Winnie the Pooh weaves together a few simple stories. For starters, Pooh has a rumbly tummy but is fresh out of honey. He'd ask his friends if he could borrow some, but...well, it's kind of a hectic day in the Hundred Acre Wood. Eeyore's tail has gone missing, and everyone bands together to find him a brand new one to take its place. It's just that they're fresh out of tails, so they each try plugging on different things to see what'd be a good fit. Christopher Robin joins in on that fun, but not all that long afterwards, he vanishes! A mysterious note left behind makes it sound like it could be the sinister handiwork of the Backson. Pooh and his pals cobble together a scheme to rescue Christopher Robin, but -- oops! -- they wind up getting caught in their own trap.
I'm bursting at the seams over how much I love, love, love this movie. Winnie the Pooh is far and away my favorite animated film of the year. Its gentle yet witty sense of humor left me
Honestly, I can't think of a movie I've seen this year -- animated or live-action! -- that I adore anywhere near as much as Winnie the Pooh. It so brilliantly captures the magic, wonder, and heart of a classic Disney film that it feels as if I've been flung back in time. Winnie the Pooh isn't just a kids' movie; it's a family film in the truest sense of the word, so warm and funny that it plays beautifully if you're two or eighty-two. Very, very Highly Recommended.
Geez, I can't get over just how gorgeous Winnie the Pooh looks in high definition. The animation is spectacularly crisp and well-defined, boasting very fine linework that takes full advantage of the resolution and clarity that Blu-ray has at its fingertips. You could say this for just about everything with Winnie the Pooh's visual style too, but its beautifully saturated colors look like something straight out of a storybook. Because this is a direct digital transfer, there aren't any flecks of dust or grit to get in the way, and no filtering or awkward processing crept in during the authoring of the disc either. Even with as short as Winnie the Pooh is, Disney has given the movie plenty of space to lounge around on this Blu-ray disc, so there aren't any hiccups in the compression either. It's perfect.
If you're curious how this high definition presentation of Winnie the Pooh stacks up next to the DVD, I snapped a few comparison shots. Click on any of these thumbnails to pop them open to full-size:
Winnie the Pooh and its extras span both layers of this BD-50 disc. The movie is presented without any matting on Blu-ray to reveal an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and the video has been encoded with AVC. The DVD in the set is in anamorphic widescreen.
Boasting a six-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, Winnie the Pooh sounds just about as terrific on Blu-ray as it looks too. The voice acting behind Pooh and his friends is rendered with crystal clarity, and every line of that dialogue is balanced flawlessly in the mix. There are a few scattered sound effects that grab hold of the subwoofer, like a stomping Backson and a crash of lightning, along with Eeyore's bassy drone. Buzzing bees and hunny hallucinations are among a couple of the effects that fill the surround channels. For the most part, though, the rears and the LFE are reserved for reinforcing Winnie the Pooh's infectiously bouncy soundtrack. Along with an orchestral score by Henry Jackman, there are also a bunch of songs performed by She & Him's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Sweet, gentle, buoyant, and timeless, the music couldn't be more of a perfect fit for Winnie the Pooh.
Also included are Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in French and Spanish as well as a Descriptive Video Service track. Subtitles are offered in English (SDH), French, and Spanish. The technical specs on the DVD are similar, only swapping out the lossless soundtrack in favor of Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
A few of the extras are exclusive to Blu-ray:
The rest of the extras can be found on both the DVD and the Blu-ray disc.
There are a few different releases of Winnie the Pooh floating around on DVD and Blu-ray. There's a single disc DVD set, for one. The version reviewed here is a DVD and Blu-ray combo pack, packaged in a standard size DVD case with an embossed slipcover. Finally, there's a three-disc set in a smaller Blu-ray case, featuring a DVD, a Blu-ray disc, and a digital copy. The Blu-ray disc is region-free, but it looks like the DVD is coded to region 1.
Tucked inside the case is a "Pin the Tail on Eeyore" game.
The Final Word
Winnie the Pooh is exactly what a family movie ought to be. The talented folks who've brought Pooh and his friends back to the big screen didn't hire a small army of distractingly famous faces to field the voice work, they didn't dumb down its sense of humor to be more modern and edgy, and they didn't do anything gimmicky like try to shove these characters out of the Hundred Acre Wood and into the dingy streets of Manhattan or whatever. No, this revival instead grabs hold of everything that's always been so endearing about Pooh and just does it better than it's ever been done before. Winnie the Pooh is cute, gentle, clever, and charming: a movie I'd cheerfully watch with my youngest relatives or enjoy by myself. Propelled by gorgeous hand-drawn animation, a wonderful sense of humor, and some infectiously bouncy music, Winnie the Pooh is in the running as my favorite movie of the year, period. Highly Recommended.
Discounts and Deals
Disney has a $5 off coupon for the 3-disc Blu-ray combo pack.