‘Christopher Robin’ tells the story of the grown up friend of Winnie The Pooh trying to balance his own life with his day job. Suddenly, the beloved bear comes back to London in his search for the boy who always gave him hunny.
When the trailer for this movie was released, it had me curious about the tone of the film. In recent years, August is the month were Disney fills the slot with a movie that they don’t believe too much in. Movies like The BFG and Pete’s Dragon have been released during this month.
A very extended and well crafted prologue sets the tone and fills the gaps of Christopher Robin’s life between his last day in the Hundred Acre Wood and the current setting. This first act also familiarizes the viewers with the aesthetic of the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. For those who thought the characters looked ‘creepy’ when watching the trailer, these scenes quickly brush off any preconceived notions you had from the trailer. Besides that, the first act includes some nostalgic pills that only true Pooh fans will instantly recognize..
Similar in tone to ‘Saving Mr. Banks’, ‘Christopher Robin’ leans on nostalgic elements only to establish the characters, but the overall story has its own personality.
Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin fills the screen in such a way that never makes you think he’s talking to CGI characters. Hayley Atwell also makes a great job as Evelyn, Christopher Robin’s wife, dealing with problems on her own. The voice performances of each character also show some real love and care for this movie.
The interactions between Christopher Robin and Pooh are some of the deepest conversations about childhood and adulthood, taking some really unexpected turns. The movie doesn’t worry if it goes into a really depressing state. These philosophical conversations meditate on how it is necessary to reconcile ourselves with our childhood in order to move forward into our adult stages. In the classic Hero’s Journey structure, the main character leaves his town in order to find new adventures. In ‘Christopher Robin’ the inverse happens: Christopher Robin needs to go back to his past in order to move on with his life. The movie isn’t about never growing up; the movie is about showing the importance each stage of our lives has in order to be a well balanced human being. All of this conversations are done in such a funny, gentle, teary eyed way that you’ll never truly think about the themes of the movie until the credits begin.
Even though the movie is a well balanced film, it isn’t flawless. The transitions between each act fail to be smooth because each act completes an arch for each character. The amazing work that the writers have done in many of the dialogues gets lost on structuring many plot points. Even though it has this major problem, you accept it as an audience. The concept of the film is so strong and the tone so unexpected that it takes you to a wild ride, heading to a satisfying conclusion. I watched it with someone who wasn’t a Winnie The Pooh fan and still was able to relate with the characters in a profound way.
Every once in a while, Disney releases a live action movie that has the potential for strong word of mouth that keeps on going for years. People still talk to me about ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ as one of those movies that has engaged viewers on a deeper level. ‘Christopher Robin’ has the thoughtful conversations, engaging storyline, great actors, and consistent visual identity that is enough to generate interest among many audiences. You might not be a fan of Winnie The Pooh, but that is no excuse for dropping some tears and letting your heart melt because of a stuffed bear.