The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh Blu-ray Review (Mania.com)
By:Robert T. Trate
Review Date: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Having just recently turned two years old in 1977, The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh would have been an ideal film for me. If only we had the technology and screening opportunities that we do now. My parents needed their night off and probably wouldn’t have taken a two year old to see The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh anyway. No, instead, my Dad took me to the likes of Star Wars. There was no Pooh bear in my childhood.
In all the video stores and rental places that I have ever worked in, The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh constantly came into my hands. I never felt the need or desire to watch it. After all, it was children’s tale told from a story book with characters that literally walked through the pages. When Disney announced that its classic was coming to Blu-ray for the first time, I knew I wanted to see it. How would I now react to this classic tale? I know who Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet are. I even know that the voice of Pooh, Sterling Halloway, is also the voice of Disney’s Cheshire Cat in 1951’s Alice in Wonderland. Can an adult enjoy Winnie The Pooh without a child present? This was something I had to find out.
The Blu-ray is spectacular. Much in the vein of Disney’s recent release of The Muppet Movie (see Mania’s review here), it is full of supplemental content. The menu alone will keep kids interested and when you pause the film, Pooh and friends continue to entertain you. The transfer is amazing and allows the audience to see every line drawn for Pooh’s eye brows and Piglet’s scarf. The wonder, here, is why traditional 2D animation doesn’t continue. This film from 1977 transferred to Blu-ray is a perfect argument as to why 2D is better than the digital 3D nightmare.
In the story, itself, we find Pooh in the constant search for honey. His adventures take him up a tree, get him stuck in Rabbit’s house, and eventually he meets a Tigger (Paul Winnchell). As an adult, I found a sweetness and wonder to this talking bear discovering the solutions to so many of his problems. These are perfect stories for children who have those adventures with their teddy bears in the confines of their backyard. However, what kept me from loving the film was my adult cynicism.
It may say strange, but I found Winnie the Pooh to be a fat lazy character and a bit of a mooch. Tigger wasn’t a bully per se, but he is that friend that doesn't know that his rough-housing hurts. So when Rabbit (Junius Matthews) decides to teach him a lesson, I thought it was about time. Other questions started to come up like how did Kanga (Barbara Luddy) and Roo (Clint Howard) come to live in the 100 Acre Woods? Where was Roo’s father? Was Owl (Hal Smith) real? He was the only one without stitchings. I then realized that perhaps I had gone too far. Right there as I was about to right off The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, Christopher Robbin and Pooh journey to “The Enchanted Place” to discuss Christopher Robbin growing up. Christopher talks about missing Pooh and the joys of “doing nothing” and how telling people he was doing nothing and actually doing it was the best time in his life. It made me miss those days where my imagination was my best friend and the backyard was any place I wanted it to be. That part of the story was clearly for the adults that needed to remember that these stories, though simple and childish, still are building blocks for the men and women we will become. A powerful message told to me by stuffed bear that only wants to eat honey.
Disney fans will love this period of animation and appreciate all the other great character actors in The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. It was great to hear Sebastian Cabot narrate the film. For me, he will forever be Sir Ector from Disney's The Sword in the Stone (1963). Discovering that legendary character actor, Clint Howard, was Roo was another shock. However, John Fielder as Piglet was also a true treat. This classic character actor had been in everything from 12 Angry Man (1957) to The Twilight Zone (2 episodes) and played Piglet until his passing in 2005!
NEW! Disney Intermission - Press “pause” during the movie and find out what happens! The narrator invites younger viewers to play along with the Hundred Acre Wood friends in a variety of engaging activities.
NEW! Pooh Play-Along – In this bonus feature, the narrator invites viewers to play along with Pooh and his friends.
NEW! 5 “Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” Shorts: “If I Wasn’t So Small,” “Piglet’s Drawings,” “The Expedition,” “Geniuses” & “The Honey Song”
LEGACY “A Day for Eeyore” – Classic Animated Short
LEGACY “The Story Behind the Masterpiece” – Making of Featurette
LEGACY “The Winnie the Pooh Theme Song” – Performed by Carly Simon
Robert Trate writes three columns a month for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.
Mania Grade: A
Starring (Voices): Sterling Halloway, Sebastian Cabot, Junius Matthews, Howard Morris, John Fielder, Ralph Wright. Hal Smith, Clint Howard, Paul Winchell, Barbara Luddy
Written By: A.A. Milne (books), Larry Clemmons (story)
Directed By: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman
Distributor: Walt Disney
Run Time: 77 Minutes
Original Year of Release: 1977
Special Features: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, See Below