Disney’s Christopher Robin takes us back into the beloved Hundred Acre Wood, where we meet the characters we’ve known and loved as children, but this time in a much different circumstance. The movie, directed by Marc Forster, features the characters from the adored A.A Milne’s children’s books. This film, unlike others, tells the story of an adult Christopher Robin. As time progressed, he lost his way in life; that changes when he gets a surprise visit from his old childhood friends, who help him appreciate the joys of life. This movie has an endearing, surprisingly refreshing, and pleasant tone. This isn’t just another one of your average children’s movies. In fact, this movie is also great for adults who could use a bit of rediscovering themselves.
NOTE: This post may contain spoilers.
Christopher Robin starts off by telling the story of a young Christopher Robin, who has come to say goodbye to all of his childhood friends as he’ll soon be leaving for boarding school. Throughout the opening scenes, we get to see how much Christopher has changed, and why he’s been forced into maturity at such a young age. From leaving home to go to boarding school, to losing his father, and then fighting in a war, it’s no wonder why Christopher Robin has drastically changed. After these events are introduced, we get to see how Christopher deals with adulthood.
Set in postwar London, Christopher Robin works a stressful job at a luggage manufacturer, which puts a strain on his relationship with his family as well as himself. Through all the tension he faces, especially in the first half of the movie, he overlooks the true meaning of life. This causes him to have a somewhat estranged relationship with his daughter, and it also makes him miss out on his weekend getaway with his family. This all changes when he gets an unexpected visit from his childhood best friend, Winnie the Pooh. Their reconnection results in him being able to realize how important it is to hold onto the ones you love and that work shouldn’t always come first. This movie is rather different from both the books and the Disney films and cartoons in that Christopher Robin takes center stage rather than his friends. Furthermore, the furry friends don’t just stay in the Hundred Acre Wood; they explore well beyond it. This time, they step up and go on a daring expedition with Christopher Robin’s daughter, Madeline, to London to help their dear friend Christopher. This is unlike anything from what we’ve previously seen because, in a sense, Christopher Robin was the “adult.” He always helped his friends in their time of need; however, now Pooh and the others live up to the terms of being brave, strong, and smart in order to save him.
Everything about this film, from the alluring visuals to the nostalgic songs, is simply breathtaking. The storyline is very simple, but it’s the captivating dialogue that makes this film unique. If you pay close attention, you’ll see just how powerful some of the words are. Nonetheless, just like in the original movies, there is comedy. Winnie the Pooh and his friends always know how to make people laugh, and that is the same case with Christoper Robin. This movie defines how important it is to take our time and enjoy life. It also explores a sense of yearning and repentance, which are topics that have never been quite examined in Winnie the Pooh. In fact, at times you forget that Christopher Robin is a children’s film. Sure, it has a childlike feel to it with youthful humor, such as Christopher pretending to fight a Heffalump. Be that as it may, there are a few scenes that deal with real-life problems. This movie shows what growing up and dealing with work, family, and oneself is like. Director Marc Forster perfectly grapples with significant adult issues but in a thoughtful and playful tone. For example, it’s sad to say, but all good things must come to an end, and as we get older, we tend to lose sight of what used to be important: imagination, creativity, and love. Forster shows this through Christopher’s behavior throughout the production. Christopher is first shown as a playful child, but when he reached adulthood, he isn’t the same person anymore. He’s always stressed and anxious, and he puts no time aside to just relax and be with his family. However, when he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood, we begin to see him rediscover himself, and this is where the thoughtful and playful tone of the film really begins to occur.
Ewan McGregor exceptionally portrays the role of Christopher Robin. Throughout the movie, he has the audience captivated with his performance, and he allows us to relate to the reality of growing up. Christopher Robin would have been very different if it weren’t for Ewan McGregor. He put his own stamp on a character we have known for about 90 years and made it his own. McGregor is able to portray this character with an evocative presence that we might all be able to feel. Yet he can also pull off presenting an unreserved, playful, and lively attitude. Another major presence in this film goes to the silly old bear, Winnie the Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings), who is always profound in terms of silliness. Voice actor Jim Cummings has been voicing the character for about thirty years, and he really sells this character with his humor and heartfelt messages. Cummings also comes back to reprise his role of the rambunctious Tigger. There are a lot of new voice actors as well, such as Peter Capaldi (Rabbit), Nick Mohammed (Piglet), Sophie Okonedo (Kanga), Sara Sheen (Roo), Toby Jones (Owl), and Brad Garrett (Eeyore). Surprisingly, we get to see a lot more of Eeyore in this movie than usual, and Brad Garett does an astounding job of bringing the character to life. It’s very much the same old gloomy Eeyore we’ve always known, but he seems to be more playful this time around, especially when Christopher pretends to be attacking a Heffalump.
Forster merges both live-action and CGI to generate the characters that were beautifully illustrated by E.H. Shepard in the original books. The level of detail that went into the characters is superb, but they aren’t as familiar as the characters from the original illustrations or even from Disney. In truth, they very much resemble real-life stuffed animals that have been worn out over the years, faded in color, and appear as shabby and unkempt. Their “new” look is quite distinct, but it still feels like the same characters we’ve grown up with. Christopher Robin is a nostalgic film, but it’s also a great movie for anyone who hasn’t seen the Winnie the Pooh series or read the books. As previously mentioned, the beginning of the movie brushes us up on a young Christopher Robin playing and saying goodbye to his old friends. The reality is that saying goodbye to your childhood is never easy, but it’s something that everyone does when they grow up. We forget what being a child is really like and how exhilarating it is to simply do nothing. As said in the movie, “doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” Christopher Robin depicts this concept extraordinarily well, which is why this is a marvelous movie for all ages to see. Family, friends, love, and happiness are key characteristics of this production.
Overall, Christopher Robin is surprisingly philosophical because of Winnie the Pooh’s aphorisms, also known as Poohisms, such as “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.” Pooh has always been a bear of very big heart, and this proves him to be a loyal friend. Christopher Robin is a film that we all need in our lives, especially in this day and age. There is a lot going on in our society, and sometimes we just need a break to relax and really take the time to enjoy our lives; that’s exactly what this movie provides. It’s charming, slow-paced, hilarious, and downright brilliant.