Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The quality of the different episodes varied, but overall, I found the package to offer a moderately unattractive presentation.
The newest of the three episodes, “Thanksgiving”, definitely looked the best. It presented fairly good clarity and accuracy. Some jagged edges popped up, but source flaws remained absent, and colors seemed excellent. The episode presented vivid and vibrant tones along with rich blacks and clean shadows.
Unfortunately, the other two episodes were much weaker. “Groundpiglet” was the worst of the bunch, though both it and “Keep Her” were mostly similar. They often appeared somewhat soft and fuzzy, and it never presented very well defined visuals. The image remained indistinct and iffy much of the time. Noticeable jagged edges showed up, and the colors were flat and listless. These episodes showed the green Rabbit and generally appeared erratic.
Blacks seemed acceptably deep but still somewhat dull, and low-light shots were murky and hazy. “Keep Her” appeared mostly free from source flaws, but “Groundpiglet” displayed lots of defects. The program showed some grain as well as quite a lot of specks and spots, and the images appeared somewhat jittery at times. Ultimately, the reasonably positive quality of the “Thanksgiving” and the interstitials managed to get Seasons up to “C”-level, but it remained an erratic and often problematic image.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Seasons of Giving didn’t fare any better, as it remained lackluster. Actually, most of the material offered monaural audio. The songs for the interstitials and “Thanksgiving” presented the only stereo music and effects. The sound broadened mildly during that program, but otherwise, the audio seemed to stay anchored to the center.
Audio quality appeared bland. Dialogue sounded acceptably distinct and accurate, and it demonstrated no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed reasonably clear but lifeless, as the score generally presented little dynamic range. Effects stayed thin and mediocre. The audio of Seasons of Giving seemed acceptable for the material, but it never rose above that level.
How did the picture and audio of this 2009 “10th Anniversary Edition” compare to those of the original 2003 DVD? I thought both discs seemed virtually identical. If the 2009 disc improved on its predecessor in any way, I didn’t notice it; I thought the pair were absolutely the same in terms of picture and sound.
A few extras flesh out this “10th Anniversary Edition” of Giving. I’ll note supplements new to this DVD with an asterisk. If you fail to see a star, then the component already appeared on the 2003 disc.
Decorate Your Own Christmas Tree presents a series of trifold options. You can choose from three different trees and then go to three successive screens with three selections of their own. It’s not exactly a deep activity, but little kids might enjoy it.
A similar audience might go for Coloring Fun with Piglet. This provides three pictures from which to choose. You then need to select the correct color for each highlighted area of the drawing. Unfortunately, this allows for no creativity; the program forces you to pick the right hue and won’t allow any alteration.
We also get two *bonus shorts from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We find “Magic Earmuffs” (11:09) and “The Wishing Bear” (22:42). Of the two, “Earmuffs” proves the more effective, as it delivers some mild laughs from its “ice cookie” game. “Wishing” is decent but not quite as interesting. At least both add some minor value to this DVD.
The “10th Anniversary Edition” finishes with a *collectible stocking. This is a mini-stocking emblazoned with the image of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Kessie from the DVD’s cover. It’s cute but not special.
A lackluster piece of work, Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving provides something moderately enjoyable but nothing more. The program gives us gentle fun that seems watchable. It just never becomes anything memorable and distinctive. The DVD offers erratic picture with mediocre audio and a bland package of extras. With an MSRP of $30, Giving is a pricey release that doesn’t warrant the investment. It’s clearly not worth a “double-dip” for fans who have the original disc; it throws in a few new supplements but suffers from the same visual and auditory weaknesses found on the old DVD.
To rate this film, visit the original review of WINNIE THE POOH: SEASONS OF GIVING