By Jessica Jen
As a child, I enjoyed following Winnie the Pooh’s adventures because I liked the idea of having sentient stuffed animals. Watching “Christopher Robin” about a decade later brings back the same smiles and cheer, along with a bit of nostalgia. Despite some exaggerated moments, the movie has charm, especially for those familiar with the “Winnie the Pooh” stories, but who haven’t revisited them for a while.
“Christopher Robin” opens up with animated pages narrating the original “Winnie the Pooh” story. Storybook animation flashes back and forth with live action film until it settles on the adult Robin (Ewan McGregor). Robin is an overwhelmed man who seems to neglect his family, but in reality, he is working day and night in hopes of building a more secure future for them. When Pooh (Jim Cummings) accidentally stumbles into London via a magical doorway, he meets a very stressed (and shocked) Robin, who skips work to send Pooh back home.
Even though the film focuses on the adult Robin rather than on the toy animals’ adventures, the movie still retains the characteristic childish curiosity and wonder of the original production. The unique features of each character are expressed so that they are as recognizable to the audience as they are to Robin. Pooh is constantly hungry for honey, Eeyore (Brad Garrett) is as dismal as ever, Piglet (Nick Mohammed) still loves his acorns and Tigger (Cummings) has probably never stopped bouncing. The animals’ quips and idiosyncrasies garnered laughs from the audience, especially Pooh and Eeyore’s matter-of-fact statements. The familiarity of Pooh and company is one of the best features of the adaptation.
“Christopher Robin” coveys a valuable message — cherish what is really important. Yet, the plot seems almost predictable at times and unrealistically exaggerated at others. Robin is an adult who reconnects with Pooh and company by happenstance, but after some time in the Hundred Acre Wood, he acts even sillier than the child Robin. For example, he pretends to vanquish a Heffalump (never seen, but implied through loud noises and flying leaves) to gain the toy animals’ trust. While this scene highlights the stressful life Robin was living before, it makes his change seem too dramatic.
Nevertheless, “Christopher Robin” delivers the comfort of the original production. Watching the movie is like taking a fond visit to the past. Like Robin, viewers are charmed by the return to the Hundred Acre Wood and the characters in it. Much like the honey that Pooh is so fond of, “Christopher Robin” is sweet and heartwarming, and will leave the audience in smiles as they depart the Hundred Acre Wood again.
Contact Jessica Jen at jessicajen23 ‘at’ gmail.com