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Jim Cummings, Laurie Main, Andrew Stojka
Rated G.

Standard 1.33:1
English Dolby Surround

Runtime: 62 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 8/27/2002

• “Piglet’s Hallowasn’t Game”
• “I Wanna Scare Myself” Sing Along Song
• Sneak Peeks


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Winnie the Pooh: Frankenpooh & Spookable Pooh (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson

Released just in time for Halloween, Winnie the Pooh: Frankenpooh and Spookable Pooh compiles a couple of episodes from a TV show called The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Not surprisingly, the two programs found on this DVD - Frankenpooh and Spookable Pooh - connect to the Halloween theme. These offer varying levels of success, but overall they seem moderately entertaining.

Frankenpooh lasts 29 minutes and it divides into three vignettes. In “The Monster Frankenpooh”, Piglet (voiced by John Fiedler) tells a story about the title character, but Tigger (Paul Winchell) constantly interrupts to make the innocent tale scarier. The onscreen action varies based on the declarations of the narrator.

In “Things That Go Piglet In the Night”, the gang go on a wild ghost chase for a “spookable”. It turns out that this creature is just a scared Piglet who shouts “Pooooh!”, but the others chase him nonetheless. In addition, Tigger teaches Eeyore (Peter Cullen) how to use a swing.

Lastly, “Pooh Moon” takes the gang on a camping trip. The others think that a “Grab-Me-Gotcha” kidnapped Pooh (Jim Cummings) and Piglet, and they try to find them. In the meantime, Piglet and Pooh believe that they’ve landed on the Honey Moon, where they indulge in “Moon Honey”.

When we move to Spookable Pooh, we get two tales in this 33-minute and 50-second program. The longer of the two, “A Knight to Remember” sends the gang to the attic on a stormy day. When they can’t find all the pieces of a chess set, they dress up Piglet as a knight. He feels he’s too small for the part, so he tries to find a real piece. He hides in a trunk and when he exits, he ends up in a medieval land. He meets the “Bishop of Bounce” and gets entreated to fight a dragon.

At only about 10 minutes, ”Rock-A-Bye Pooh Bear” offers a much shorter adventure. Piglet has a bad dream and to avoid going to bed, he tries to convince everyone else to stay awake. The gang try to get him to sleep without his knowledge, this means actions such as having Tigger impersonate sheep. Eventually, Piglet’s bad dream comes true, and he learns things aren’t quite as perilous as they seem.

Though clearly aimed at little ones, the pieces found on Frankenpooh seem moderately enjoyable for adults as well - at least for this adult. The world of Pooh always offers gentle fun, and these escapades come across no differently, but they include some clever little bits and appeared reasonably entertaining.

It helps that we encounter some of the original Pooh voices. That means we hear Fiedler as Piglet, Winchell as Tigger, and Hal Smith as Owl. The replacements offer reasonable facsimiles of the others as well, and the package comes across as well performed.

If forced to pick a favorite tale, “Frankpooh” probably seems the most entertaining. It takes some fun liberties and creates a lively and witty little piece. “Knight” likely works the worst of the bunch, if just because it runs the longest; it starts to wear out its welcome after a while, but it still provides a fairly fun clip.

Overall, the material on Frankenpooh seems cute and charming for the most part. The programs don’t excel at anything in particular, but they provide better than average children’s TV entertainment, and they work fairly well for adults too.

The DVD Grades: Picture D+ / Audio C / Bonus D

Winnie the Pooh: Frankenpooh and Spookable Pooh appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The quality of the different episodes varied, but overall, I found the package to offer a surprisingly unattractive presentation.

Sharpness seemed erratic. “Knight” looked best, as it maintained reasonable clarity and accuracy, but the other shorts generally came across as decent at best. They often appeared somewhat soft and fuzzy, and they never presented very well defined visuals. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and edge enhancement also didn’t seem present, though given the undefined picture, it seemed hard to tell if haloes existed. The programs also showed some grain as well as quite a lot of specks and spots, and the images appeared somewhat jittery at times.

Colors seemed flat and indistinct. The hues almost always came across as bland and lifeless, and the shows provided a fairly gauzy look. In general, I found the hues to appear muddy and runny. Black levels were acceptably deep but they also seemed dull, and low-light shots appeared hazy and murky. Although I didn’t expect stunning visuals from Frankenpooh, I still thought it looked surprisingly weak.

The Dolby Stereo 2.0 audio of Frankenpooh fared better, but it remained lackluster. Actually, most of the material offered monaural audio; only during “Knight” did the presentation feature stereo music and effects. The sound broadened decently during that program, but otherwise, the audio seemed to stay anchored to the center.

Audio quality appeared bland. Dialogue sounded acceptably distinct and accurate, and it demonstrated no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed reasonably clear but lifeless, as the score generally presented little dynamic range. “Knight” showed increased bass response and brighter highs, but those differences didn’t seem enormous. Effects stayed thin and mediocre. Except for “Knight”, all of the programs demonstrated some light hum and hiss. The audio of Frankenpooh seemed acceptable for the material, but with the exception of “Knight”, the programs didn’t sound very good.

Frankenpooh packs a few minor extras. Piglet’s Hallowasn’t Game offers a very simple contest that requires the player to find hidden objects. Clearly aimed at very little kids, it seems like modest fun at best. We also get a Sing-Along Song for “I Wanna Scare Myself”. The 91-second clip allows you to sing along with Tigger for this song that doesn’t appear elsewhere on the DVD.

One interesting note: Frankenpooh uses the new “Disney Kids’ Menu”. This automatically moves through different options, so viewers only ever need to use the “enter” key. For those who don’t want to sit through all the different variables, just press “menu” to access things traditionally. This seems like a nice innovation, as it makes DVDs more accessible for youngsters.

Within the Sneak Peeks area, you’ll discover a slew of advertisements for other Disney offerings. Some of these appear at the start of the DVD as well; when the disc begins to play, we find trailers for Mickey’s House of Villains, Monsters, Inc., Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year, Lilo & Stitch, Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun. Within the “Sneak Peaks” domain itself, we see these promos plus an additional clip for Beauty and the Beast.

No one will mistake Winnie the Pooh: Frankenpooh and Spookable Pooh for the best Disney offers, but the collection of TV programs provides some gentle and endearing material nonetheless. The Halloween-themed collection includes a few reasonably entertaining pieces that parents will probably enjoy more than most kids shows. Unfortunately, the DVD provides weak picture and mediocre sound plus only a smattering of small extras. If you find a bargain copy of Frankenpooh and think your kids will like it, give the DVD a go, but I wouldn’t recommend that you spend much money on it; the package seems decent but doesn’t warrant a strong recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4285 Stars Number of Votes: 14
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