Review: Christopher Robin

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An adorable, innocent jaunt down memory lane.

When Christopher Robin grows up, leaving childish things behind and becoming a husband and father, he is shocked when his childhood friend, Winnie the Pooh, finds him in London. Pooh claims he needs Christopher’s help to find the other animals of 100 Acre Wood.

Based off the children’s stories by A.A. Milne, this new film sees the classic characters of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, and the others, depicted in a “live action” setting, with Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin as an adult. This could be considered a terrible idea… after all, it wouldn’t be the first classic British children’s story made into this sort of film. Paddington has two films now (and the less said about Peter Rabbit’s live action outing in 2018, the better…) and the premise can be just as frowned upon as those. Honestly, even though this film didn’t make half the amount of money that the first Paddington film did… this one is far more wholesome and faithful to the stories which it is based. Who wanted to see dear Paddington bear shove toothbrushes in his ears and smell what came out on them?

No, by this comparison, Christopher Robin is a very, very laid back, humble, and heartwarming affair.

It doesn’t necessarily start out that way. In fact, it does everything it can to remove Christopher from his childhood. Certainly, through the 1930s and 1940s, we have a montage of him going to boarding school, where his teacher berates him for drawing, his dad dies, he meets his future wife Evelyn, has a daughter, goes to war. Christopher is put through the wringer, and out the other end is a man who puts all of his efforts into work. He doesn’t smile, he reads history books to his daughter at bedtime. It is extraordinarily on the nose.
If you think this sounds like spoilers, it is not; all of this is within the first fifteen minutes.

This montage is cross edited with Winnie the Pooh sombrely looking at the closed door of 100 Acre Wood. It is quite an intense beginning. It goes on to show Christopher working as a manager in a baggage production company, and currently has the task of cutting costs… through firing employees.

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Of course, everything kicks off when Pooh bear enters the door, and appears before Christopher in London. The film has a whimsical charm about it, Pooh as a character remains unchanged; he isn’t too much of an idiot (no more than usual), he is terribly innocent and quiet, even when exposed to the wider world. He is more interested in the fun someone can have with a balloon.
Honestly, the entire film could have been simply this: an older, exasperated Christopher Robin trying to comprehend a fun loving, soft-soften Winnie the Pooh. Ewan McGregor did a great job acting alongside a CG character. The story obviously escalates from here, but it keeps things reasonably simple; there’s no bathtub rides down the stairs.

The CG on the animals is great. Pooh is absolutely adorable. Which is more than I can say for Paddington or Peter Rabbit.

It is a very straight forward and nicely made film. The production values were good, the characters were written well enough (Christopher and Pooh definitely have the highest quality given to them), some lines are a little made-for-purpose.
The story was by no means as heart-wrenching as it could have been… I was worried it might destroy me. But they keep it just right, a happy, fun little time which does make us all feel about our childhoods and what might have been left behind.

I would recommend it, for a nice easy Sunday morning or afternoon. It is harmless, adorable, and full of happy memories.

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