Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – The Gift of Friendship Edition (Blu-ray Review)

pooh bdGet 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.



One of the most loved movies in Disney’s history is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which really set the benchmark for interesting characters and charming story-lines for the studio.  The movie was so popular that set off a trend for baby products that is still going strong today.  I  always thought that it was strange that they never followed up with a sequel but they eventually did as they later released a wave of direct to video sequels of varying quality.  They seemed to be timed with holidays as there was an Easter one and of course this Christmas as well as movies that focus on one particular character like Tigger or Piglet.  For this release, Disney combined their “Christmas special Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too” with a new short called “Happy Pooh Year” to create this new film.

The film begins with Winnie the Pooh getting ready for Christmas and trying to find a good hiding place for his present for his best friend Piglet.  After trying many different locations, Pooh finally finds a spot just before all of his friends from the Hundred Acre Woods arrive.  It’s not long before the friends reminisce about earlier Christmases and they begin to tell Roo and Kanga about one particular one that they weren’t present for.  During that one, the friends make up a Christmas list for Santa with each of them adding gift ideas for each other.  When Pooh forgets to add his own requests to the list, he chases their letter down and adds those and more to it.

When Pooh throws the letter into the wind for delivery, he sends it southward by mistake instead of towards the North Pole to Santa.  Realizing his error, Pooh believes that it’s too late to get the letter to Santa so he dresses up like Santa and tries to deliver his own made up versions of what his friends requested, but all of his home made toys and items break down immediately because he is a silly old bear.  When his friends chase him down and accuse him of being a fake Santa, Pooh tells them everything and declares that he will walk their letter to the North Pole himself.  At first his friends are happy with his plan to deliver the letter until they realize that they would rather have Pooh with them at Christmas instead of presents.  This segment comes from “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too,” which teaches kids to value friendship over material items.

The friends also recount a time during New Year’s where Rabbit got so irritated with his friends that he decided to move away from all of them.  Rabbit is tired of Pooh always eating honey, Tigger’s bouncing, Piglet’s fearful personality, and Eeyore’s depressing outlook on life.  To keep Rabbit from leaving, the friends agree to make resolutions to change their behavior which ends up inadvertently changing their personalities.  In fact, they end up swapping personalities and start acting like each other.  For example, when Eeyore starts to eat honey, he becomes cheerful and even starts to wear a shirt like Pooh Bear’s.  Since Rabbit didn’t like this kind of behavior from the start, he really dislikes it when the others start adopting these traits.  Rabbit is touched that each of his friends tried to change just to make him happy but he realizes that it wasn’t fair to ask them to change who they were.

Overall, this was an enjoyable movie to watch but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  I’m glad that Disney is trying to do something with these characters but I think it’s a lot harder to pull of than they thought it would be.  It helps that Carly Simon contributes some songs to the film as her voice lends itself well to these kind of characters.  In any case, it’s good to see the denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood again even if it’s not quite as good as the original Disney effort.



This 1080p (1.33:1) transfer isn’t one of Disney’s better efforts as it looks little better than the film’s previous DVD release. Not that the original looked that great anyway as the film was animated by DisneyToon Studios which handled the studio’s television animated fare so the quality isn’t up to the usual Disney standard.  The two parts of this release also represent varying degrees of quality as the more recent “Christmas Too” looks better than the earlier “Happy Pooh Year” parts.  As a whole, this transfer is acceptable but it doesn’t measure up to the usual Disney standard.



Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year’s Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is just as lacking as the film’s video quality.  Although the dialogue, sound effects, and music are clear, they lack power and fail to utilize all of the channels.  I’m sure part of that is due its origin as a television special, but no effort has been spent on upgrading and remastering this for Blu-ray.



The extras on here are good for Christmas time but they don’t really have anything to do with the film itself.  If you want to get in the Christmas mood you might enjoy the songs and screensaver.

  • Disney’s Song Selection – A collection of songs that includes: “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.” You can also play the film with on-screen lyrics to sing along with if you choose to.
  • Enchanted Environment – A holiday themed screensaver with optional music and sound effects.
  • Disney Intermission – If you pause the movie at any point, you will get to play games and other interactive activities which is a cool feature.
  • Digital Copy of the Film



Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year may not be anywhere as good as the original The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but it has a good message for kids and it’s nice to see the characters return.  It’s too bad that the video and audio quality isn’t better and that the extras don’t really have anything to do with the film but at least they are festive.

Order your copy today! 



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