In the last few years, Disney has experimented with it’s return to the traditional animated roots that it helped to create, with The Princess and the Frog and Tangled already putting the company in a great start as they both managed to exceed their budgets in the US domestic box office.
Winnie the Pooh is the studio’s latest input and is unfortunately at a bad end as it didn’t even reach it’s budget in America (despite worldwide gross just managing to beat it) and due to the length being only sixty minutes long, the film was only released on DVD and couldn’t get a Blu-Ray release. Therefore, this will be a review on the DVD version of the film and it is a pleasant tribute to the traditional films in the series that has a lack of bonus features to make the DVD worth picking up for its retail price of just ten pounds.
Directed by Stephen J. Anderson (who previously directed Meet the Robinsons) and Don Hall (who also worked on Meet the Robinsons as the screenwriter), the film uses the same character design and hand-drawn animation that fans would appreciate, while newcomers could easily like the way the film was made. Even starting with the characters as real toys in a bedroom staged to look like Christopher Robin’s room, with a book opening up and going into an animated sequence with a song by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.
After it’s introduction, the film starts with Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) looking for honey in the One Hundred Acre Wood and bumps into Eeyore (Bud Luckey), who has lost his tail and it’s not long till Owl (Craig Ferguson) decides to hold a competition to find a new replacement tail.
The next day sees Pooh visiting Christopher Robin (Jack Boulter) and finds a note. Not being able to understand it, he takes it to Owl’s house and misreads it to say that a monster named the Backson has taken Christopher and so Pooh, Owl, Eeyore, Tigger (Jim Cummings), Rabbit (Tom Kenny), Piglet (Travis Oates), Kanga (Kristen Anderson-Lopez) and Roo (Wyatt Dean Hall) set out to try and find the monster. However, Pooh’s appetite for honey gets in the way on the hunt.
It’s the small touches that helps to make this film charming and lovely to watch, with the way each character does their own unique facial expressions to some of John Cleese’s narration to the music that Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have done that are the highlights from the soundtrack.
As for the bonus features, it is unfortunately disappointing as we are only treated to some deleted scenes from storyboards and before the film was colored with introductions from the two directors.
The short film screened before Winnie the Pooh at cinemas, The Ballad of Nessie, is also featured among the bonus features and is one of the best short films that I have seen for sometime, using the same traditional animation that Disney used in their older films and with some nice narration from Billy Connolly.
This lack of content won’t be an issue for most people thinking of purchasing it, but this may be for the DVD collectors who always admire the extras featured alongside the film.
The overall result of the DVD itself is worth the ten pound price at most of the retailers, but anymore and it might not be worth the purchase due to the lack of the bonus features and a film that most people might seem as being very short.
But nonetheless, it’s still a charming, little film that could easily be one of the most pleasant animated films this year!