Christopher Robin (AU - G/UK-PG/US -PG)

In a Word: Imaginative

 Christopher Robin

 

"As a film, the first half is plodding cautionary tale about poor work-life balance. But the second half picks up the pace to become a rollicking adventure as the animated cast make their way out of the woods into the big city of London."

Disney has had mixed success as they translate their classic library of animation into live action films. Following hot on the heels of Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Beauty and the Beast, comes this reimagining of Winnie-the-Pooh. 

Disney’s Christopher Robin (not to be confused with the 2017’s emotional biographical drama Goodbye Christopher Robin) is a live action fantasy that effectively serves as a sequel to the many stories and animated films based on Winnie-the-Pooh. 

Winnie, Tigga, Piglet, Eeyore and the rest of animated animals will be immediately familiar as they make the transition from 2D drawings to 3D CGI. The biggest shift is that Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is no longer a boy, but a grown man, married to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter from the Marvel films) with a daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) who is now the same age that Christopher once was when he first played with Pooh.

Time has changed Christopher Robin. Boarding school, war and career has turned him into pragmatic workaholic with no time for his family, friends or leisure. The reappearance of Winnie-the-Pooh turns his life upside down as he is unwillingly plunged back into a world of imagination and playtime. It takes a while, but eventually Christopher begins to rearrange his priorities, with family taking the proper place in his life.

As a film, the first half is plodding cautionary tale about poor work-life balance. But the second half picks up the pace to become a rollicking adventure as the animated cast make their way out of the woods into the big city of London.

Younger audiences may not be immediately engaged as the older Christopher Robin works through his mid-life crisis, but if they can stick with it, there is much fun to be had once Pooh and his entourage take to the screen. True to the characters there is a lot of “punny” word-play and clumsy slapstick to provide amusement. However, the best moments comes from the various shocked reactions from the other humans when they first meet this cast of talking toys.

Christopher Robin is a light-hearted, nostalgic adventure that tries hard to speak to both older and younger audiences. It a simple tale and for the most part quite predictable. Though Winnie-the-Pooh is a self proclaimed “bear of little brain", he is nonetheless a font of some undeniable wisdom and a proponent of the value in family, fun and, most of all, imagination.