Plot: What’s it about?
The Book of Pooh: Stories from the Heart is a feature length release that includes six short films, each of which should delight the youngsters. I like the new approach to Pooh and his buddies, as the visuals seem more upbeat and friendly, at least when compared to most Pooh releases. The animation looks great and the computer rendered aspects come off very well, much smoother and sharper than I had expected. I wasn’t too taken by the episodes myself, but they were fun to watch once and of course, I don’t think I am the target audience by any means. The kids should love these six episodes to be sure, as their favorite characters return to get into adventures of all sorts. Below is a list and brief synopsis of each episode.
1. Over the Hill- I’ve always wondered what lurked on the other side of that hill also, so I wasn’t surprised when Pooh decided to learn for himself. He knows the risks involved and seeks to learn the truth, at whatever cost deemed necessary But what is over there? It could be countless pots of honey, a swarm of bees, or maybe it’s just the other side of the hill…
2. Kessie Wises Up- Who is this strange Kessie and just why it included on a Pooh disc? I have no idea, but in this piece, Kessie the bluebird decides to attempt a very tough task, to learn all there is to know in a single day, no matter what it takes. I didn’t like this story at all and with any luck, we’ll never have to see Kessie in a Pooh based release again…
3. Tigger’s Replacement- That bouncin’ mess of emotions Tigger is off the wagon again and this time, he’s convinced he needs to train a stand-in, for when he leaves for whatever reason. Maybe he’ll just dash to the store or maybe he’ll take a holiday, but any case, he wants a replacement trained for his absences. Of course, Piglet seems like the logical choice and soon, Tigger puts the little doormat through the paces, but can the tiny strip of bacon really fill Tigger’s shoes?
4. Eeyore’s Tailiversary- Oh what a splendid day indeed, as Eeyore’s pinned on tail is due for an anniversary, which means a celebration is in order. But as the sad lummox visits his so-called pals, he finds himself dismissed at every turn, which sinks Eeyore deeper into his usual depression, not the happy holiday spirit expected. Is there some reason his former friends have turned into fiends, or has Eeyore finally burned all of his bridges, thanks to his mopey antics?
5. Greenhorn with a Greenthumb- When the carefree, irresponsible Tigger smashes the garden of uptight, overly strict Rabbit, it seems like fisticuffs could happen, but cooler heads prevail, which is good news. Tigger offers to help Rabbit rebuild his garden and while this proves to be more of a hassle than ever, Rabbit agrees and the two begin replanting & such. As expected, hijinks ensue from the start…
6. Night of the Waking Tigger- As usual, Tigger has no respect for his friends and this time, he has decided to remain awake all night and cause problems. This means his friends are unable to get much sleep, but Tigger doesn’t care, as he simply cares about his own issues and no one else’s, to be sure. After they tire of Tigger’s devil-may-care attitude, Piglet, Pooh, and Rabbit attempt to calm their friend down, with disastrous results…
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame form, as intended. This series was created via computer graphics, so the image here looks terrific and should please the kiddies, to be sure. The colors look bold and vivid at all times, especially the green hues and of course, no smears were seen in the least. The black levels look sharp and well balanced also, detail is never lost and the image never becomes murky, which is good. I can’t imagine this material in much better form, given the nature of the series, as a television based one and all. I do think Disney should have used some brains and issued this in future-proof anamorphic widescreen, if that was an option and since this computer graphic based, I assume it could have been.
Audio: How does it sound?
As expected, this kind of material simply doesn’t need much power, as even with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, there’s not much to discuss. The musical soundtrack sometimes visits the rear channels, but this is rare and aside from that, there is no presence in the surrounds at all, which is a let down. But I’d rather have a limited, but natural mix to be sure, so I am pleased no hollow, unneeded surround use was pumped in. This sounds good, given the fact that is a kids’ television show and all, so no real complaints here. This disc also includes English subtitles, in case you’ll need those at some point.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes some character biographies, a trio of bland kids’ games, and a ten minute featurette on the history of Pooh.