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The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (The Friendship Edition) - animated DVD review
THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH (THE FRIENDSHIP EDITION) rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Sterling Holloway, Sebastian Cabot, John Fiedler, Paul Winchell
Directors: John Lounsbery & Wolfgang Reitherman   Studio: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 19 June 2007   Runtime: 74 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Special Edition, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), "My Friends Tigger & Pooh" bonus episode, "A Day for Eeyore" animated short, The Story Behind the Masterpiece featurette, The 100 Acre Wood Challenge game, "The Winnie the Pooh Theme Song" performed by Carly Simon, "Pooh's Shadow" Disney storyline, Pooh's Pop-Up fun facts, Winnie-the-Pooh art gallery, "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" sing-along song

Oh, I'd forgotten! I'd forgotten how wonderful Winnie the Pooh could be! It's been at least 20 years since I last saw this film on the Wide World of Disney. I'd actually forgotten that Pooh and the others (save Christopher Robin) were stuffed animals! The animators knew this, though, and they played with it as excellent animators are wont. Pooh rips open a seam along his rump and reaches back to pull some threads and tighten things up. Tigger seems to be loosely stuffed, so that his skin wears like a loose sweater. They all flop about wonderfully as well-loved stuffed toys should. The characters actually bounce across the pages of A.A. Milne's classic book, at times even using paragraphs as footing.

Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Gopher, Kanga, and little Roo are all here cavorting about in three classic tales originally released separately; "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," and "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too." Each character is imbued with his own particular personality. Pooh (voiced by Sterling Holloway) is... well, mostly hungry or about to be, but kind-hearted if small-brained. Owl (Hal Smith) is long-winded to a fault. Eeyore (Ralph Wright) seems a bit down, but he perseveres despite the odds. Tigger (Paul Winchell) has an indomitable spirit none could dampen. The voice work is often understated and brilliantly so. Pooh at times is very quiet when he talks to himself, and the performance suggests he's not playing to an audience. This is traditional animation at the height of the art form.

This classic cartoon shall remain in my collection forever, and I hope my children will one day look back on it with as much affection as I do now. While there doesn't seem to be much fanfare about this release, there should be. The Disney Vault has more gold hidden inside than is widely known.

Check out the special features for "The Story Behind the Masterpiece" making-of featurette. You won't be sorry.
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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