A Bear Named Winnie (2004)

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Released 6-Jan-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 89:55 (Case: 86)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (89:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Kent Harrison
Studio
Distributor
Original Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Michael Fassbender
Gil Bellows
David Suchet
Stephen Fry
Jonathan Young
Aaron Ashmore
Ted Atherton
Robert Gauvin
Joshua Ballard
Miriam Smith
Arne MacPherson
Nathan Valente
Stan Lesk
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Charlie Mole


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† A Bear Named Winnie is a light-hearted story about a bear cub that is transported to England by Canadian troops during World War I. Winnie eventually finds her way to London Zoo where, in 1926, she influences A.A. Milne and his son Christopher, inspiring the now famous childrenís character Winnie the Pooh.

††† Veterinarian soldiers with the 34th Fort Garry Horse Division, Winnipeg section, are en route to the war in Europe when their train makes a scheduled stop at White River. It is here that Lt Harry Colebourn (Michael Fassbender) stumbles on a bear cub destined for the tanning process. Harry reluctantly purchases the cub for $20 in order to save her from certain death.

††† As the Army doesnít allow pets, the soldiers decide that the bear cub is a mascot and they name her Winnie, after their hometown of Winnipeg. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) When Col John Barret (Gil Bellows) discovers Winnie he orders Harry to get rid of her. Harry is unable to part with Winnie before they embark for Salisbury Plain, England, so he contrives a plan to smuggle Winnie in the Colonelís trunk.

††† Once in England, Harry realises that the front line is no place for a bear so he decides to take Winnie to London Zoo before they depart for France. The zookeeper, Mr. Protheroe (Stephen Fry), meets them at the zoo and agrees to look after Winnie until the war is over.

††† By the time the war is over Winnie has grown in stature. Not only is she physically larger but she has also become a star attraction at the zoo and a favourite with the children. It is decided that Winnie should be allowed to stay on at London Zoo and the rest, as they say, is history.

††† Winnie features prominently throughout the movie so A Bear Named Winnie will appeal to the younger audience. Be aware though, there is a brief scene depicting warfare towards the end of the movie that includes images of dead people and horses.

††† This made-for-television movie is rather slow and never really reaches any great heights, but it will appeal to children and fans of Winnie the Pooh. My main complaint is the use of slow motion camera work to emphasise the emotional bond between Harry and Winnie. It doesnít work and only serves to jar the viewer from the flow of the movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The video transfer is soft and suffers from occasional aliasing, but is otherwise quite acceptable.

††† The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

††† Although the image is a little soft, the shadow detail is acceptable and there is no low level noise.

††† Much like the rest of the transfer the colours are acceptable, but far from striking. Skin tones look natural.

††† A varying degree of grain is evident in many of the darker scenes, for example the interior of the train at 4:30 and the interior of the tent at 32:33. Aliasing can be seen on the side boards at of the building at 6:33, on the walkway at 9:26 and in the foliage throughout the movie, for example at 38:00. Film artefacts are occasionally noticed but they are small and fleeting in nature.

††† The only subtitle stream available is English for the Hearing Impaired. The subtitles are easy to read and they accurately reflect the spoken word.

††† This is an RSDL disc, but with the layer change occurring at the end of the movie there is no distraction.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The audio transfer is good, but not outstanding.

††† The only audio track available is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s).

††† The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. I did not notice any audio sync problems with this disc.

††† The musical score by Charlie Mole is standard fare, but it supports the movie well enough.

††† As this is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, the surround speakers and subwoofer are not utilised.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† There are no extras on this disc.

Menu

††† The menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The menu is not animated and there is no supporting audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Region 1 version is a clear winner, though be aware that there are two Region 1 versions of this DVD and one not only misses out on the extras, it is also has a full frame (1.33:1) presentation.

Summary

††† A Bear Named Winnie is a fun movie that will appeal to families and fans of Winnie the Pooh alike. The plot may be light but it is a story that is worth telling.

††† The video transfer is good.

††† The audio transfer is good.

††† There are no extras on this disc whatsoever.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Friday, February 24, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

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