On a fairly regular basis, Disney releases (or re-releases) to DVD classic episodes, or specials, of various animated television series. Whether the quality of the content is good or not is, of course, variable and depends, to some extent, on one’s tastes. With their latest release, Winnie the Pooh: A Valentine for You (Special Edition), while the story is certainly enjoyable enough, there is an issue in the DVD transfer itself, making the entire experience a rather disheartening affair for adults in the audience.
As for the content of the DVD, A Valentine for You contains the television special of that name that originally aired in 1999 as well as a two episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, “Un-Valentine’s Day” and “My Hero.” The first of these is considered part of the main feature (as it continues the Valentine’s theme), and runs approximately a half-hour (minus commercials), and the second is considered a bonus feature and one-half of what would have been a half-hour episode. The one other special feature included on the release is a brief game where one can try and catch bugs in a jar – as the bugs seem to fly in the same pattern every time it is only momentarily enjoyable.
The main story, “A Valentine for You,” is finds the Hundred Acre Wood creatures worried about Christopher Robin, whom they fear has been infected by the dreaded “smitten,” one of the many varieties of love bug. In true Pooh-logic, the only thing that can fix Christopher Robin is the bite of another smitten, whom they set out to catch.
It is a not overly memorable episode within the lives of Pooh and his friend, but not without some interesting potential issues. For instance, the creatures are all a little surprised that Christopher could possibly be in love with a girl, and are, in fact, not terribly sure about the differences between girls and boys. While that may be a perfectly understandable issue for them to face, their reasons for not heading down to Kanga’s house and asking the female kangaroo are never made clear (neither Kanga nor Roo appear in the episode). Applying logic, however, to the goings-on in the Hundred Acre Wood often leaves one scratching their head, so this issue, perhaps can be forgiven – it is entirely possible that none of the animals ever stopped to consider if perhaps Kanga could provide an answer to their questions. The episode is lively enough, funny enough, and features enough singing and foolishness so as to make the visit with Pooh an enjoyable one.
The second main episode, ‘Un-Valentine’s Day,” is also fun. The story revolves around the animals boycotting valentines due to some excess in previous years only to hand them out anyway. In true Pooh fashion, the valentines start getting passed around to one and all due to an ever-expanding series of accidents, but it all works out well enough in the end as everyone seems to realize that they truly do like getting valentines.
The look of the episode is drastically from the previous one. It is an older episode and certainly looks it, while it doesn’t appear quite as clean as one might like, there is nothing there to detract from one’s viewing of it, as there is in the first story. During “A Valentine for You,” on a regular basis when a character turns, walks, or shifts in any way, the movement causes the character to devolve around the edges into what appears to be some very bad pixelation. The picture on the right is an example of the issue (click for larger image). While the double-image around his mouth is a by-product of freeze-framing a moving image, the jagged lines/pixelation on his arm are not, they are the problem in question. As it has occurred for this reviewer on more than one copy of the DVD using more than one television and DVD player, the incident is not due to a single faulty disc or player. The issue is not one that crops up all the time, but it happens regularly and is disturbing enough that it makes it difficult to recommend the release. Young members of the audience — for whom the title is mainly geared — probably will not mind, but adults will and may not consider the purchase money well spent.