The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Friendship Edition – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Directors:
Wolfgang Reitherman and John Lounsbery

Writer:
Larry Clemmons based on the books by A.A. Milne

Voice Cast:
Sterling Holloway ………. Winnie the Pooh
Sebastian Cabot ………. The Narrator
Junius Matthws ………. Rabbit
Joh Fiedler ………. Piglet
Jon Walmsely ………. Christopher Robin (Honey Tree and Blustery Day)
Timothy Turner ………. Christopher Robin (Tigger Too!)
Ralph Wright ………. Eeyore
Hal Smith ………. Owl
Paul Winchell ………. Tigger
Howard Morris ………. Gopher
Clint Howard ………. Roo (Honey Tree and Blustery Day)
Dori Whitaker ………. Roo (Tigger Too!)
Barbara Luddy ………. Kanga
Jimmy MacDonald ………. The Bees

The Movie:
I’m sure you’ve heard of Winnie the Pooh, or at the very least seen some sort of product featuring the bear. A.A. Milne wrote stories inspired by a black bear named Winnipeg for his son Christopher Robin. Those stories proved to be very popular, and more so when Walt Disney created featurettes based on the characters.

This DVD contains the 1977 full length feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which itself was a compilation of 3 featurettes:

Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), where Pooh is hungry, but he’s out of honey, and ends up getting stuck in Rabbit’s front door (hole).

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968, Oscar winner), where Pooh and Piglet go out on a blustery day, and later encounter a new arrival to the Hundred Acre Wood, Tigger.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! (1974), where Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit and Tigger get lost in the forest.

“New” to the feature were bridging sequences designed to link the three shorts together, but I think that whether you watch the movie in it’s entirety or individually, you’ll still come away smiling.

The featurettes are digitally remastered, and the quality shows through, especially when compared to the unmastered bonus featurette which I’ll discuss later.

The animation, of course, is excellent. I think that if you compare the remastered versions to some of the stuff you see today, you’d be surprised at how it holds up and betters the animation. But of course, this IS Disney, and we pretty much expect quality animation from them, so I can’t say as I’m surprised.

To me, part of the appeal of Pooh and friends is that they are simple characters who aren’t trying to be more than they are. They’re designed to appeal to young kids (although I think that adults will enjoy it too), and when my daughter is born I’ll have no qualms about showing her these films. There’s adventure, song and comedy, all of which I believe that she’ll enjoy. If your friends bring over their kids, don’t be ashamed to possess this DVD and throw it on to keep them occupied. You’ll play this at least 20 times… one more won’t hurt you. Maybe.

Of course, another reason for the appeal is the nostalgia factor. I can’t deny that I enjoyed watching the shorts when they came on TV, and I’d wager that many of you did as well. Which is just another reason to put your hard-earned cash down and acquire The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The DVD:
Video:
(Presented in 1.33:1 Fullscreen Format)
The box tells me that this was the “Original Theatrical Aspect Ratio”, so I have to take their word for it. As I mentioned, the movie has been digitally remastered, and it shows. The colours are crisp with minimal artifacting or blurriness to be seen. Unfortunately this treatment was not extended to the bonus featurette, and definitely you can immediately notice the difference between the two.

Audio:
(Dolby Digital 5.1 with French and Spanish tracks)
For some reason, I expected more from the sound, but most of the sound came from the centre speaker. The side speakers only seemed to be in play for things not involving the main feature. Curious.

Special Features:
Bonus Featurette: Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore
Pooh decides to throw Eeyore a party on his birthday. Notice the faded colours and blurring in this film.

The Story Behind the Masterpiece
A Making-Of Featurette. Nothing special.

The 100 Acre Wood Challenge
An interactive game that’s obviously designed for kids. It should keep them entertained, but I’ll wager that you’ll be playing with them, if only to protect your DVD’s remote.

“The Winnie the Pooh Theme Song” Performance by Carly Simon – Carly sings, and you get to see clips of Pooh.

My Friends Tigger & Pooh – “Rabbit’s Ruta-Awakening”
Three-Dimensional Pooh. This is a “fourth wall” adventure which has Tigger and Pooh as “Super Sleuths” investigating the disappearance of Rabbit’s Rutabegas. The characters talk at you every once in a while, which is designed to get the kids involved. A little too simple for me, but again, designed for kids.

Disney Storytime, “Pooh’s Shadow”
A “read-along” story, right on your television!

Pooh’s Pop Up Fun Facts
Watch the movie with pop-up facts.

Sing-Along Song “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers”
There’s something wonderful about Tiggers? I think the title says all you need to know here.

Art Gallery

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Friendship Edition
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

9
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

5
THE EXTRAS

9
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)