Christopher Robin (2018) – Film Review
While last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) was an interesting exploration of the creation of a children’s classic and the effects on the creator and his household, the ‘official’ Disney adaptation plays much more to the nostalgic elements of the Disney version of the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Legendary voice actor Jim Cummings returns to voice Pooh and Tigger and most of the magic in this film is quite obvious when Christopher Robin – especially the grown-up version played by Ewan McGregor – interacts with the “bear of little brain” from his childhood when faced with some potentially traumatic decisions in his humdrum adult life.
The stress of the situation that having to potentially lay off employees at a luggage factory that he works at has potentially caused some sort of breakdown for stressed out and overworked middle-manager Christopher Robin who begins to see his childhood friend Pooh and must go on a quest to rediscover his other toy friends including Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore.
Yes, this film never claimed to be anywhere near factually accurate but the cinema must have been a bit dusty as I got a bit emotional during director Marc Forster’s opening montage and the ending while the youngsters in the audience were kept amused by the gentle comedic fantasy action in between where McGregor goes all-in to return to his youth while fighting off imaginary Heffalumps and Woozles in the Hundred Acre Wood.
The main plot is nothing we haven’t seen before – a simplified mid-life crisis – ‘Hook’ style but the glossy conceit – that these talking stuffed animals can really talk and aren’t a figment of Christopher Robin’s imagination is pretty much the only twist in this film’s easily resolved plot which pales next to the two Paddington films which do so much more with their starring bear.
At least we do get some amusing cod-philosophy from Pooh while several witty one-liners will raise a smile for the grown-ups, but we see precious little of Hayley Atwell as Christopher Robin’s wife even though Bronte Carmichael as his daughter completes the family well.
There’s a special mention for Mark Gatiss as Christopher Robin’s odious boss – someone has to be the bad guy here. People looking for more grown up drama should try Goodbye Christopher Robin, while the kids may be better off with Disney’s original animated Pooh classics.
Christopher Robin (PG; mild threat, brief war violence; 103 minutes)
Director(s): Marc Forster
Cast Includes: Ewan McGregor, Jim Cummings (voice), Peter Capaldi (voice), Brad Garrett (voice), Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones (voice), Mark Gatiss
Summary: CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is a fantasy adventure drama in which a man rediscovers his enthusiasm for life after a bear from his childhood comes looking for him.
Rating: *** (Gentle nostalgia for the grown-ups, and amusement for young-ish kids)