Written by Hombre Divertido
The special edition is due to hit shelves today, but it does not appear that Disney has added much to make this release significantly more “special” than the 2004 release. The six-year evolution has resulted in the addition of another episode from the television series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1989), and six Valentine cards (three designs, two copies each) to “A Valentine for You,” “Un-Valentine Day,” “Three Little Piglets,” and the game “Catch the Love Bug,” which were all included in the 2004 release.
“A Valentine for You” tells the unusual tale of Pooh and his friends in search of a “smitten,” or a love bug, in order to cure Christopher Robin of his first crush. The tale is unusual in its lack of a sensible story. The transitions which send our friends on their search make little sense, as do the turn of events once the smitten is captured. Though the very young may enjoy the tale like a shiny new toy, parents may find that said toy will not keep the young ones entertained long.
“Un-Valentine’s Day” makes far more sense from a pure storytelling perspective, and has more energy than “A Valentine for You.” It should garner more attention from both the young and old.
“Three Little Piglets” starts abruptly, and is a cute telling of the classic tale, but seems incomplete as an episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
New to DVD is “My Hero.” Like “Three Little Piglets” this story is far from new and has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. In “My Hero” Piglet inadvertently falls in a small pond where Tigger is floundering. Tigger believes that Piglet has saved his life, and vows to become his servant. Sound familiar? Yeah, it would be hard to find a sitcom of the sixties or seventies that did not play out that same scenario. Nonetheless, the episode is fun, and highlights the vocal talents of John Fiedler who has been the voice of Piglet for more than forty years.
The “Catch the Love Bug” game is far too basic for the technology of today, and even would have been simple six years ago, as one is asked to move the jar utilizing the arrow keys on the remote, and then press “Enter” when the jar is over the bug. Even the youngest of children will eventually figure out that it is not necessary to move the jar as the bug follows the same course every time and will fly under the jar.
The vocal talents in this release are generally excellent primarily due to the inclusion of not only Feider, but also the legendary Paul Winchell as Tigger in all the stories. Jim Cummings who has been providing the voice of Pooh for over twenty years has taken over the voice of Tigger for the last ten years. Owl is voiced by Andre Stojka in “A Valentine for You” and Hal Smith in the other stories. Smith has been providing the voice of Owl since 1968 and has more of a worldly energy to his voice than that of Stojka. All the stories tend to lack input from Eeyore (Peter Cullen) whose mundane delivery pleasantly counters the exuberance of the other characters when we do get to see and hear him.
The menu on the DVD is awkward, and may be difficult for children to find what they want.
Recommendation: There simply may not be enough material here to warrant the purchase, and certainly not enough new material for those who own the previous release. If it’s on sale, it’s hard to go wrong with anything from the Hundred Acre Wood.