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Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie - animated DVD / Disney DVD / Winnie the Pooh DVD review
POOH'S HEFFALUMP HALLOWEEN MOVIE Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Featuring: Jimmy Bennett, Kyle Stanger, Jim Cummings, John Fiedler, Ken Sansom, Peter Cullen
Directors: Saul Blinkoff, Elliot M. Bour Distributor: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 01 September 2009 Feature runtime: 66 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Closed captioned, Trick or Re-Treat, Pass the Pumpkin, Pooh's Boo! Bingo, Heffalump Halloween Party Planner, Party printables (DVD-ROM), Limited edition Pooh dressed as Tigger plush

Since Pooh's Heffalump Movie laid the myth of Heffalump villainy to rest, Winnie the Pooh and Co. have come to accept Lumpy, the little elephantine Heffalump, as just another familiar face in the 100 Acre Wood. He and Kanga's son, Roo, are inseparable friends.

It's Lumpy's first Halloween, and he's not sure what to expect. While the others fill him in, Rabbit is busily micro-managing trick-or-treating - candy kept under lock and key, the buddy system, premapped routes, timelines, even trying later to foist vegetables on the others as alternative Halloween handouts when Pooh and his rumbly tummy put a dent in the shiny plans by accidentally eating all the gathered Halloween candy.

Tigger takes the lead introducing holiday details with his typical skewed ebullience. He scares the wits out of Lumpy with his campishly frightening tales of spookables, the dread Gobloon, and its lair in the Tree of Terror. Legend has it that if the Gobloon catches you, he'll turn you into a Jaggedy Lantern - but if you catch him first, you will be granted one wish. The young Heffalump is finally able to come out from hiding even though he's still scared; as long as he and Roo are together, they can "weather whatever comes along."

The youngsters dress up like pirates to go on a Gobloon hunt, hoping to capture the creature and wish for more candy to save trick-or-treating. Things get a little too intense for sensitive Lumpy, so Roo bucks him up with the story of a past Halloween when Piglet overcame the timidity that had always kept him from enjoying Halloween with his friends. Bolstered by Piglet's courage, Lumpy manages to get back to help laying the trap to capture the Gobloon in the Tree of Terror. A thunderstorm moves in, a shadowy figure looms in a flash of lightning behind a wheelbarrow full of Jaggedy Lanterns, and a terrified Roo flees. Thinking that Roo has been captured and remembering their vow to be "brave together," Lumpy carries out an act of terrific bravery to rescue his friend but ends up trapped in the Tree of Terror himself.

Roo discovers a Jaggedy Lantern made in Lumpy's likeness and believes that the Gobloon has captured and transformed his Heffalump pal. Roo vows never to leave Lumpy again. He finds the other trick-or-treaters, and they rush to save their little friend. Knowing that Roo returned for him gives Lumpy the boost he needs to break out, and the reunited friends enjoy what may be the best 100 Acre Wood Halloween yet.

Its message of the power of true friendship to hold through thick and thin makes Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie something more than a once-a-year-only story. Tigger and the whistle-toothed Gopher tend to steal every scene in which they appear - hardly surprising, given the former's manic ebullience and the latter's costuming frustrations - and offer brief periodic respite from a mood that might otherwise be too scary, too cutesy, or too cloying.

The Pooh franchise seems to grow blander with each new contemporary installment to my grown-up mind (nostalgic note: this is the last film to feature John Fiedler, who originated the role, as the voice of Piglet), but my children don't seem to have a problem with it. They pop this one into the player once a month or so year-round. To its credit, the soft, two dimensions of traditional animation and the familiar characters are as comfortable - and comforting - as an old fuzzy bathrobe.

Nothing new has been added to the original DVD bonus features, which include some Halloween party planning ideas and a few sluggish games. If you don't have a copy of the 2005 release already but do have diehard little Pooh fans, it's worth buying this limited edition package for the irresistibly cute Pooh-in-a-Tigger-costume plush that comes with it.
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reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing
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