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'Christopher Robin' (2018) Review

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Christopher Robin grows up, but his imagination never ages.


In an age where almost every live-action Disney movie is a remake of a beloved animated film, Christopher Robin (2018) was one of the few films that actually took a different path and it showed people what would happen if Christopher Robin, of Winnie the Pooh grew up and left his childhood behind, and it would make an interesting story. What Disney made with it, is kind of the typical man whose life is devoted to work and having little to no time with his family and then his past comes back to remind him that not everyday has to be around work and he has to rediscover what it means to be happy for his family, yeah it's kind of like Mary Poppins and Hook somehow morphed into a Winnie the Pooh story. So are you ready to go down to memory lane and see Winnie the Pooh look like Paddington in cute, admirable CGI? Let's find out.


Christopher Robin is moving to a boarding school in London so his stuffed animal friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, consisting of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and Rabbit throw him a going away party. Nearing the time of his departure, he tells Pooh that he won't ever forget him. However, due to the constant teasing he receives from other school boys and the teacher's strictness, he soon loses all sense of imagination and matures. He even fights during the war and returns to England as a hero.

In present day, Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is now a full-grown adult, working as an efficiency expert at a luggage company, managed by the demanding Giles Winslow Jr (Mark Gatliss). He is also married to an architect named Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and has a daughter named Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), whom he plans on sending her to the same boarding school he was sent to as a kid. Due to other counties in England having seeing their services as unnecessary, Giles tells Christopher that they must lay off 20% of the employees and Christopher must do paperwork on it and turn it in by Monday, despite the fact that Christopher has planned a weekend getaway to the countryside with his wife and daughter. After telling Evelyn about the task at hand, she tells Christopher that his life is happening before him and he must see it and she and Madeline head out into the country the following morning.

Meanwhile, in the Hundred Acre Wood, Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings) awakens to see that he has run out of honey and discovers that the Wood has been deserted. Believing Christopher Robin knows what to do, he is suddenly confronted with a magical door that leads to the real world and goes through it and ends up in London, where the overwhelming tribulations he goes through tire him out, so he rests on a bench in an unknown garden. Coincidentally, Christopher sits on the bench behind it in the same garden while trying to figure out how to do his work and in an instant, the two are reunited. Christopher is shocked to see Pooh after so many years and soon reluctantly agrees to take Pooh back to the countryside since the doorway he came in magically vanishes. After many misadventures in the city, the two hop on a train headed for the countryside while Christopher tries to do his paperwork.

Christopher tries to leave Pooh at the tree to go back to the Hundred Acre Wood but eventually decides to reluctantly help Pooh find his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. After searching for hours, Christopher eventually becomes exasperated at Pooh's absent-minded childishness when they come across a sign that gives a warning about Heffalumps and Woozles, to which Christopher scoffs at due to them being non-existent, but soon feels guilty about yelling at Pooh when the two are separated. Christopher soon finds Eeyore and Piglet and eventually discovers that everyone in the Hundred Acre Wood, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and Roo are hiding in a tree because they think they hear a Heffalump in the area. Christopher decides to pretend to fight off the Heffalump so that his friends can come out of hiding. After a short reunion, Christopher leaves the woods after finishing his paperwork and his friends are sad that he has left after a short while. Christopher encounters his wife and daughter when they see him from the cottage he used to live in as a boy and they believe that he has decided to be with them after all, but they are disappointed when he explains that he really must get to Winslow and is unable to explain why he is in the countryside.

In the Wood, Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger find Christopher's paperwork, or as they call it his 'Important Things', and they decide to go to London and return it to Christopher since they believe a 'Woozle' (actually Winslow) will eat him if he doesn't turn them in. En route, they encounter Madeline, who recognizes them as a drawing made by Christopher when he was young. She feels as though if she helps them return Christopher's paperwork, he will reconsider sending her to boarding school. She leaves a note for Evelyn and takes the stuffed animals to London. Christopher arrives at the luggage company to promote his idea to cut 20% of the work force to Giles and his father, but soon discovers that his paperwork is missing. As he tries to save face for the Winslow's, Evelyn comes in and shows him Madeline's note, leading the two to go find and Christopher knows she's with Pooh and his friends based on the word 'expotition'. Meanwhile, after they reach London, Madeline and the stuffed animals see that they're running out of time to get to Christopher's meeting, so Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore ride on a suitcase tied to a car to get there and eventually land on Christopher and Evelyn's car, but they lose his paperwork in the process. Meanwhile, Pooh and Madeline make it to Wisnlow's Luggage and find the paperwork, but a gust of wind blows it away.

