The denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood have another holiday to celebrate in Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo, a 2004 made-for-home video feature that’s surprisingly entertaining. No, the animation isn’t comparable with the work in the original theatrical shorts, but there are some nifty songs, the story has some teeth, and the characters’ wry way of teaching lessons while entertaining the younger members of the family continues unabashed.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 1 Hr. 5 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copykeep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 03/11/2014
Roo (Jimmy Bennett) is very excited to be participating in his second Easter celebration and is looking forward to the Easter egg hunt which was the highlight of his Easter the previous year. But when Roo and his pals arrive at Rabbit’s (Ken Sansom) house, they’re surprised that he’s organized a day of spring cleaning with no mention of Easter at all. When Tigger (Jim Cummings) and the others discover the Easter decorations high on a shelf in the closet and try to surprise Rabbit with their own Easter celebration, he throws them out and has nothing more to do with them. It’s up to the disappointed Roo and Tigger to find out why Rabbit is no longer interested in Easter and to change matters if they can.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Tom Rogers’ script concentrates in this installment on Roo and Rabbit, two characters who are often more in the background of the Pooh adventures, and so there is a feeling of freshness about this feature than with some of the others especially since there is a long flashback in the middle of the film handled quite entertainingly. The lessons about concern for others rather than yourself and pitching in to make each day memorable are delightfully presented, and the songs from John Kavanaugh and Randy Rogel and Grant Geissman are tuneful and apt for the characters. Roo’s “We’re Hunting Eggs Today” has the best melody, and Tigger gets a couple of good songs including the film’s big, colorful production number “Easter Day” which fairly pulls out all the stops for a made-for-home video release. There are also some slick transitions from one scene to another that show a sophistication not expected in this kind of lower budgeted production.
Jim Cummings does the voices for both Pooh and Tigger in this, and while he can get close to the eccentric vocal prowess of the original voice actors Sterling Holloway and Paul Winchell, neither is ever quite right. The young ones at home won’t likely notice the difference or care, but older folk who have precious memories of the original shorts will undoubtedly sense the changes in cadence. The always wonderful John Fiedler returns as Piglet, and Peter Cullen intones Eeyore’s sad sack pronouncements in expert fashion. Ken Sansom gets overly feisty as Rabbit on occasion (better to teach the lessons the story is going for), and Jimmy Bennett is a sweet and innocent Roo. David Ogden Stiers serves as the narrator here (with some surprising shades of Sebastian Cabot’s original narrative diction), and his part is bigger than usual and quite charming when he intrudes on the action and interacts with the characters.
The film is presented in the 1.78:1 widescreen television aspect ratio and in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. Colors remain true to the Pooh palette of deep pastels with an occasional burst of bright color, and sharpness is superb throughout. There are no problems with line aliasing or banding with this transfer, and there are no age-related artifacts to spoil the image quality either. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is unusually sophisticated for a made-for-home video release with excellent surround activity using ambient sounds, music (the background score is by Mark Watters), and directionalized dialogue in all available channels. The music for the songs has been generously spread through the fronts and rears and makes for a nicely enveloping sonic experience for the entire family.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Get Up and Dance! (1:58, HD): four youngsters do a creatively and imaginatively staged and presented dance routine to Rabbit’s rap number “That’s the Way It’s Done.”
Special Features Rating: 1.5/5
Promo Trailers (HD): Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition, Muppets Most Wanted, Frozen, The Fairy Pirate.
Tigger Mobile: a simple kit inside the case which allows a mobile to be constructed using Tigger’s bouncy tail.
Digital Copy: code enclosed in the case
The enjoyable made-for-home video feature Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo comes to Blu-ray in a sparkling high definition edition but lacking bonus features about its creation that such an imaginative production actually deserves.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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