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Sing a Song with Pooh Bear and Piglet Too
Sing Along Songs DVD Review

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Sing Along Songs DVD Details

Running Time: 40 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
Video Debut: February 16, 1999 (as Sing a Song with Pooh Bear)

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Mix of Original Aspect Ratio and Reformatted)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround (Spanish, Italian)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release: April 1, 2003
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
White Keepcase

 

Disney's line of Sing Along Songs DVDs and videos compiles clips of musical numbers from a variety of the studio's animation. Released in the spring of 2003, Sing a Song With Pooh Bear and Piglet Too was meant to capitalize on the theatrical release of Piglet's Big Movie. It repackages a mostly-existing Sing a Song with Pooh Bear video, adding a few new numbers from the recent feature film focusing on Piglet.

Running just 37 minutes, this Sing Along DVD provides just over a dozen short songs from a variety of Winnie the Pooh Projects, all mostly accompanied by lyrics. The collection provides a mix of scenes from big screen films The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet's Big Movie and montages featuring clips from "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" TV series.

Some Sherman Brothers magic in the classic "Rumbly In My Tumbly." Carly Simon sings the songs from Piglet's Big Movie.

The feature opens with a Sing-Along theme performed by a terrible impersonation of The Little Mermaid's crab Sebastian, which I'm assuming marks all the releases of this line. First is the "Winnie the Pooh" theme performed by Carly Simon, which shows clips from Piglet's Big Movie. Simon performs the familiar song with just enough personal style to wear off some of its charm.

It's not always clear where the rest of the songs come from; though the listing inside the case attempts to provide a source, different material is edited together. A number of the tunes are pretty forgettable, even some strong ones like "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" are set to montages of sorts, rather than its movie scene. The chapter insert with a list of song selections is a little bit off.

The highlights are certainly the songs from Disney's legendary songwriting team of Richard and Robert Sherman, including "Rumbly In My Tumbly" and the psychedelic "Heffalumps and Woozles." There is a loose overriding narrative of Pooh trying to find his song. After the songs and credits are done, there is a 3-minute short but effective lesson on how to draw Winnie the Pooh narrated by Gopher.

Pooh troubles Christopher Robin to help him find his song. Gopher tells you how to draw Winnie the Pooh in less than 180 seconds.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Video quality isn't particularly great. Clips from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh noticeably pale in comparison to the pleasing transfer on the film's 25th Anniversary DVD. All of the segments are presented in fullscreen, even though Piglet's Big Movie is a widescreen film.

The soundtrack purports to be 5.1, but outside of the newer numbers from the 2003 film, the audio remains pretty limited, feeling much like a 2.0 Surround track encoded as 5.1. Sound quality is mostly fine, and as the Pooh songs revel in simplicity, the understated nature of the track is understandable and appropriate.

Word Time Activity - Beginner Word Time Activity - Advanced Songs of Note Musical Activity

BONUS FEATURES

The first bonus feature is the Word Time Activity, which offers two levels of educational fun for young learners, narrated by characters from the Hundred Acre Wood! In the "Beginner" level, the viewer must press "enter" when the item that is spoken becomes highlighted. There are three different words, and when you win, you are treated to a true gem. You get to hear Carly Simon sing!

In "Advanced", you are given a letter and must identify a word that begins with the letter. The letters you master fill in the blanks of a partially-completed song title. When you're all done, you get to hear that song.

Next and pretty much last is Songs of Note Musical Activity, also known as "Hundred Acre Melodies." You are presented with three songs, which you hear and see on the xylophone graphic. You then must play it back note-for-note, which would seem to be quite a challenge for young viewers. Fortunately, you're allowed to hear the song as many times as you need to commence with your "Simon"-like response. If you can't play back the song flawlessly after two tries, you lose, so I foresee this frustrating the youths it's intended for.

The Additional Languages (Spanish and Italian) are also listed as bonus features. Choosing these brings up a scene selection menu which lets you choose the song of your choice or "play all" in the foreign language, via Dolby Surround tracks. The accompanying on-screen lyrics are presented in that language. The two songs from Piglet's Big Movie aren't available in in anything other than English, and without the bookends and credits, the Spanish and Italian versions of "Play All" run just 21 and a half minutes each.

The disc opens with previews for The Lion King, Rolie Polie Olie: The Baby Bot Chase, and Stanley: Spring Fever and Hop To It. These are also accessible individually from the Sneak Peeks menu.

The 16x9 animated menus move around two-dimensionally among the Hundred Acre Wood with narration and voices. The narrator explains all of the menu selections. After a while, Pooh encourages the viewer to make a choice.

Main Menu Sing with Pooh...in Italian!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

There's an existing but very limited appeal to this and other Sing Along Songs DVDs. The greatest appeal is to youths who will do their part to sing along and take part in the preschool activities. The ability to have clips of just the musical numbers is also neat, but probably not neat enough to sustain those who fall above the young target age. Furthermore, even at the lower-than-normal Disney animation retail price of $19.99, these short-running programs offer a bit less than they should.

More on the DVD

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Related Reviews
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (25th Anniversary Edition)
Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year

Also check out Loomis' Ultimate Guide to Winnie the Pooh

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