Disney // 2008 // 72 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // February 27th, 2008
It's Time to Sleuth Out Super Fun!
When I was a wee young lad of only four years of age, I was really quite fond of the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends. The delightful A.A. Milne stories were turned into delightful animated shorts. My own favorite was the classic "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," which featured a wonderful and spooky (for 4-year-olds, anyway) dream sequence about Heffalumps and Woozles. Like most children's entertainment, the film, television, and home video adventures of Winnie the Pooh have gotten softer, gentler, and increasingly less threatening over the years. One of the latest chapters in the ultra soft 'n' cuddly Pooh franchise is My Friends Tigger and Pooh, an interactive learning show aimed at the preschool crowd.
Of course, there are some considerable changes that have been made to the Pooh formula for this show. First of all, Christopher Robin is no longer the primary human character. Instead, Pooh and Tigger spend time with a young red-haired girl named Darby. Pooh, Tigger, Darby, and a little dog named Buster form The Super Sleuths, a group of friends that solve mysteries together. The other characters in the Hundred Acre Wood show up from time to time, but they generally aren't at the center of attention. Finally, the show eschews traditional 2-D animation in favor of low-budget 3-D visuals.
There are three episodes on the disc, the first of which was made exclusively for this DVD release. Each episode has two 12-minute stories, as follows.
* "Darby, Super Sleuth"
Darby has to solve a case all by herself when Pooh and Tigger get a cold.
* "Doggone Buster"
The Super Sleuths can't find Buster. Where, o where could that little dog be?
* "Darby's Tail"
Darby is upset because so many of her friends have tails, and she wants one.
* "Tigger's Delivery Service"
Tigger uses his quick bounciness to deliver things for his friends. As he says, "It's funnerer than a monkey full of barrels!"
* "Pooh-Rates of the Hundred Acre Wood"
The Super Sleuths pretend to be pirates...no, make that "Pooh-Rates"!
* "Tigger's Hiccup Pickup"
Everybody makes some rutabaga food, which gives Tigger the hiccups. I'm particularly fond of Pooh's contribution: "I made rutabaga honey! Though, I did forget the rutabaga."
Okay kids, let's all say the oath together: "Anytime, any place, the super sleuths are on the case!"
In each episode, The Super Sleuths look at "the finder flag," which tells them what they need to find. There are all kinds of little clues everywhere, and the show invites young viewers to assist in solving the mystery. "I wonder where that little dog could be," says Pooh. Then he looks and to the camera and asks, "What do you think?" The action pauses for a moment to let the kids shout out their answers, and then proceeds on to the next clue.
"When you have a problem, think, think, think! Looking for a clue, like the super sleuths do, think, think, think!"
Between the problem-solving exercises, there's usually some kind of subplot included just for the sake of entertainment. It provides a pleasant little balance that keeps My Friends Tigger and Pooh from feeling like too much of a homework assignment for the kiddies. Finally, the case will be solved, everyone will be as happy as they can possibly be, and that is that.
Now say it with me: "Another mystery is history!"
Every once in a while you'll get one of the charming bits of Winnie the Pooh dialogue that has always been a part of the franchise.
Darby: "All my friends have tails...I wish I had one."
Pooh: "I don't have a tail. Oh bother...does this mean I'm not your friend?"
Darby: "No, I mean that all my friends except you have tails. Don't you want one?"
Pooh: "Hmm...would having a tail help me to find honey?"
Darby: "No, I'm afraid not."
Pooh: "Oh. Well then, I'm quite comfortable without one, thanks."
These little moments help the show retain the charm that made the original Pooh shorts so delightful in the first place, but they are few and far between. For the most part, this is a very standard learning show that is simply capitalizing on the marketability of the Pooh franchise. The sad truth is, these characters are more or less interchangeable here. However, it should be noted that such things aren't really going to matter to the average pre-schooler. They will enjoy the fact that the characters talk to them, they'll like solving the simple clues, they might learn a thing or two, and before long they'll memorize the catchy theme song (catchy because it blatantly rips "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," but never mind all that).
The only extra on the disc is a game called "Darby's Super Sleuth Challenge," which allows kids to solve clues and become a Super Sleuth. Oh, and guess what? I passed the test! My parents will be so proud. Picture quality is very solid, though I find the 3-D animation incredibly dull in comparison to the gorgeous standard animation used in the original Pooh stories. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is just fine, even if some of the character voices are a little disconcerting (Beaver sounds like he could be a character from The Dukes of Hazzard).
As colorful learning material, this is perfectly acceptable, even if A.A. Milne would probably be appalled at how his classic characters are being used these days. Guilty by the standards of what I wish the Pooh franchise was, but not guilty by the standards of what it actually is.
Review content copyright © 2008 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 72 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Darby's Super Sleuth Challenge" Interactive Game
* Official Site