Christopher and Madeline reunite and he promises to be a better father and says that she doesn't have to go to boarding school, now seeing that his family is more relevant then his job. An off-hand comment from Evelyn gives Christopher an idea on how to save the company and he goes back to Winslow's office to propose his idea, to do nothing as he believes people who go on vacations will buy their luggage and humiliates the stuffy Winslow by calling him a 'Woozle' since he hypocritically takes time away from work himself to go golfing. Impressed and amused at this, Winslow Sr. agrees to Christopher's idea and decides not to lay off his employees. The film ends with Christopher and his family having their retreat to the countryside as they visit the Hundred Acre Wood, meeting all of Christopher's stuffed animal friends.


And was Disney's Christopher Robin and I would take this over many unnecessary live-action remakes.



With that said, I thought that the film was quite charming, because seeing Christopher Robin grow up and Winnie the Pooh having to get him back to his old ways, through playtime and imagination, it is kind of simple and to the point.


However, it's really the story that prevents it from being an original and very exciting one, mainly because this story about the central protagonist going from an innocent child for his love for stuffed animals, to a busy, responsible adult who works overtime and has to come up with a business idea or else his job will be in danger. Yeah, I've seen it before in countless movies, like Mary Poppins, it's sequel and Hook, and you can predict early on where it's going to go. But because the main characters are having these dilemmas of Christopher Robin going mad after he sees his friends but has to discover his childhood and try to find the joy in life in order to make his family again. Plus seeing The Hundred Acre Wood in live-action is kind of interesting, in fact they shot where the real Hundred Acre Wood took place and have the characters look and feel like they were part of their environment and even when they look a little worn, they still have plenty of life to them.


Christopher Robin is your typical father having to work and not be there for his kid and while Ewan McGregor does a good job as the adult Christopher, he ends up as a walking trope and every line and every delivery is pretty much done to show that yeah, this is what the grown up Christopher Robin would do since normally it would be all about Pooh and the gang! And the other characters like the boss is your typical greedy figure who only cares about his money and threatens to lay off his employees, you also have the wife who is the love and support and you have the daughter who is innocent and not trying her hardest at acting, and you have the familiar characters like Pooh who is great even in CGI, Tigger who is still bouncy, Piglet who is still timid, Eeyore who is always Gloomy, Rabbit and Owl who are the real animals as referenced in the books, and Kanga and Roo who are the mother and son who tag along. And to make this film stand out from the rest, is that not only is the first live-action Winnie the Pooh film but also the first one that focuses on a human character, that being Mr. Robin.


Now also, for fans of the book, this is a more fictional Christopher Robin and not the real life Christopher Robin who was the son of the author A.A. Milne, who grew up not liking his father's work and separated his childhood from manhood, and it's still kind of the Americanized version and not the original story, so that makes this the first time Disney has made a Pooh story not based on any made by Milne.


I think the reason why the script is simplistic, it's because it's Winnie the Pooh, it's not supposed to be complicated, that's why the message of this film and the solution at the end was so polarized. And it maybe a tired lesson, but it's meant for younger audiences and it doesn't feel out of place. It's a shame that many Disney live-action films nowadays don't even try as hard. And that's why I would take this over the other live-action movies that are considered remakes and this one is not a remake, but an original story, sort of.


Not every remake has to be gritty, cynical and action-packed and star characters with complex backstories. Sometimes it's best to think about it yourself, rather than movies handing it out to you on a silver platter. And that's what this film does. Christopher Robin (2018) is a decent Disney film to check out and if you are a Winnie the Pooh fan, I suggest you find this either on Disney+ or on Blu-ray. You'll probably learn how growing up can sometimes lead to you regaining your sense of childhood and imagination.


7/10


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Comments16
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Plopback's avatar

A GOOD Disney remake?

NicholasTheBlueGWR's avatar

I consider this film to be more of a continuation/sequel of the original The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh film than a live action remake.

Colinidas's avatar

This movie was so good! I was in tears when Christopher Robin hugged Pooh after the Silly Old Bear said "But, I found you didn't I?"

Fidget2621's avatar

The movie was great. I never seen the movie before for the first time.

SlainetheArtist's avatar

Yeah, this was a great movie.

AgentHotman's avatar

Who would've thought Obi-Wan would be a good adult Christopher Robin?

Twilyx360's avatar

The only Disney live action remake that I felt like actually had a reason to exist.

Scholarly-Cimmerian's avatar

This movie was a real pleasant surprise for me to watch. It is a basic story, but one that works quite well because of its execution. One thing that I think really works for the story's benefit, is that while Christopher Robin has kind of forgotten how to have fun as an adult, he's still clearly a good man all the same. He's not become a jerk or anything, he's just overworked and needs to reassess some stuff.

Really good movie. When are you going to review Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?

I wonder what the real guy would've thought?

Ry-BluePony1's avatar

Obi Wan Kenobi was the right man for the role of Christopher Robin

Oh sorry sorry again.

filmgeek1999's avatar

Well said as always, Sparky!

thomasformerswars101's avatar

that is a good movie. i remember seeing it 3 times at my movie theater that i work at (i live across the street from it) & it still holds up hehe.

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