Review: Winnie the Pooh Blu-ray/DVD

Winnie the Pooh Blu-ray/DVD boxSTUDIO: Walt Disney Studios | DIRECTORS: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall | CAST: Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, John Cleese, Bud Luckey, Travis Oates
RELEASE DATE: 10/25/2011 | PRICE: 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo (with digital copy) $44.99, 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack $39.99, DVD $29.99
BONUSES: sing-along, short films, deleted scenes, featurette
SPECS: G | 63 min. | Animated children’s | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Winnie the Pooh is as sweet and darling as ever in Disney’s 2011 movie.

Inspired by three stories from A. A. Milne‘s children’s books, the animated film stays true to the roots of the franchise — literally. The movie is told through a storybook, with the characters interacting with the letters in the book as well as the reader. It’s a wonderful touch.

Winnie the PoohIn the movie, Christopher Robin gives Pooh, Owl and the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood the task of finding Eeyore’s lost tail. Meanwhile, the gang believes their beloved Christopher Robin has been kidnapped by the horrible monster Bakson, so Tigger is on its trail. And throughout, Pooh has an even more important duty: To get some honey for his tummy. Awwww.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a Pooh fan since I was a kid, and now that I’m older, that hasn’t changed. But as a true fan of the series, I’m thrilled with this updated version.

Even more awesome is that the fabulous voice artist Jim Cummings, who has voiced Winnie the Pooh since 1988, is back as the titular golden bear and comical Tigger. (Quick aside here, I saw Cummings at Comic-Con a few years ago, and when he did Pooh’s voice live, I got goosebumps. I can’t even remember what the Comic-Con event was for, but I remember Cummings doing Pooh!)

John Cleese’s (Planet 51) warm voice is great as the narrator, late show host Craig Ferguson is fun as Owl and newcomer Jack Boulter does a very good Christopher Robin.

The only voice letdown for me is Bud Luckey as Eeyore. His voice is deep and sorrowful, but, although Luckey was great in the Pixar short Boundin’, he’s just not Eeyore.

The best of the special features in the Blu-ray/DVD set is the featurette “Winnie the Pooh and His Story Too.” Continuing the charm of the film, the featurette delves into the history of the character, the origin of his adorable name and even shows a picture of the real Christopher Robin. It won’t be anything new for older fans, but it’s a good introduction for the new generation.

Five deleted scenes are offered. They’re not fully finalized animation, but they’re good to watch, especially the full “Tummy Song.”

There are two short films: “Pooh’s Balloon,” a mini Winnie adventure, and my favorite “The Ballad of Nessie,” about how the Loch Ness monster found her home.

The songs in the movie aren’t as timeless as other family films, such as The Lion King or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but the youngest viewers will enjoy them and can join in with a sing-along with or without the movie.

Disney has been getting more commercial with its special features lately, for example the LEGO shorts on the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Blu-ray. On this disc, Disney shows its marketing side with a featurette on how to decorate a nursery with Winnie the Pooh as the theme.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.