A cat will spend time playing with a ball made of string, but that doesn’t make it quality entertainment. A child may watch Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving (10th Anniversary Edition), which hit shelves on September 29th, but it is not quality entertainment simply because it is as poorly constructed as a ball made of string.
Taking stories, some of which that were poor on their own, and combining them into one film when they obviously don’t go together can only result in poor storytelling. Unfortunately that is the case here as “Ground Piglet Day,””A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving,” and “Find Her, Keep Her,” are combined to form Seasons of Giving.
Disney has taken this convoluted story and packaged it perfectly for the very young. The Anniversary release includes a small Christmas stocking with Pooh and Tigger on it, and the single-disk includes as Bonus Features two episodes of the television show The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and two games in which the viewer can decorate a Christmas tree and color a picture. So, there is plenty here for the kids to play with, and the really young certainly won’t ask the obvious questions. Why does the animation look different from story to story? Why are some of the voices different? Why does Christopher Robin have an accent in one story and no accent in another? Where are Kanga and Roo for most of the film?
Jim Cummings as the voice of Pooh is fine, though more enjoyable in the feature than in the television show, as the latter gives Pooh too much dialog, and the delivery is inconsistent. This release gives the viewer both Cummings and the legendary Paul Winchell as Tigger, and though Cumming’s performance is adequate, escaping the shadow of Winchell will be a challenge. Similarly, John Fiedler has been the voice of Piglet for decades, so having Steve Schatzberg as Piglet in part of the production is distracting.
Though some adults may overlook these obvious flaws of technical continuity, the poor storytelling will make most unhappy. Storytelling has always been a strong point for adventures featuring the characters from the Hundred Acre Woods, but that is not the case here, as the opening story of lost calendar days, makes little sense, and sets the tone for the rest of the Seasons of Giving.
Recommendation: Obviously it is hard to steer parents away from getting this for their kids. The stocking is quite cute, and it is an inexpensive gift that will provide a few hours of viewing, but the family deserves better from Disney, and there are better Winnie the Pooh stories out there. Don’t let the addition of the collectible stocking lure you into buying a product not good enough to stand on its own. Some anniversaries should not be acknowledged.