Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Review)
November 15, 2013 by Dennis Amith
Our family enjoyed watching “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition” and I can imagine that it’s lighthearted, fun and heartwarming stories will also entertain other families and children as well. For parents who want to share the holidays “Winnie the Pooh” style with their children, “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” is recommended.
TITLE: Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition
FILM RELEASE: 2002
DURATION: 64 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Dolby Digital 2.0, Subtitles: English SDH,
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RATED: G (General Audiences)
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Directed by Gary Katona, Ed Wexler, Jamie Mitchell
Written by Brian Hohlfeld, Ted Henning, Karl Geurs, Mark Zaslove
Story Adaptation by Burny Mattinson, Tony Marino, Ed Gombert, Don Griffith, Alan Young and Alan Dinehart
Produced by Ed Wexler, Gary Katona
Music by Steve Nelson, Thomas Richard Sharp, Mark Watters
Edited by Erik Peterson
Casting by Jamie Thomason
Art Direction by Nicky Chen, Vincent Liu
Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger
Peter Cullen as Eeyore
John Fielder as Piglet
Michael Gough as Gopher
William Green as Christopher Robin
Nikita Hopkins as Roo
Ken Sansom as Rabbit
Kath Soucie as Kanga
Michael York as Narrator
Get ready to ring in the season with a full-length adventure straight from the heart of the Hundred Acre Wood. Join Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Roo and the whole gang in Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – now on Blu-ray™ and Digital Copy for the first time. Newly re-mastered in digital high definition, this sparkling holiday classic is an inspiring celebration of friendship.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but Rabbit will only discover the true spirit of the season after his pals make misguided New Year’s resolutions to change – with hilarious and heartfelt results! Featuring beloved characters, delightful songs and fun-filled bonus goodies, this special “Gift Of Friendship Edition” is sure to become a shared family tradition for generations to come.
For many people, “Winnie the Pooh”was part of their childhood.
Created by A.A. Milne and stories first collected as far back as 1926, it wasn’t until the 1960’s when Winnie the Pooh was licensed by Walt Disney Productions and since then, there have been films and television series featuring Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Gopher, Owl, Christopher Robbin and friends.
And there are two Winnie the Pooh Christmas films that a few people from the ’90s and early 2000’s have grown up with and that’s “Winnie the Pooh – Seasons of Giving” (1999) and “Winnie the Pooh – A Very Merry Pooh Year” (2002) which is actually film looking back at the events that took place in the 1991 Christmas television special “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too”.
While the former was re-released on DVD in 2009, “A Very Merry Pooh Year” will be released on Blu-ray titled “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition” courtesy of Disney on Nov. 2013.
“Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” is an animated film that begins with Winnie the Pooh having friends over on Christmas Eve but before the gathering, he must hide the present that he got for Piglet. Pooh manages to hide the present in one of the empty honey jars that he has in his storage.
As the group talks about what they are hoping to get from Santa, the group reminisces of time when they nearly didn’t get Christmas presents. As Roo asks what happened, the friends begin to discuss the past (which begins footage from “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too”).
Two days before Christmas, Christopher Robin writes a letter to Santa Claus of what people in Hundred Acre Wood wants for Christmas. And as Christopher mails the letter via letting the wind carry it out to Santa Claus, Piglet reminds Pooh that they forgot to tell Christopher Robin of what they wanted for Christmas.
So, Pooh and Piglet try to get the letter back, so they can write what they want for Christmas. But as the two are successful in obtaining the letter, when they mail it out, the letter flies back into the home of Pooh and they realize that Santa will not get the letter and those in Hundred Acre Wood will not get what they wanted for Christmas.
Sadden by what has happen, Pooh doesn’t want anyone to have a ruined Christmas, so he dresses up as Santa Claus and tries to give his friends a gift.
The storyline then goes back to the present and as everyone celebrates Christmas, Pooh remembers that he hid Piglet’s present. The problem is…he forgot where he stored it.
Will Pooh find Piglet’s present before Christmas ends?
“Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition. There are two things I must emphasize about this Blu-ray release. While the more recent footage is from 2002, the older footage from the 1991 “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too” is also featured and there are two types of animation techniques that were used. So, the picture quality will be inconsistent.
First, let me discuss the positive. For those who want a more colorful, sharper and not as grainy version of “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year”, then the Blu-ray will surely satisfy you. Now the negative, if you are a person who is against use of Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), then you will be disappointed to know that the grain has been removed from this film. While not as overused as “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (which was released on the same day as this Blu-ray release), the presentation will seem too clean for a videophile’s taste without the grain and it is a little soft.
But with that being said, I believe that the majority of the people purchasing this Blu-ray are parents who want to share a Winnie the Pooh and friends Christmas film on Blu-ray with their children and are not going to be as picky as videophiles.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear and while the audio is in lossless stereo, it is a slight step up from the previous DVD release.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH.
“Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” comes with the following special features:
- Sing Along with the Movie – Sing to various songs featured in the film.
- Disney’s Song Selection – Sing along to the following songs: “Winnie the Pooh,” “Trimming the Tree with Jingle Bells,” “Snow Snows,” “Jingle Bells in the Snow,” “Happy Pooh Year,” “Hunny, No Not for Me,” “One Last Round of Jingle Bells” and “Auld Lang Syne.” Sing-along lyrics are optional.
- Enchanted Environment – A holiday screensaver which you can select with music and/or sound effects.
- Disney Intermission – When you press pause during “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” features fun family games and activities.
“Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition” comes with a Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy of the short and a slipcover. Also, included are letters for Santa which comes with an pen, envelope, two cards and a sticker.
Just in time for the holidays, “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition” will no doubt entertain parents and their children.
Within our family, “Winnie the Pooh” has been a holiday ritual and the entire “Winnie the Pooh” franchise has been a long part of my life as the teddy bear I owned is Winnie-the-Pooh, my wife also grown up with the series and when we had our first child, he was also raised watching “Winnie the Pooh” for the holidays.
I know that there are fellow reviewers who may come down hard on this Blu-ray release because of the use of DNR but I’m approaching my review of this Blu-ray more on the side of a parent and sharing with other parents who may be interested in purchasing this Blu-ray for their children or the entire family for the holiday season.
The fact is that “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” features two stories in one. The 1991 Christmas special of “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too” is incorporated to “Winnie the Pooh: A very Merry Pooh Year” and because one is from 1991 and the other footage is from 2002, there is a difference in animation quality.
But for children, they are not going to balk about the differences of animation. If anything, this is a lighthearted Christmas story that is worth sharing with the family and something to keep the children occupied with during the holidays.
I do like the fact that this Blu-ray release comes with the pen, envelope, stickers and two cards for Santa. The Disney intermission is definitely a nice touch, along with the sing-along but it would have been nice if Disney gave the same treatment to “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year”, as they had done wit the 10th anniversary of the “Winnie the Pooh – Seasons of Giving: 10th Anniversary” from 2009, which came with a stocking and special features included episodes from “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and was wonderfully priced, as opposed to this Blu-ray release with a little over an hour’s worth of content and may be a bit pricey for some parents.
Overall, our family enjoyed watching “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – Gift of Friendship Edition” and I can imagine that it’s lighthearted, fun and heartwarming stories will also entertain other families and children as well. For parents who want to share the holidays “Winnie the Pooh” style with their children, “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” is recommended.
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