Coming to Disney DVD and BluRay on October 25th
Come one, come all! There’s a very important thing to do! It’s time to enjoy the delightful characters from The Hundred Acre Wood once again as Disney proudly invites families and audiences of all ages to reunite with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore, and an all new (albeit imaginary) character called the Backson!
After many years of direct-to-video offerings, we finally have our favorite tubby cubby back on the big screen! At first, I was dubious about Disney’s newest foray with A. A. Milne’s famous yellow bear, but it took only the first few minutes of the film to convince me that this was a very special effort.
Animated in Disney’s classic style, it features top-notch voice talents like John Cleese as the Narrator, Jim Cummings doubling as Pooh and Tigger, and a surprise stand-out performance by TV’s Craig Ferguson. Another casting coup was the voice of Bud Luckey (from Toy Story 3) as everyone’s favorite manic depressive, Eeyore.
Eeyore has lost his tail and it’s up to Pooh and friends to find him a new one. After trying and failing with many inappropriate substitutes, the gang is interrupted by a message from Christopher Robin. The movie really takes off as Owl misreads the note and sends everyone on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit, the Backson!
And during all of this, all poor Pooh wants to do is stop for a little smackerel of hunny. Oh bother!
About the Music
Another thing I was leery of going into this movie was the music, or more to the point, the songs. The classic songs of the original Winnie the Pooh featurettes were written by the Sherman Brothers, which makes them hard to beat. And to live up too! But again, I needn’t of worried.
The musical score was created by Tony Award-winning songwriter Bobby Lopez with his wife Kristen. Together they wrote six of the main songs, all of which pay homage to the originals while adding something new. They have worked for Disney before, writing, among other projects, the stage version of ‘Finding Nemo’.
Henry Jackman reworked the original score featuring a special rendition of the beloved ‘Winnie the Pooh’ theme song. It was sung by actress, musician, singer and songwriter, Zooey Deschanel, who also provides the vocals for ‘A Very Important Thing to Do’ and ‘So Long’.
I couldn’t wait for the movie release to hear this great music again, so I immediately bought the soundtrack the day after I left the theater. I highly recommend that you pick it up too!
Bonus shorts include ‘Mini-Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Balloon’ and ‘The Ballad of Nessie’. The first one is a condensed re-issue of one of the original featurettes, so there is really nothing new or exciting there. The second is the Short that preceded the theatrical release of the movie. If you liked it then, you’ll like it again. Or, if you’re like me and didn’t find it overly amusing, you’ll watch it because it’s an extra and then move on.
‘Winnie the Pooh and His Story Too’ was an excellent featurette depicting the history of A. A. Milne’s famous bear. Apart from learning some new things, you’ll enjoy more narration from John Cleese, and his bantering with a certain bear of little brain who keeps interrupting.
Deleted scenes aren’t always as entertaining as they could be, but on this release, they are golden! Some pivotal scenes in the movie were longer, and the extra bits really were funny. Don’t miss this part of the Extras!
The ‘Sing-Along with the Movie’ and ‘Disney Song Selection’ are the same thing. The first lets you follow the bouncing balloon during the playing of the movie as you sing along, and the second lets you just play the song clips… and sing along.
Considering how much to-do Disney has made about the storage capacity of the BluRay disc format, I would have liked to have seen more Extras on this release. But what we do get is good.
According to Rotten Tomatoes.com (as of 9/9/2011) Winnie the Pooh is the most critically-acclaimed animated film of 2011. And I would have to say that that title is well deserved. My wife had to drag me the theater to see it, but I left humming the songs with a big smile on my face!
Watching the film again has been a magical experience, and one that I will certainly enjoy again and again. So I guess you could say that it certainly lives up to it’s pooh-tential!
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