George: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…and Disney wants you to help fill their stockings! Disney has just released two holiday-related blu-rays to get you in the mood. Or to get you to empty your wallets on new releases of some items you might already own. The first one up is Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year. This is the first time I’ve seen this and it will be the last. Actually, I started looking at Instagram on my phone and missed most of it.
Jeff: I remember seeing the film back in 2002, when it was originally released. It suffers like most direct to video sequels: terrible storyline, even worse songs, and forgettable overall. I was honestly kind of surprised that this was a film they were releasing for the holiday season, being as that it doesn’t have that big of a following. And like George said, if you watch it, you can see why.
George: The quality of the Pooh-ray (get it?) does suffer. They did digitally enhance it, but it’s the same format release from 2002. It’s not widescreen which is very odd to watch on a modern television. Honestly, there was nothing redeeming about this release and the only reasons to pick it up are if you’re a huge Pooh fan and you don’t own it or you collect everything Pooh-related.
Jeff: Adding even more fuel to the fire, there is a considerable lack of extras on the disc. Sure, you can watch and sing along to the handful of songs from the film (with the lyrics on or off), but they are forgettable and honestly not all that great. It really seems like no effort went into this release, and it shows, from the lack of digital restoration to the lackluster package overall.
George: Nothing else to see here…moving along. So, the next release is the 30th Anniversary of Mickey’s Christmas Carol. This 1983 animated short film is considered a classic by most Disney fans. I do love it and it’s part of our annual holiday watching. I do own it on several other DVDs and I have to admit that I was glad to receive a review copy on blu-ray. The familiar retelling of the Dickens’ tale was the first theatrical release of an animated Mickey film in over 30 years. It wasn’t until I finished watching the short film, that I realized I had a blu-ray with about 45 minutes worth of content on it, including the minimal special features.
Jeff: Normally, because I do love the movie so much, I wouldn’t mind how short the blu-ray’s entire running time is. However, being touted as a digitally remastered, 30th Anniversary edition, I have to say I’m pretty unimpressed with it overall. The film itself looks terrible; it’s almost as if someone took the “smear” tool in Photoshop and ran it over every frame of the film. It’s a lazy “restoration” (if you can even call it that) and it’s one for the worst. If you compare the film on the disc itself to the actual menu on the blu-ray, you’ll notice a VAST difference in quality. It’s sad when the menu for the film looks much better than the film itself.
George: I agree that the film didn’t standout like other blu-ray conversions (Little Mermaid, My Neighbor Totoro) and seemed rather disappointing. I’m hard-pressed to recommend this title simply because the quality just doesn’t seem to be there. As I’ve mentioned, I already own this film on three other DVDs and the quality on the previous copies is far superior. Still, the film, itself, is a classic. The shorts included on the disc are entertaining and are more winter inspired than holiday. Is it worth getting this, though?
Jeff: Many of the shorts, including the new one Yodelburg, are available, for free, online in some way (whether on Disney’s site or on YouTube). So, like George, I’m hard pressed to recommend this title as well. If you really want to own the film, and don’t already, you’re better off buying one of the older editions on DVD. Or, just watch it on TV, as I’m sure it will be on many, many times between now and Christmas.
George: Man, we sound like Scrooge McDuck before his three ghostly visitors.
Jeff: Bah humbug!
So, what do you think about these two releases?
By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly The Greatest Online Show ™ (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceChat Youtube Channel.