|Winnie the Pooh:|
Springtime with Roo (2004)
Reviewed by Dustin Putman
(Release Date: March 11, 2014) Originally released as a direct-to-video feature in 2004, "Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo" is as inoffensive and cuddly as Pooh Bear himself. If you happen to miss out on the other five thousand allusions that this is an Easter-set retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Tigger (voiced by Jim Cummings) makes it exceedingly clear by saying late in the film, "What in the dickensand I do mean dickensis going on here?" The sweet, uncomplicated plot involves little Roo (Jimmy Bennett) excitedly preparing for the holiday with all of his pals in the Hundred Acre Wood when Rabbit abruptly sends their frivolity crashing down by declaring it "Spring Cleaning Day" instead. After putting everyone to work and then having a fit when he comes home to find Roo and his pals have decorated, Rabbit is visited by the narrator of the book he's in. By taking him through his past, present and future, Rabbit will confront his hang-ups with Easter and eventually see the error of his ways. Hopefully, it's not too late for him to make things right. Directed by Saul Blinkoff and Elliot M. Bour, "Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo" sets Pooh along the sidelines (though he still appears throughout) and tells a Roo- and Rabbit-centric story with the usual humorous assists from Tigger, Eeyore, and Roo's nurturing mother, Kanga. Roo isn't the most dynamic of creations from author A.A. Milne's books, but he is earnest and lovable. Likewise, the 65-minute film is more pleasant that enduring, and the songs are instantly forgettable, but the messages about letting go of the past and the importance of friendship ring tried and true.
Disney's 1080p digital transfer of "Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo" is as bouncy as Tigger's tail, a practically flawless high-def rendering with zero banding, dirt or edge enhancement in sight. Pure and pleasing, overflowing with bright pastel colors and lovely traditional hand-drawn animation, Disney has hit another cinematic ball out of the Blu-ray park. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is more underwhelming, if only because it is almost entirely front-heavy in the mix and gives the back speakers precious little play. Dialogue is crisp and the music is fine, but the opening studio logo offers more robust aural range than anything that follows.
"Get Up and Dance!" Dance Along (1:58, HD)
Lovers of all things Winnie the Pooh will undoubtedly want to own the Blu-ray release of "Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo," while children in the single-digit range will now have another go-to title to watch every Easter. With barebones bonus content, this presentation will predominately be of interest to fans, but for them it arrives with an easy recommendation.