Movie Review: Christopher Robin is a carefree reunion

Movie Review: Christopher Robin is a carefree reunion
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Disney’s new Christopher Robin is a singularly sweet episode of late summer entertainment. Fans of Winnie the Pooh and his friends will be most at home seeing this new story in the Hundred-Acre Wood. It’s the reunion, however, of two friends that anchors this new movie.

It’s as sticky and alluring as the honey Pooh bear is always craving so desperately. But by focusing the story on adult Christopher, the set up of him as a god-like character to his forest friends is finally challenged. It’s smartly interesting to finally see Pooh guiding Christopher Robin instead of the (usual) other way around.

The story sees an adult, work-stressed Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) unsure how to solve a budget crunch at work. However, a threat at home finds Pooh (Jim Cummings) needing help to find their friends. And once Christopher saves them, Pooh and the gang must then save their beloved Christopher Robin.

Pooh Bear, in this new film more than ever, is endlessly wise. Even decades after he first came to the big screen in 1977’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pooh is as quotable and likeable as ever.

Photos: Buena Vista Pictures

The most interesting comparison between the fantastic Hundred-Acre Wood and the “real” world is how Christopher Robin himself is influenced and influences. Whether his phrases or lessons come from his nasty boss or Pooh, there’s a great lesson being shared. That lesson? Wisdom both good and bad will always trickle down to those looking up to us.

Perhaps it’s that…dare I say it…winsome attraction that makes Pooh so watchable. This film is the rare story where he isn’t the main character. Thankfully, McGregor acts with such vulnerability and drive he’s an equally compelling character.

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What’s more disappointing is the strange pacing of the story’s structure. The first half is almost all Christopher and Pooh bear with the new family or their more famous friends. Another five minutes with Chris’ daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) or reordering the one, gentle peril scene would have given the film a much better flow.

For true Disney aficionados, there are dozens of references and nods to previous Winnie the Pooh films and stories. There are jokes and in-jokes to past Pooh stories over the last 40 years, eliciting smiles from those in the know.

Christopher Robin has the same attraction and approachability as most Pooh stories. But it’s also the largest innovative and creative step these stories have taken in years. There may not be a desperate rush to see this in cinemas. But it’s immensely more fun than the appalling Hotel Transylvania 3, for example.

And even if Christopher Robin is more or less the same, there’s many worse things kids could be doing than spending time with a certain silly old bear.

Christopher Robin
2 1/2 out of 4 stars

PG, 1hrs 44mins. Family Adventure.
Directed by Marc Forster.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Jim Cummings, Bronte Carmichael, Hayley Atwell and Brad Garrett.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

As a bonus tidbit – be sure to stay for the mid-credits scene. There’s a new Pooh song written and performed on screen by the legendary Richard M. Sherman that’s a wonderful surprise.

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