DVD Review: Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving -- 10th Anniversary Edition DVD Gift Set (1999)

Now Available on DVD

The things we do to technology. For example, I'm writing this review on a relative's backup eMac that has a tendency to reset its clock back to 12/31/69 every time it starts up. And although I think my Blu-ray player knows what year it is since it's smarter than I am with menus you need an MIT degree to navigate through, lately it has no idea what holiday we're celebrating.

As someone who covers a lot of home entertainment, I find that studios roll out the holiday material early trying to beat each other to the punch for shoppers who've been on a quest for Christmas and Hanukkah bargains since July. Moving from various levels of Halloween horror from family movies like Ghost Cat to gore-a-plenty and now with a flood of December holiday features hitting the inbox, I've been moving back and forth between fall and winter, pumpkins and Santa Claus, multicolored leaves and snow on a regular basis.

While it's enough to drive most people batty, since I live in Arizona which basically has one season, it's been a welcome experiment especially because the temperatures have begun to move into the low '80s (that's a good thing for us). Therefore, I've found that I'm in precisely the right mood to watch Christopher Robin encourage Piglet to skate by giving him "Magic Earmuffs" in one of two bonus Winnie the Pooh shorts included on this 10th Anniversary Disney DVD release of its '99 direct-to-video title.

Presented in a holiday edition gift-set complete with a collectible stocking that features the main characters who reside in A.A. Milne's Hundred Acre Wood, the film blended together new footage and bonus songs from The Sherman Brothers along with three previous Pooh television programs to comprise a seamless feature length work. Debuting direct-to-video to renew interest and maximize the audience potential for Disney's 2000 upcoming Tigger Movie (also re-released prematurely in a recent 10th Anniversary Edition DVD), a majority of what I consider to be a superior work than Tigger consisted of cutting together the special A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving and the episodes
Groundpiglet Day and Find Her, Keep Her from the hit series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Despite the fact that some of the original source material is roughly twenty years old and even on an upconvert player the date of the originally televised animation shows its age as it's nowhere near as sharp as Disney's recent Short Films Collection re-release of 1983's Mickey's Christmas Carol, it's a welcome DVD addition for Pooh fans. Likewise, it's especially ideal for viewers who grew up watching The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh--so much that I could recall certain plot details--and now would like to share it with the next generation.

The roughly seventy minute Seasons of Giving is a wintry treat as Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Christopher Robin, Roo, Gopher, Owl and others come together to celebrate the holidays. In doing so, they realize that the stress of feeling an obligation to follow tradition goes against the Pooh-like holiday spirit of friendship, empathy, love, loyalty, honesty, and being there for one another through it all.

For Disney buffs, it's particularly noteworthy since it marks the last Pooh title to include the original, beloved voice of Paul Winchell as Tigger, although the talented Jim Cummings is also listed in the credits for the same character along with Pooh whom he voiced in The Tigger Movie as well.

While the feature film is enjoyable and heartwarming-- to ensure that it won't just duplicate the same program, two adorable never-before released on DVD episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh are included as well including the aforementioned The Magic Earmuffs and Christopher Robin and Pooh stargazing in The Wishing Bear. Part of the FastPlay line of titles from Disney, the DVD kicks off right after you select your language in playing the bonus features right after the main title so that kids don't have to try and navigate through too many previews or back and forth to the menu. It also contains two other interactive games are available in the French and English track only including "Coloring Fun With Piglet" and "Decorate Your Own Christmas Tree" which goes right along with the snowflake and stocking like packaging of the gift set.

While as a Walt Disney Studios review copy, mine may have appeared differently as an outer box contained both the stocking and DVD together (instead of the pictured packaging above), as far as I could gather from searching various online retailers, the title is also being offered as a single disc edition of the DVD itself, depending upon where you'd prefer to shop and what you're looking for in terms of stockings or stocking stuffers in the pre-holidays budget hunt to further confuse your home technology.

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