Winnie the Pooh is the fifth animated theatrical release featuring Christopher Robin and the adorable creatures from the Hundred Acre Wood. The creators of the film used five stories from the original A.A. Milne works as their inspiration for this new tale. Winnie the Pooh is one of my all-time favorite Disney characters and I was hesitantly excited to see the new film. My hopes were that they would be able to recapture the charm and personalities from the early cartoons rather than the disappointment I had experienced from some of the most recent feature films with characters that didn't resonate.
The film starts with Winnie the Pooh on a hunt for honey. While attempting to find a pot of his favorite food, he comes across his friend Eeyore who has lost his tail. Pooh elicits Owl's help to find the tail, and Owl gathers together Rabbit, Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, and little Roo to help. Later on, the group comes to believe that Christopher Robin has been captured by a terrible creature called the Backson which sets the gang on an adventure to rescue him.
The DVD bonus features offers three deleted scenes with an introduction from the directors, the theatrical short "The Ballad of Nessie" tells the story of how the loch ness creature found her home, and "Pooh's Balloon," a classic short with Pooh pretending to be a little rain cloud to trick some bees in order to get some of his beloved honey. "Creating the Perfect Nursery" has to the silliest extra I have ever seen; this is basically a sales pitch on setting up a Pooh nursery.
The Blu-ray disc has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at 1.85:1 and the entire picture is very impressive from the bright colors to the sharp details. The audio comes in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. It's a lightly immersive audio experience with clear dialogue and very good effects. The Blu-ray includes all of the DVD bonus features plus two extra deleted scenes, the featurette "Winnie the Pooh and his Story too" provides a historical look at how the character came into existence, behind-the-scenes information on the film, a sing-along option, and "Disney Song Selection" that allows the viewer to jump to any of the songs from the movie.
Winnie the Pooh is a wonderful return to the classic characters I grew up loving. Pooh has always been my favorite, and they flawlessly capture his sweet and lovable charm. All of the characters are well done and bring back old emotions and fond memories. The only issue I have is Tigger. For me, they have never been able to do him justice since the original cartoons and this is because Paul Winchell has been irreplaceable as the rambunctious character's voice.
This story is geared more towards younger viewers but there are some clever moments for adults as well, if you pay attention. John Cleese is the perfect narrator; his interactions with Pooh being some of my favorite moments. Zooey Deschanel lends her sultry voice to some fun new songs and does a great rendition of the beloved theme song. The credits are imaginatively done to show how a child would create the stories just viewed. You'll want to stay until the very end for a little surprise.
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