Everyone’s favorite stuffed bear is back where he belongs in Winnie the Pooh, as Disney returns one of the most beloved characters ever to his traditionally animated roots. The film may not have broken records during its theatrical release, but don’t let that stop you from adding this wonderful Blu-ray edition of Disney’s 51st animated feature, as there’s endless charm and whimsical adventure the whole family is sure to love. A. A. Milne’s stories have thrilled generations of fans with Pooh’s childlike behavior and eternal goodness, and apart from the inspired casting of John Cleese as the narrator and Craig Ferguson as Owl, there’s nothing here that even references the present, which is probably the best way to present our beloved bear and friends Rabbit, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Tigger, and Christopher Robin.
This new film presents three of Milne’s classic stories that have thrilled generations of fans, rendered beautifully with a mix of hand-drawn (traditional) and light computer-assisted animation. The result is a film that’s nothing short of magical, as my fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi can attest after the theatrical version dazzled him back in July. Here’s a snippet of what he said back then, and be sure to check out his full review right HERE:
“The greatest thing about this movie – and indeed, with any incarnation of the story – is the harmlessness with which it’s told. On the one hand, we have a boy, who, even in the realm of animation, will almost certainly grow up someday. On the other hand, we have his make-believe friends, who have forever been imprinted with his youthful sense of imagination and innocence. Little touches, like misspelled words and backwards letters written in childish scrawls, prove this to be true. In this world, “honey” will forever be “hunny,” and if that bothers you, perhaps you should consider a long and fulfilling career as a grammar teacher. Winnie the Pooh is terrific family entertainment – a film that will give young ones colorful characters to relate to and not-so-young ones permission to reminisce about an easier, simpler time.”
Rarely have I’ve seen Disney animation look as crisp and clean as it does on Pooh’s honeypot of a Blu-ray. Every line and bit of color comes shining through flawlessly, as every detail is clearly defined here. The sound is just as lovely, as the 5.1 DTS-HD audio captures every piece of dialogue, crash of thunder, and the buzz of bees guarding their honey from Pooh with perfect clarity.
The special features presented here are just as sweet as the honey Pooh craves, as they kick off with “Winnie the Pooh and His Story Too”, which goes behind the scenes of the film, along with giving a nice retrospective on Pooh’s history with Disney since the 60’s. There’s the “Disney Song Selection” that allows you to skip to any of the six songs featured on the movie, complete with an option to make Christopher Robin’s red balloon float over the lyrics to help you sing along. Also featured are fifteen minutes of deleted scenes, and a cute feature called “Creating the Perfect Winnie the Pooh Nursery”, in which a couple of baby planners show viewers how to make the perfect Pooh themed nursery.
Rounding out the features are two shorts, “The Ballad of Nessie” which was shown before the film during its theatrical run, follows an animated nursery rhyme about the infamous Loch Ness monster Nessie and her struggle to find a new home when her old one becomes a golf resort. And “Pooh’s Balloon” follows Pooh hanging onto an ever rising balloon while searching for honey. Both of these shorts are well done and compliment the film nicely.
With childlike innocence and endless charm, Winnie the Pooh is a magical return for one of the world’s most beloved and cherished characters, and one of the year’s best animated features. Disney’s 51st animated film comes home in this stunning Blu-ray edition, which not only presents a timeless tales of eternal friendship and fun adventure in high-definition perfection, but adds several new special features like great documentary retrospectives that detail the bear’s considerable history with Disney, animated shorts, and even a helping hand to create the perfect Pooh Bear nursery. If you weren’t lucky enough to experience Pooh’s return this summer and there’s been a nagging rumbly in your tumbly for something sweet and pure, then be sure to make some room on your Blu-ray shelf for an old friend.
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