For the second time in a year, I find myself venturing into the Hundred Acre Woods yet again to explore the simple and sweet world of Winnie the Pooh. In 2017 I said in my Goodbye Christopher Robin review that Winnie the Pooh would be brought back into the public eye, Disney seems to agree that people have been without the honey-obsessed bear for too long, hence Christopher Robin. For me, Christopher Robin in the stories is the character best representative of the innocence of a child’s imagination, but now Ewan McGregor plays a Christopher Robin with an adult mind and adult responsibilities. Now whilst the adultness of the character can apply the brakes on this film, it’s not an emergency stop because the film is still very sweet, and the adventurous nature of Christopher Robin is still present.
Where Goodbye Christopher Robin is aimed at an audience who have grown up with A.A. Milne’s creation, Christopher Robin is a film made for those who have just been introduced to the icons of children’s literature, although parts do demand that you already know the characters. There are remnants of the original illustrations and stories, the montage of Christopher Robin growing up is separated and explained like chapters of the original stories (e.g. In Which Christopher Robin goes to war) which I felt was a quick but nice way to homage the original stories. Once the narrative gets going, Ewan McGregor who plays Christopher is a workaholic which is making him lose his bond with his wife and daughter. Ewan is great in the film
The sweetest of the sweet and to me, the main attraction for anyone who grew up with Winnie the Pooh is Jim Cummings, one of the most masterful voice actors returning as the voice of the yellow bear himself, as well as Tigger. Just the softness of his speech alone is enough to make anyone feel gooey inside. Whenever Pooh is on the screen you feel at ease because of how well Jim’s voice has gone hand in hand with the character for so many years. Speaking of which, Pooh is marvellously adorable, he is the heart and soul of the whole film. A bear that is dopey, clumsy but oh so adorable. He has a very simplistic, relaxed way of looking at life, something that has been lost in Christopher Robin as an adult, father and husband.
I loved the effort that went into designing Pooh and all his friends. They don’t stay in the same condition over time, they too age. You can see for yourself that the colours have become darker and there are traces of wear and tear, exactly like what would happen to a forgotten toy. This emphasized the fact that these characters have been forgotten about over time, but once on screen, the positivity is so in your face you can’t help but smile as you are pleasantly reminded of how magical these characters are.
Behind the magic however, Christopher Robin is not as impressive in its intentions to attract the child audience as more adultness creeps its way into the narrative. One of the main dilemmas of the film is for Christopher Robin o come up with a plan to decrease expenditures. Just from reading that out loud, what child would find that interesting? I already got the message that the film wants a plain and simple narrative, but adding this dilemma complicates the narrative for its main target, children, and if this dilemma was put it so the adults would be entertained it was a weak attempt. If the filmmakers want plain and simple, just have the strained family relationship as the main dilemma, something that everyone of all ages can understand.
This confusion affects the softness of the tone. Taking place in 1950’s London, it is understandable to see the busy, dreary city life, however, there were more grey colours than I had bargained for. The vividness of colours can paint emotions but the level of emotion we get from the grey London backdrop is on the point of depression. I found myself impatient, I was wondering when we would see Christopher Robin back in the Hundred Acre Woods on an adventure with Winnie the Pooh and friends. That’s the film I think we were all expecting, but once the adventure begins, the film kicks the tone into overdrive and it does eventually become cuddly.
Watching Christopher Robin, sitting next to me was a little girl who has brought a Tigger plush and was cuddling it for the duration of the film. Upon seeing this I knew that this was the kind of magic Winnie the Pooh could bring, the moments she held her Tigger plush the tightest were the moments that worked. The idea viewing of Christopher Robin is to be snuggled up with a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear or just a childhood toy because as adults, we are almost forbidden to not have innocent imaginations. Christopher Robin then is a release of the stranglehold, a film where we can be and do what we want without judgmental looks. Although the film has a bitterness to it, the sweet-as-honey feeling we get will be remembered the most.
Final Result: 7/10 – Good
Have you seen Christopher Robin? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: BlacKkKlansman