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Brady Bluhm, Jim Cummings, John Fiedler, Steven Schatzberg, Paul Winchell
Writing Credits:

A Fun-Filled Full-Length Adventure.

Three marvelous cold-weather stories from Disney's popular Pooh television series are combined into one video. A slight error in judgment has led the gang in the 100 Acre Wood into spring in "Groundpiglet Day." Rabbit's rushing about defeats the true purpose of the holidays in "A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving." Rabbit is also the center of "Find Her, Keep Her" when he adopts a wayward bird. Even though this is a new collection of cartoons, the 70-minute DVD keeps closely to the spirit of the '60s Pooh classics.

Rated G

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 63 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 11/4/2003

• Decorate Your Own Christmas Tree
• Coloring Fun with Piglet
• Sneak Peeks

Search Titles:

Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Winnie The Pooh: Seasons of Giving (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 20, 2003)

Time for Disney to milk the Pooh franchise again! Intended to generate some holiday bucks, Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving offers a simple program related to various parts of the year. Seasons opens with mid-fall and then progresses through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The program splits into short episodes connected by musical material. Called Groundpiglet Day, the first finds Tigger ready for winter. However, he’s not sure of the date, so he and the others visit Rabbit to consult his calendar. When the wind blows away most of its pages, they think it’s February 2 instead of November 7.

They attempt to find a groundhog to establish how much more winter remains. They use Piglet as a viable substitute, so when he fails to see his shadow, they anticipate the start of spring. They get a nasty surprise when it snows, and Piglet feels bad about his inaccurate prediction.

The next segment comes upon Thanksgiving. Entitled A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving, Pooh arranges a dinner, but Rabbit denounces it due to its lack of traditional accuracy. He insists they do things the traditional way, which sets the various parts of the gang on their way to get the requisite components, all with predictable problems.

Next we head toward Christmas with Find Her, Keep Her, and Rabbit gets a letter from his old friend Kessie the bird. We then enter flashback mode as we find how Rabbit once rescued and cared for the baby bird. The pair run into conflict when Rabbit tries to keep her with him and refuses to let her learn to fly.

Parts of Seasons offered new material, while others appeared to come from prior Pooh programs. Much of the footage was from the latter, and new interstitials linked the pieces. This meant erratic quality to the pieces, both in regard to the look of the shorts and the smoothness of animation. None of the clips presented good work, but some were shoddier than others. In addition, Rabbit varied from his normal yellow to look green much of the time.

Speaking of whom, perhaps this set should be renamed Rabbit: Seasons of Giving. Normally a background character, Rabbit plays a prominent role during much of the program. I don’t see this as a bad thing, but it presents a surprise since usually these things remain tightly focused on the more popular Pooh, Tigger and/or Piglet. The prissy Rabbit doesn’t normally get so much attention.

Across the board, Seasons seemed moderately enjoyable but fairly ordinary. The story segments appeared cute but they rarely rose above that level. None of them stands out as particularly compelling or better than the others. All of them tend to blend into one, as they fail to make a name for themselves. The clips remain decidedly bland but watchable.

And that’s about the strongest endorsement I can provide for Seasons of Giving. I’ve seen a number of Disney’s “direct-to-video” programs, and it fell squarely in the middle of the pack. It gave us a gently entertaining and likeable piece of work, but it never threatened to become anything compelling or memorable. Dedicated Pooh fans may enjoy it, but it doesn’t enjoy appeal much wider than that.

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

Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving 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 moderately unattractive presentation.

The newest of the three episodes, “Thanksgiving”, definitely looked the best. It presented fairly good clarity and accuracy. Some jagged edges popped up, but source flaws remained absent, and colors seemed excellent. The episode presented vivid and vibrant tones along with rich blacks and clean shadows.

Unfortunately, the other two episodes were much weaker. “Groundpiglet” was the worst of the bunch, though both it and “Keep Her” were mostly similar. They often appeared somewhat soft and fuzzy, and it never presented very well defined visuals. The image remained indistinct and iffy much of the time. Noticeable jagged edges showed up, and the colors were flat and listless. These episodes showed the green Rabbit and generally appeared erratic.

Blacks seemed acceptably deep but still somewhat dull, and low-light shots were murky and hazy. “Keep Her” appeared mostly free from source flaws, but “Groundpiglet” displayed lots of defects. The program showed some grain as well as quite a lot of specks and spots, and the images appeared somewhat jittery at times. Ultimately, the reasonably positive quality of the “Thanksgiving” and the interstitials managed to get Seasons up to “C”-level, but it remained an erratic and often problematic image.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Seasons of Giving didn’t fare any better, as it remained lackluster. Actually, most of the material offered monaural audio. The songs for the interstitials and “Thanksgiving” presented the only stereo music and effects. The sound broadened mildly 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. Effects stayed thin and mediocre. The audio of Seasons of Giving seemed acceptable for the material, but it never rose above that level.

Seasons of Giving tosses in a very small compilation of supplements. Decorate Your Own Christmas Tree presents a series of trifold options. You can choose from three different trees and then go to three successive screens with three selections of their own. It’s not exactly a deep activity, but little kids might enjoy it.

A similar audience might go for Coloring Fun with Piglet. This provides three pictures from which to choose. You then need to select the correct color for each highlighted area of the drawing. Unfortunately, this allows for no creativity; the program forces you to pick the right hue and won’t allow any alteration.

As the DVD starts, we encounter a mix of ads. We find trailers for Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo, The Magical World of Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year, and Disney Sing-Along Songs. These also show up in the Sneak Peeks domain.

A lackluster piece of work, Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving provides something moderately enjoyable but nothing more. The program gives us gentle fun that seems watchable. It just never becomes anything memorable and distinctive. The DVD offers erratic picture with mediocre audio and a weak package of extras. Even with a list price of less than $20, Seasons doesn’t provide much entertainment for the money.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3125 Stars Number of Votes: 16
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