Seeming like a straight-to-video release, "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" actually scored a theatrical release earlier this year, winding up with $18m at the box office. The result seems like a direct-to-video release, only blessed with more attention to detail in the animation.
The story is fairly minimal, but will likely keep the attention of the little ones: there is a disturbance in the Hundred Acre Wood, which the gang determines is caused by a mysterious, possibly dangerous creature called a Heffalump. Young Roo (voiced by Nikita Hopkins), curious about the creature and wanting to seem more grown-up, goes out to search on his own, while Piglet (John Fieldler), Tigger (Jim Cummings), Pooh (Jim Cummings), Rabbit (Ken Sansom) and Eeyore (Peter Cullen) search on their own.
Roo eventually stumbles into the path of Lumpy, the "heffalump" (read: elephant) creature that the gang has been looking for. Roo "captures" Lumpy, and the two have adventures throughout the day, including a bit of damage to Rabbit's garden. Eventually, Roo realizes that it's not right to keep the creature captured, and takes off the leash that he's had on Lumpy. Meanwhile, the gang thinks that, given the damage, the heffalump has been through, and they set up traps. Meanwhile, Roo and Lumpy have trouble locating Lumpy's mom.
"Pooh's Heffalump Movie" doesn't deliver any surprises, but it is a cute little feature that delivers some nice messages (not keeping animals caged, not judging something by what others say) in a way that doesn't feel forced. The voice acting is also good,and I thought the animation was rather enjoyable for this kind of basic children's fare. Overall, despite certainly not being in the target audience for this kind of film, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. It'd definitely be a nice movie for parents and younger children to watch together.
VIDEO: "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" is presented by Disney in approximately 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation offered perfectly fine image quality, with only a few minor faults. The animation generally appeared crisp and detailed, with only a couple of shots looking slightly softer than the rest. No pixelation was spotted during the show, but a little bit of edge enhancement was occasionally present. As one might expect with a relatively new release, the print looked crisp and clear, with no faults. Colors appeared bright and vivid, with nice saturation and no concerns.
SOUND: "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" is presented by Disney in Dolby Digital 5.1. Not surprisingly, the film's sound mix was quite restrained, with only occasional, fairly minor use of the surrounds and only a minor spread across the front soundstage. Dialogue and the occasional music are certainly the focus, as the picture certainly isn't heavy on the sound effects. Dialogue remained crisp and clean, and while music didn't sound dynamic, it seemed well-recorded and clear.
EXTRAS: Not a whole lot: we get a "sing-along" section, an interactive game and a short featurette about the Heffalump character. There's also previews for other Disney titles and some basic DVD-ROM features.
Final Thoughts: "Pooh's Huffalump Movie" isn't anything groundbreaking, but it's a nice, inoffensive little feature that tells a sweet, well-intentioned tale. "Heffalump" manages to offer kids some nice messages without seeming forced or sappy. Disney's DVD doesn't offer much in the way of supplements, but audio/video quality is fine. Recommended.