Written by Bruce Reid Schaefer & Stephen Sustaric
Starring the Voices of Jim Cummings, Laurie Main, and Andre Stojka
- “Covered in Snow” game
- “New Year’s Eve Party Countdown”
- Song Selection
- Sing Along Featurette
- Enchanted Environment
Released by Buena Vista.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: Buy it for the wee ones, if you have them. Otherwise, skip it.
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This feels like two different stories rolled into one hour long (give or take) movie…which, of course, is exactly what it is. It’s cobbled together from the Saturday morning cartoon from a few years back, much the same as the Halloween disc was. The Christmas and New Year’s plot lines exist very nebulously–and the seam between the two is very evident. I will say this, though: the writers involved with this did a better job of incorporating the holiday into their plot than occurred with the aforementioned Frankenpooh. I think it has more to do with the fact that these end of the year holidays lend themselves more readily to the kid-friendly ideal that these videos strive for.
Also, as is the standard these days with direct-to-video fare from Disney, it’s disturbing to see how much mileage the Disney Corporation is trying to pull out of the Pooh franchise. The content on this disc is a far cry from the genius of A. A. Milne. Still, for the little tykes, this is a good holiday story and one that they can enjoy for years to come.
The DVD is designed with the little ones in mind as well, much as expected. The “Covered in Snow” game and the “New Year’s Eve Party Countdown” are both little harmless DVD games that kids can play using the remote control. They’re simple, trivia-based quizzes regarding the film. “Covered in Snow” uses the questions to uncover the characters from piles of snow–with no thought to the little stuffed animals freezing to death, how terrible. The “Countdown” is also a game that involves questions from the New Year’s section of the video. Here, if they score well on the trivia game, they are rewarded with a countdown to the New Year’s Eve party (which ends with a confetti explosion and various party sounds). I know; boring for the adults, but the kiddos will dig it.
There are essentially two different styles of “scene selections” on this DVD, one that allows the kids to start the story from wherever they choose, and another that allows them to do this and turn the DVD player into a karaoke machine for all the songs in the movie. The one part of this DVD that really confused me was the “Enchanted Environment” segment. You have the option to watch it with either music, sound effects, or both. When you click on one of them an almost completely still picture shows up on the screen. There is a fireplace and a Christmas tree, but all it does is play music and the sound of the crackling fire behind it (if you choose both music and sound effects from the menu). I can only guess that this is designed for naptime–or it’s Disney trying to compete with Rhino’s Happy Holiday Hearth. The music is really very soothing–I can’t imagine it being used for anything other than kids crashing out in front of it. It’s definitely not going to keep any child entertained: I could barely watch it for a minute before I got bored and wanted a blankie to curl up with.
Oh yeah, there are couple of “easter eggs” on the main menu. Several of the Christmas presents are “clickable.” When you click on them, you get little snippets of video from other Pooh adventures. I thought this was a nice touch. So, if you’ve got kids, you could do a lot worse than this DVD in your collection. However, if you don’t have kids, it’s really not worth your time.