How's the movie?
Remember when the first trailer for Winnie the Pooh hit and everyone went gaga over how deliciously old school it still was? Well, that wasn't just misleading marketing, the movie is exactly the nostalgia-hitting trip down memory lane you want it to be. However, if you don't already have a love for this mischievous, hungry little bear and his gentle friends, I'm not so sure this film will make you a convert. It's a very straightforward, unambitious story that clocks in at 63 minutes, which is a polite way of saying it's actually kind of slow despite being so short.
And yet, Winnie the Pooh is the kind of sweet and innocent movie that you feel bad about not full-on loving. Will it hold a child's attention? Oh, absolutely, no question. Will it be something an adult will watch over and over? Probably not.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% Fresh with Critics, 79% liked by Audiences
Box Office: $33 million worldwide
What are the vitals on the disc?
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Release Date: October 25th, 2011
Edition: Standard Blu-ray Combo Pack
Number of Discs: 2 (1 x BD, 1 x DVD)
Digital Copy: Yes
Runtime: 63 Minutes
Video: 1080p, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
How does it look and sound?
One of the great things about Winnie the Pooh is that it simply doesn't look like other animated movies, unless, of course, that other movie happens to be another Pooh film from decades ago. Sure, it has the same crystal-clear look you can expect from Disney animated films on Blu-ray, but the HD also shows off the subtle and not always flawless lines and stencils of the actual art. Basically, despite it being a completely artificial movie, you can, as with those older animated films, see the human influence everywhere, and that's spectacular.
Sound-wise, there's nothing particularly complex about the mix. There's very little excitement actually going on on the screen, which means there's no need for a complicated surround sound mix. Zooey Deschanel's vocals during the various songs sound lovely and resonant, but, again, by design there's no grand auditory spectacle here to work over your surround system.
What about special features?
There's not a ton here, but what is present is delightful. The are various passive features like the ability to skip straight to songs and then to enable a sing along mode, but as far as the standalone features go:
Winnie the Pooh and His Story Too (9 minutes, HD) - A history on Winnie the Pooh creator A. A. Milne that packs in a lot of information and visual accompaniment into its short run time. Learn what inspired Milne, see pictures of him as a child holding his own Pooh Bear, and hear how he came to be a family fixture over the years.
Bonus Shorts (8 minutes, HD) - The two shorts that preceded the film in theaters are available here as well. Pooh's Balloon is just a cute little misadventure, while The Ballad of Nessie is a bit livelier and is a nice divergence in animated style.
Deleted Scenes (15 minutes, HD) - The directing duo behind the film explain why each of these five scenes were cut before you see them in their most completed state, which is usually rough storyboards synced to recorded dialogue. Almost all of the scenes are said to have been cut for pacing issues, which is hard to imagine given how short the film already is.
Creating the Perfect Winnie the Pooh Nursery (3 minutes, HD) - This is frankly a useless special feature that has two baby planners explaining in incredibly broad terms how you can make a Pooh-themed nursery. It's an interesting idea for a feature, it's just not informative or particularly creative.
If you really like Winnie the Pooh, you're going to like this movie; that's just simple math. However, if you have just a passing interest in this childhood staple, unfortunately there's just not enough meat on this movie's huggable bones to truly satisfy. But maybe that's just a side effect of being treated to a current generation of animated films that are as designed for adults as they are their little ones. It stands out because of how uncompromisingly old school it is, but maybe Winnie the Pooh is just a little too Sunday afternoon to really leave an impact. This is the kind of movie that's impossible to hate, though that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to love it unconditionally.