“Christopher Robin” stars Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, and Mark Gatiss. Released on August 3, 2018, the film is about an adult Christopher Robin who gets an unexpected visit from his childhood friends.
The film is directed by Marc Forster, who also directed films such as “Monster’s Ball”, “Finding Neverland”, “Stranger than Fiction”, and “Quantum of Solace”. It is inspired by A. A. Milne’s book, Winnie-the-Pooh, and it serves as a live-action/CGI continuation of Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh”. Ah, yes, Winnie the Pooh. The cuddly and innocent teddy bear that has delighted a bunch of young boys and girls for many, many years since the beginning. The lovable bear that always reminds us that we all need a sense of innocence and imagination in our lives, no matter how old we are. This latest live-action reimagining of one of Disney’s animated classics sets out to reintroduce that reminder to a new generation of kids as well as bringing adults back to their nostalgic, childhood days. I adore Winnie the Pooh as I was growing up, mostly from the animated shows and movies, so I was pretty excited to see him make his return to the big screen. What makes it even more exciting to me is that we get to see the boy with the stuffed bear as an adult. Is it the type of concept that’s worth telling to the kids and the nostalgic adults? Let’s find out.
In a similar fashion to Steven Spielberg’s 1991 film, “Hook”, the story follows the title character (McGregor) as an adult who is married to an architect (Atwell) and has a job at a luggage company. At an unfortunate turn of events, Christopher is tasked by his boss (Gatiss) to complete some paperwork instead of spending the weekend with his family. Not knowing what to do, he comes across a familiar figure from his childhood in the form of Winnie the Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings), who seeks his help in finding the other residents of the Hundred Acre Wood. During the journey, Christopher will discover what’s really important in life. I’m not kidding, guys. The story in this film felt somehow familiar to a movie about a grown-up Peter Pan in terms of its concept. All that’s missing is Pooh saying “bangarang”. Like the other adaptations of A. A. Milne’s book, the narrative structure in “Christopher Robin” is as simplistic and innocent as Pooh itself, although there are two specific things that are quite different: the tone and the pacing. The tone in the animated adaptations of Winnie-the-Pooh were full of colors and imagination. Here, the colors and the imagination are still present, but most of the scenes in the film were pretty bleak, which understandably serves a purpose to the story. The pacing can also be an issue for young kids who would rather watch a fast-paced cartoon or have seen the Winnie the Pooh cartoons and movies. Aside from those small flaws, this is unsurprisingly one of Disney’s most heartwarming and insightful live-action films to date. Sure, the story can be a bit too sappy for the strong-minded, but for the adults who grew up with the kid-friendly franchise, it’s the type of movie that we need. Ewan McGregor did such a great job with his performance as the title character. He really captured the essence of what Christopher Robin is like as an older person. Jim Cummings was once again fantastic as the voice of Pooh and Tigger. There’s really nothing else I can say about Cummings. He’s simply irreplaceable. I also enjoyed the CGI designs of Pooh and his friends as they perfectly resemble stuffed animals coming to life in a child’s mind…well, except for Rabbit and Owl, who appear to be real life animals that can talk. The film has a usual, but very important, message about the values of family and the importance of holding your childhood memories close to your heart. Marc Forster was a solid choice in portraying this type of message that’s simple and imaginative for the kids as well as thought-provoking and relatable for the adults.
Overall, “Christopher Robin” makes use of its interesting concept and transforms it into a heartwarming nostalgic experience. Thanks to its charming cast of characters, its relatable message, and Mar Forster’s direction, this is a near-perfect reminder that just because we grow old, it doesn’t mean that our inner child is gone for good. As long as we remember that, our adult lives will never be as boring as watching paint dry. If you or your child is a big fan of Winnie the Pooh, this is a must-see.