Christopher Robin Review
Disney’s Christopher Robin gives fans an interesting look into an older version of the beloved character and brings Pooh and friends into the real world. However, did Disney fully recapture the magic of the 100 Acre Woods and give fans moments they want to see?
As mention before, the film follows an older Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) after he had left Winnie the Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings) and friends to go to boarding school. As an adult, Robin now has a wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael) and struggles to balance his personal and work life. After going through tough struggles and leaving the 100 Acre Wood, Robin has become a little disillusioned and unenthusiastic towards life leading his wife and daughter to feel unloved by him. Feeling his struggle from afar, Pooh feels he must spring into action and comes to the real world in order to help his dear friend Christopher Robin rediscover his happiness and child-like wonder.
At face-value, Christopher Robin definitely brings the charm and fun dialogue that the A.A. Milne’s books had. Seeing Pooh and friends in their live-action forms made it impossible to crack a smile on my face and having a group of incredible voice actors portray the group of iconic characters made their appearances feel authentic. Cummings, Brad Garrett, and Nick Mohammed especially deserve some credit as Garrett makes Eeyore’s darker and more depressing humor incredibly fun and Cummings brings great energy to Tigger and Pooh.
However, the looks of characters like Rabbit and Owl felt a little out of place for me as instead of having them looked like stuffed animals, they were made to look like real animals and it made them stand out in a bad way. The film also misses some key moments that could have made the return of the 100 Acre Wood residents feel a little more welcomed. Some references to Pooh’s past works and a better score could’ve given fans some nice nostalgia to make them feel right at home.
The 100 Acre Wood also feels a little too dark and dreary to bring back the magic that fans remember. The forest feels a little too realistic and it never truly feels like audiences are entering the place where child-like imagination roams free and Pooh and friends have adventures. Honestly, whether Christopher Robin is in the city of London or the 100 Acre Wood, the only difference between the two places is who lives there.
McGregor brings both stoic, adult attitudes and child-like fun together in a truly wonderful way. His performance make Christopher Robin a deep character and showcases why he is so important to the world of Winnie the Pooh. It may take some time to get there, but audiences will slowly fall in love with McGregor’s incredibly charming personality. Atwell and Carmichael follow suit and bring excellent performances of their own to the story.
The film also brings a great art style to remind viewers the impact A.A. Milne’s has on the characters and sets up a really solid opening. The film, while feeling very familiar to other stories about the redemption on a down on his luck dad, is told in sections that give both Robin and Pooh interesting stories of redemption. It fit perfectly with the film’s opening giving us a chapter-like look into Christopher Robin growing up and starting a family.
The opening, however, also presented an issue that still bugs me after leaving the theater and thinking about the film. It shows the tough and troubled life of Christopher Robin and highlights issues, like PTSD and losing a loved one, but never really touches on them. In a way, they spark a conversation topic but choose not to continue the conversation afterwards. It feels a little lazy to me and gives younger viewers less understanding on the topics. It also felt like a missed opportunity to gives Christopher Robin a deeper emotional connection to Pooh and the audience.
So even with a few missteps and missed opportunities, Christopher Robin brings the titular character, Winnie the Pooh, and the rest of the crew back in a mostly authentic way. Seeing them on-screen and hearing their voices will warm even the coldest of hearts and it may take some time, but it will be nearly impossible not to love the film.