Hello and welcome back. Today, we continue Valentines as I review the last of the New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh holiday specials. Originally aired on February 13, 1999, this is Winnie The Pooh: A Valentine For You. This was also the last time Paul Winchell would voice Tigger as he died in 2005 and in subsequent re-releases of this special, it was dedicated to his memory. Now out of the three Winnie The Pooh specials, I've reviewed since Halloween, this is the only I'd never seen before watching it. And I have to say, that this is perhaps the weakest and it has a feeling of finality to it. Almost as though, this was meant to serve as a series finale to The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. Even though, the show ended in '91 but like Boo To You! and Thanksgiving, these were based on New Adventures even if they came out after the show stopped running. It could've still been caught in reruns.
To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed by the plot of this special. Probably in part because I feel like I've seen this story idea done with Pooh Bear before. What is the plot you may ask? Well, it opens on the day before Valentines Day and Piglet comes to tell Pooh that and and then they go with the rest of the gang and see Christopher Robin writing a Valentine and at first the gang think it is for Pooh as it sounds as though, he is spelling out Winnie but it ends up, he is writing a Valentine for a girl named Winfred. Everyone that watched Christopher Robin head to Owl's house to ask him, what's a Winfred? And he tells them that it's a girl and they all act as if, they have no idea what a girl is. (Um, guys did you forget about Kanga?) They are told that he had been bitten & smitten with the love bug, which they take to mean that a bug named the smitten actually caused Christopher Robin to fall in love and they think if they catch another smitten, they cancel out the other one. They go after the smitten (it's actually a firefly) and try to catch it and to be honest, this is where I go blank on what happens. They catch and Rabbit tries to convince Pooh Bear to use it on Christopher Robin but he can't bring himself do that as he sees that he can't Christopher Robin as he sees his friend is happy and growing up. So in a way, the theme of this special seemed to be was change and acceptance. But I kinda found this special a bit boring and it seemed as though, it forgot the main theme at points. Really, the plot isn't bad but it's not the strongest and there is a whole lotta nothing happening in the middle of this special as it just drags.
Now it is kind of funny, in how the characters think that a smitten aka a firefly will change Christopher Robin back into the person he was. That's really all there is to say on this.
Narrator - David Warner
The narration is actually pretty good but David Warner had narrated Winnie The Pooh in the past as he was also the narrator in Pooh's Grand Adventure. Y'know, the more I think about it, even though it is said this special is based on New Adventures, it feels more like a spiritual sequel to Grand Adventure and not just because of Warner's narration but also because there is a flashback montage featuring clips from Grand Adventure.
Now there is no need to break it down any further then just characters. With that out of the way, let's begin.
Winnie The Pooh voiced by Jim Cummings
This most certainly was a Pooh centric story and they were trying to have him come to grips with Christopher Robin growing up and for the most part that worked well and Pooh was great. My problem isn't with Pooh because he was able to accept his growing up and in that sense reminded me of Woody in Toy Story 3 but I think the issue here is that we don't get enough time with Pooh Bear to see his development as pretty much every character sans Kanga & Roo appear in this special, when they really don't need to.
Christopher Robin voiced by Brady Bhum
Christopher Robin was good in this special and it was a little cute seeing him writing a valentine for a girl. Indicating that he had a crush on someone An indicator that he was growing up and I think something that bugged me about this special is that his friends, his toys in a way it felt greedy for them to try and stop Christopher Robin from giving his love to someone else. Sure, they never meant any harm by what they were doing because they didn't understand what they were doing. Maybe if they'd just talked to Christopher Robin before. Yeah, you could use that same argument for most of the other stories featuring Christopher Robin but at least in Grand Adventure and the 2011 film, he left them a note explaining things. Here, they were just eavesdropping.
Rabbit, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, & Gopher voiced by Ken Sansom, Paul Winchell, Peter Cullen, & Michael Gough
If your wondering why I grouped the rest of the characters together, well it's because they pretty much served the same purpose. To go on the journey to catch the Smitten. Now unlike Pooh Bear, they didn't come to any realization about Christopher Robin. Well not until they saw Pooh Bear deciding not to use the Smitten. And they didn't gain anything from their journey. Most of the time with these kinds of stories, we see the characters gain something. In Boo To You!, Piglet learned you can't let being afraid keep you having fun with your friends and in Grand Adventure, the characters learned they are brave, smart and strong. Honestly, the cast could've been trimmed down. I've always said it but so rarely in group stories does Eeyore serve any purpose and it's not just true for Eeyore in this special, why was Gopher here? Quite honestly, if it had just been Piglet, Tigger and Rabbit and maybe Eeyore, I wouldn't have had such a big issue but this seemed to be a case of let's include every character we can except for Kanga because having a girl in her Valentines special won't make sense. Also, it is a crime that this is the last time Paul Winchell voiced Tigger. As Tigger along with the rest of the cast were reduced to doing nothing.
Places In The Heart
Now this is the only song, I was able to find from the special and if you recall as I said in the intro about this special having a feeling of finality to it, well this song is part of that. As you see this song was at the end and with Pooh's ark in the special, it just had that finality feeling to it and to be honest, Pooh's ark and this song are perhaps the best things about this special.
My Final Thoughts
Go ahead and skip this one. It's not the worst thing related to Pooh Bear out there. (I'm looking at you, Darby!) but it's a forgettable and rather lackluster special when compared to Christmas Too! and Boo To You!. And even on it's own, it doesn't hold up very well. It has way too many characters in it for it's own good and none other then Pooh and Christopher Robin are essential to the story. At best, just listen to Places In The Heart as that is a decent song. Sorry, for anyone who liked this or has nostalgia for it but I didn't like it. Oh well join me tomorrow for a review of...