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Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo

An innocuous trifle aimed at easily amused tykes, direct-to-video "Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo" arrives as Easter-themed entertainment just in time for holiday season viewing and gift-giving. Animated vidpic won't break any sales records, but likely will generate steady and respectable biz.

With:
Voices: Winnie the Pooh/Tigger - Jim Cummings Rabbit - Ken Sansom Roo - Jimmy Bennett Narrator - David Ogden Stiers Kanga - Kath Soucie Piglet - John Fiedler Eeyore - Peter Cullen

An innocuous trifle aimed at easily amused tykes, direct-to-video “Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo” arrives as Easter-themed entertainment just in time for holiday season viewing and gift-giving. Animated vidpic won’t break any sales records, but likely will generate steady and respectable biz.

Working from a script by Tom Rogers, directors Elliott M. Bour and Saul Andrew Blinkoff put the beloved A.A. Milne characters through familiar paces in a scenario that owes more than a little to “A Christmas Carol.” (Fleeting acknowledgement of Dickens’ influence is vidpic’s only adult-skewing gag.)

The honey-loving Pooh Bear (voiced by Jim Cummings) and his buddies — hyperactive Tigger (also Cummings), melancholy Eeyore (Peter Cullen), frisky Piglet (John Fiedler) and high-hopping Roo (Jimmy Bennett) — look forward to another Easter egg hunt supervised by the chronically cantankerous and control-freakish Rabbit (Ken Sansom). But when the chums arrive at Rabbit’s home, they find Ol’ Long Ears is more interested in spring cleaning than holiday celebrating.

It’s up to Tigger to discover why Rabbit has sworn off Easter. And it’s up to the mellifluous Narrator (David Ogden Stiers) to help Rabbit see what a lonely and miserable future might be in store for a hard-hearted, holiday-hating hare.

Original tunes are passably pleasant, and vocal performers — especially Sansom and Stiers — are first-rate. Animation is mostly unremarkable, however, and 65-minute vidpic feels unduly padded overall.

Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo

Production: A Buena Vista Home Video release of a Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a DisneyToon Studios production. Produced by John A. Smith. Directed by Elliott M. Bour, Saul Andrew Blinkoff. Screenplay, Tom Rogers, based on characters created by A.A. Milne.

Crew: Lead story artist (color), Frank Lintzen; editor, Robert S. Birchard; music, Mark Watters; casting and dialogue director, Jamie Thomason; sound (Dolby), Tim Boyle. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, March 7, 2004. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 65 MIN.

Cast: Voices: Winnie the Pooh/Tigger - Jim Cummings Rabbit - Ken Sansom Roo - Jimmy Bennett Narrator - David Ogden Stiers Kanga - Kath Soucie Piglet - John Fiedler Eeyore - Peter Cullen

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