"POOH’S GRAND ADVENTURE: THE SEARCH FOR CHRISTOPHER ROBIN"
by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Jim Cummings as WINNIE THE POOH
Brady Bluhm as CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
Paul Winchell as TIGGER
Peter Cullen as EEYORE
Ken Samson as RABBIT
John Fiedler as PIGLET
Andre Stojka as OWL
David Warner as THE NARRATOR
Directed by: Karl Geurs
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It’s springtime again, and that means one thing – it’s time for the release of another Winnie the Pooh video. In this case, it’s a re-release of the 1997 direct-to-video feature “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.”
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The story, like many of the Winnie the Pooh films, doesn’t have a set time in the chronology of events. (How could it? After all, those little stuffed animals aren’t too good with calendars.) However, we know that it’s the end of the summer because Christopher Robin is getting prepared for his first day of school. However, he hasn’t had the heart to tell Pooh yet that he’ll be gone for a while.
When Christopher Robing does tell Pooh he’s heading off to school, in typical Pooh fashion, he panics. Having trouble reading the letter Christopher Robin left him, Pooh and the gang get Owl to read it for him. Of course Owl misreads it, and they are certain Christopher Robin is in grave danger.
This sends the crew on a quest to find their friend. They must delve into the uncharted area of the Hundred Acre Wood and brave run-ins with heffalumps, woozles and jagulars.
As far as the feature-length films in the ever-growing Pooh series, “Pooh’s Grand Adventure” is pretty cute. It’s not at the height of charm that was found in the original short films produced for the theatres, but it is also far better than the rinky-dink television series from the 1980s. The biggest plus of the movie is that it doesn’t rely on flashbacks to old episodes to tell its story, which was a severe downfall in the last release, “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.”
If you have young children, most Winnie the Pooh videos are worth watching. Yes, they can get corny at times, but overall, they have a good message and keep the kids entertained. There’s also an appearance of peril (with the gang on an adventure in the woods), so the excitement is there, but there’s never any real danger or violence.
Billed as the “Special Edition,” this DVD release is the first time it’s come out in the format. There are some bonus features, but primarily you end up with the feature length cartoon that came out in 1997. There is a set-top game that kids can play as well as a musical activity.
However, the best part of the special features is the bonus short “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.” This 1969 Oscar-winning short has a classic Disney charm that seems to have been lost in the age of computer animation and corporate branding.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.66:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language track. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.