Pooh's Heffalump Movieby Kevin Krock, staff writer
For me, Winnie the Pooh is one of those Disney franchises that just won't go away fast enough, but for my children as well as many of you, Pooh is still an ageless, silly ol' bear. I do not mind watching the original theatrical movie on DVD every once in a while when the mood strikes my children, and I have even been known to sit through a few minutes of The Tigger Movie with my boys. I just tend to avoid the majority of other Pooh-related television shows and DVDs. So, it was with rather obvious cynicism that I popped Pooh's Heffalump Movie into my DVD player.
I had read our review (link) of the movie when it was released in the theaters back in February of this year, so I knew what I was getting myself into and kept my expectations rather low. After watching it with my young boys, my opinion of the movie does not vary much from Alex's, and my boys seemed to enjoy about the first 15 minutes and then rather rapidly lost interest. Additionally, the look of the movie and the animation is very similar to that of The Tigger Movie, so at least the characters and backgrounds maintain the same look and feel as the classic Pooh shorts and movie, even if they are rather simple and flat.
Briefly, Pooh's Heffalump Movie opens with a quiet day in the Hundred Acre Wood being broken by a strange sound from deep in the forest. Pooh and the gang decide that the only thing that could make a sound like that is an evil, horrible Heffalump, and they set out to capture it. Along the way, Roo gets separated and runs smack into a young Heffalump named Lumpy, a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived! Bones of fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty big pointy teeth. Oops, sorry, wrong cute, cuddly movie animal.
Anyway, Roo has been told that Heffalumps are different and, therefore, bad, and he quickly learns that Lumpy has been told the same about Roo and the other creatures in the Wood. The two set aside their differences and strike up a great friendship, but that then gets tested when the rest of the gang catches up with Roo and tries to save him from Lumpy. In the end they all learn a lesson that being different is not bad, just different.
There are a few goodies on the disc, but none of them were particularly interesting to me as a parent. As youngsters, my two boys found only one of them appealing enough to request a couple of days after going through the disc the first time. It is a pretty weak, forgettable collection, but it is not too much different from many of Disney's DVDs targeted primarily at young children.
The set-top game is the only think my boys enjoyed, and while they have played it a couple of times, they seem to have solved the puzzles enough that they have grown bored of it. The song selections are nothing more than the standard Disney Sing-Along songs, where the lyrics are displayed on the screen while the movie scene is played. Finally, there is a short featurette where the filmmakers introduce Lumpy to viewers, but it is nothing to clamor about.
The Audio, Video, and Interface
For a recent Disney theatrical release, there are no surprises with the audio and video transfers. The video will look good on just about any screen, as the colors are saturated and solid, and the video is clean, detailed, and free of any major visual distractions. The audio is equally acceptable on just about any home theater system, but besides an occasional surround or directional effect, there is not much to really wow either you or your children. Finally, the interface is fit for its intended use, but not particularly spectacular or different from many of Disney's recent DVDs.
The Final Evaluation
If you must have all things Pooh or are a fan of the movie, then this disc will be a perfectly acceptable addition to your collection, assuming you find it for a good price. However, for most folks, this disc is just not solid enough to warrant purchasing. Oh, and as for the impending follow-up title, Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie, Alex can relax and put away his Reporter's Notebook and No-Doze, because it is coming straight to DVD in mid-September. Hmmm, maybe it will be the perfect time to spread the joy of PoohKeep your eyes on your mailbox Stephanie Wien. You're welcome.
Following up Wave 1 from a few months ago, Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites, Wave 2 is about to hit the shelves. This wave, much like the first (link), features three separate discs of Disney classics grouped together by a general theme. This time around, Mickey and friends appear in classic animated shorts covering sports, music, and outdoor adventures. As I mentioned in my last review, each of these discs contain fun and memorable animated shorts that everyone in the family will enjoy. Sure, some will be more interesting to some than others, but the range of shorts should satisfy just about everyone.
VOLUME 5 - EXTREME SPORTS FUN
VOLUME 6 - EXTREME MUSIC FUN
VOLUME 7 - EXTREME ADVENTURE FUN
Well, quite simply, there are no goodies on any of these discs. If you want bonus material associated with some of these classics, you will have to look for the Walt Disney Treasures collections.
The Audio, Video, and Interface
Nothing much here either. The video, audio, and interface are all acceptable, but there is nothing particularly impressive. The audio is a simple monophonic transfer, and the video, while generally quite good for the age of these animated shorts, does occasionally show quite a bit of dust noise. The positive side to the discs is that the quality of the content offsets much of the minor presentation defects.
The Final Evaluation
If you enjoyed any of the first wave discs, then you'll want to take a look at these discs, too. They are good for those quick Disney animation fixes or for those times you want or need to put some quality viewing material on the TV to keep your children preoccupied. The presentation is ok, and the content is varied enough to provide something for everyone. However, the brevity of the discs and lack of any kind of bonus material only makes them a "nice to have," particularly if you do not already have these shorts on a Treasures set.