Disney’s trend of reimagining (or remaking) animated classics into live action movies continues with Christopher Robin, which reunites the once imaginative boy as an adult with his friends from Hundred Acre Wood. In recent years, the mouse house (Disney) has focused on these live-action reimaginings instead of creating original movies. While the majority of these efforts have been successful and entertaining, honestly, something has been missing from all of them. After viewing Christopher Robin, it’s apparent that the earlier remakes have been missing a sense of purpose. This is not the case with Christopher Robin. As warm and delightful as the “hunny” Pooh always thinks about, Christopher Robin teaches a valuable lesson that resonates with both adults and children.
Winnie the Pooh and friends reunite with old pal Christopher Robin — now an adult.
Just like any of Winnie the Pooh’s other adventures, the story of Christopher Robin is simplistic. Christopher Robin has left Pooh and his other friends from Hundred Acre Wood to grow up. Christopher says he won’t forget his friends, but we all know how forgetful we become as we continue to age. Fast forward to Christopher as an adult; he’s married, has a daughter, and spends more time on the job than he does with his family. When Christopher has a tight deadline for a project that would keep him away from his weekend-planned family trip, he’s left with a dilemma.
“What to do? What to do?” Christopher wonders. “What to do, indeed?” a voice replies back.
Enter Pooh, who just so happens to return at an opportune time for Christopher, and that sets the two off on an adventure full of fun, hilarity, and fond memories that not only tug at the heartstrings, but also serve as a reminder of the delicate balance between home life and work. While Christopher Robin mainly focuses on Christopher and Pooh, every other friend from Hundred Acre Wood–Eeyore, Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo–gets their moments to shine throughout the course of this 100-minute feature thanks to the movie’s strong (and often funny) script. Thanks to visually remarkable effects that bring the toy animals to life, the mannerisms and dialogue of the characters are pitch perfect; they will either have you grinning from cheek to cheek or reaching for the tissue box anytime you see them on the screen. And if you were a regular follower of Pooh and his friends, you’re sure to recognize a number of memorable lines (and some songs) included in the movie to hearken back to the characters’ and viewers’ younger days.
The cast of Christopher Robin, both on-screen actors and voice actors, are simply delightful. On the human side, Ewan McGregor gives his best performance in recent memory (minus Fargo) as the adult Christopher Robin. Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) as Christopher’s wife, Evelyn, and Bronte Carmichael as his daughter, Madeline, are both wonderful, even if their roles are small. The voice acting, however, is what stands out above all else. Jim Cummings is perfect as the voice of the humorous and honest bear with an always-growling tummy, Pooh. Cummings also does a wonderful job of voicing Tigger, even though the movie doesn’t give the bouncing tiger as much screen time as fans might have hope for. While Pooh is the main attraction in Christopher Robin, Eeyore, voiced by Brad Garrett, steals the show. Aligning with the movie’s, at times, somber tone, Garrett delivers line after line with such overwhelming despair that it leads to some of the movie’s funniest moments. The other voices from the friends from Hundred Acre Wood are also spot on, including Toby Jones as Owl, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit, Sophie Okonedo as Kanga, and Sara Sheen as Roo.
Beautifully shot with a swelling score, it’s difficult not to appreciate the world of Hundred Acre Wood created by Disney. Anyone who has ever come into contact with a Winnie the Pooh story is sure to find something to like here. Sure, there might be a debate about whether Christopher Robin was made for adults or kids. While the marketing material may not bear it out, the movie is more somber and heavy-handed than audiences might expect; some adults might find themselves thinking back to 2004’s Finding Neverland. However, director Marc Forster strikes a firm balance between telling a story that can be appreciated by both adults and children. No matter the age, those who venture into Christopher Robin are sure to be more than happy they revisited Hundred Acre Wood–even if heffalumps abound.