REVIEW: Disney’s “Christopher Robin”; A Fun Movie With A Lot Of Heart
Going into the movie “Christopher Robin”, I really feared the worst. Normally when a movie is good, Disney will have the review embargo lifted two weeks before that movie comes out, usually on a Tuesday. When a movie is bad, Disney does not provide critics with advanced screenings, and the review embargo ends practically hours before the movie is made available to general audiences, as a way to not discourage audiences from seeing the movie. Christopher Robin seems to have fallen into the latter category. There were no early Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic scores to give the audience some indication about how the critics felt about the movie. Plus, there has been zero buzz about this movie. These were all very bad signs pointing to a disaster of a movie.
I don’t know what Disney was thinking because Christopher Robin is an excellent movie! It is just so well done from beginning to end and it just flows very nicely. It is one of those movies that once it starts, it’s hard to take your eyes of the screen. There are times where the movie will remind you of Hook, and even sometimes Mary Poppins, but by no means is it a lesser movie.
Christopher Robins begins where we see all of animals from the Hundred Acre Wood gathering together for a picnic to say goodbye to Christopher Robin. He is off to boarding school and no one is sure if they will ever see him again. As it turns out, Christopher Robin grows up and deals with some strong realities of life, and the once happy and lovable boy is now a shadow of his former self. Pooh senses that something is wrong and travels to London to search for Christopher Robin. This leads to some misadventures for both Pooh and Christopher Robin, and the adventure really begins when Christopher is reunited with all of his favorite childhood friends.
I had seen The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh many years ago when I was very young. It was a wonderful kid’s movie that introduced really fun and loving characters, but it also taught some lessons to the viewer along the way. I was never really a Winnie The Pooh fan. He just seemed like he was for really young children. But after seeing Christopher Robin, it made me want to revisit the original movie and examine it from an adult point of view.
I think what is fascinating about Christopher Robin is that at its heart, it is a children’s movie, but seeing it as an adult, it is much deeper than that. I had read that each character in the Winnie The Pooh series represents a mental disorder, but I would like to think that there is a nicer meaning than just that. Watching Christopher Robin made me realize just why Pooh has always been at the front and center of the stories. Pooh is the leader of the group, who has consistently demonstrated immense loyalty and love for his friends. And that also includes Christopher Robin. And it is mentioned several times in the movie that Pooh is a bear with very little brain, but what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up for in heart. And you do start to realize that maybe Pooh is the one that has it right. Pooh finds happiness in the simplest things, like a little red balloon or a jar of honey. When asked, what is his favorite day is, Pooh simply answers, “Today”. Christopher Robin had lost what was important in his life, but he learns from Pooh that it is the simple things, which are sometimes right in front of him, that really make him happy. And what is really wonderful is Pooh is teaching the audience that lesson too. Pooh may not be as elegant as Yoda, but he definitely has a lot of wisdom to share.
I thought the cast did a fantastic job. Ewan McGregor really channeled an adult Christopher Robin and what I loved about his character is that he did not come across as resentful at all, but just someone that was lost. He was a very caring husband and father and a loving person. Jim Cummings provided the voice of Winnie The Pooh, and he sounds exactly like the original voice actor, Sterling Holloway. All of the voice acting is just perfect. And it is nice to see Hayley Atwell (“Captain America”) again and she does a great job as Christopher’s wife.
The CGI created for the characters in Christopher Robin is just flawless. Good CGI is when you forget it is CGI and you just accept those characters as living and breathing characters (or stuffed I guess in this case). I would say the one thing that I did not like is that it seemed like the characters were very drab. They lacked the color and brightness that we have seen in the original Winnie The Pooh animated movies. Tigger to me seemed to have the color palette of a Dole Whip Swirl. I can understand that they were going for the look and feel of vintage stuffed animals, but felt that a little more color would have been nice. And as much as I loved Pooh, for some reason he was the only stuffed animal that did not blink and he came off as a bit creepy at times. But not all of the time.
What has me worried about Christopher Robin is that I think Disney may have dropped the ball with this one in terms of marketing, especially with the trailers, and as I had mentioned before, the review embargo should have been lifted much sooner. And I’m not sure if it was a good idea to name it Christopher Robin. Reminds me of John Carter. The title is too bland and wouldn’t be surprised if audiences thought it was more of a documentary instead of a family film. Hopefully I’m wrong and the movie will have a very good box office this weekend. It truly deserves it.
Christopher Robin is one of those rare, non-animated films that you can bring the whole family to and everyone should have a wonderful time, especially the youngest members of the family. And it’s nice to leave a movie and smile, not only because it was a good movie, but also because it may have reminded you of what is really important in life too.