-month selection in the Disney Movie Club, I was able to view The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh prior to its release date today.
My history with Winnie the Pooh is a long one, I suspect the case is the same with many Disney aficionados. For me this was a no-brainer upgrade because, in spite of my varied interests in film, Disney films are high up there. Owing to my affection for this film it was an automatic. The DVD was one of the first handfuls I had and watched several times over even in college. I do have thoughts on its worthiness for different levels of collectors/consumers below.
Program and Features
So far as the feature film goes when one has seen it as many times as I have it’s more a process of rediscovery, or being reminded of something rather than reprocessing and reanalyzing. Having re-viewed the documentary I was reminded of the conscientious effort in creating the backgrounds, and perhaps the reason – even at an early age- these films struck me so was the atmosphere was the reality, the wholly envisioned place that the Hundred Acre Wood is. Such that, even knowing nothing of how A.A. Milne came to create these tales it felt real. What the the stories did to augment that feeling was add every sort of weather imaginable to add depth to said atmosphere.
The transfer, as best I can tell, is the suspected upgrade you’d expect when going from a DVD to a Blu-ray.
The features, while there are a few new wrinkles, are where I wanted a bit more, but take that with a grain of salt as my perception is skewed from loving these stories and characters so.
What it does offer in terms of features are as follows:
Disney Intermission takes the cake as the debut innovation to the viewing process. I did hit pause and tried this out. The Pooh stories can feel timeless, and with this option they come even closer to feeling so, as kids can take breaks and play games in the Pooh Play-Along set in the Hundred Acre Wood. The games will seemingly go on as long as your attention allow and feature things like “I Spy” style games and Find the Differences.
I have not tried to assemble and use it yet but the Blu-Ray/DVD bundle does feature a kite. Sure, it’s branded, but at least it’s a somewhat proactive approach to trying to get kids to play outside as opposed to just paying lip service (and a fitting tie-in considering the story).
The five Mini-Adventures of Winnie the Pooh shorts are quasi-new. Some of them are refashioned as opposed spliced out of other new-age Winnie the Pooh films. I’ll admit to irrational Fanboy hatred of these films until I actually tried to watch some and have mostly liked them a lot especially Winnie the Pooh. Viewing these optimistically they may not just as advertisement, but maybe a sign of intent to prolong the series even with recent cuts in the hand-drawn division.
This edition, in a rather uninspired way, decides to label the re-used features as Classic DVD bonuses, selecting that option you can view the wonderful documentary The Story Behind the Masterpiece and another classic A Day for Eeyore.
Last but not least, there’s a music video of Carly Simon (Newly-recruited to sing the theme song). It’s a standard series of singles spliced with film footage, but a decent bonus.
So, while most of the features, new and old are good, although some were a bit lacking. Where does that leave this disc? I don’t usually get into consumer advocacy but with a home video review it’s a bit more implied:
If you like the film but don’t have it at home, especially if you have kids: it’s a must.
If it’s an upgrade, and you’re not an avid Disney collector: I’d wait some or comparison shop.
Regardless, it’s great that this film’s turn has come around and I was very glad to see it get this treatment such that it may continue on, and do hope to see more from the series in the future.