Although capturing the adorability of its source material, Christopher Robin leaves little to discover for the imagination of its viewers.
This film follows a grown Christopher Robin portrayed by Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Episodes 1-3, Beauty and the Beast). Christopher has left the Hundred Acre Wood and has seen the dark side of the real world. After facing boarding school, war and settling into an efficiency manager job at a luggage manufacturer, Christopher has lost his inner child. To make matters worse, he must find a way to cut costs at work or see his employees let go. He must manage this while attempting to find time to spend with his wife and daughter before he sends her to boarding school.
The goal of the film is to display there is more to life than work. This is clearly depicted through the film and the message reaches the audience, however, the filmmakers take no chance at subtlety. This theme is pushed consistently through the film by Winnie the Pooh and his friends, especially when the scenes are set in the Hundred Acre Wood. While set in London, specifically in Christopher’s work place, the acting of supporting characters is over the top and comedic. This makes the film suffer by not grounding the antagonist in some sense of realism which would reinforce the film’s message more organically. That being said, the film does have efficient story-telling, it just leaves little for the viewers to discover themselves.
One of the biggest concerns for this film heading into its release was the aesthetic choices made regarding Winnie and the other creatures of the Hundred Acre Wood. However, this element works well within the context of the film.
The mundane aesthetic of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the other creatures changes as the plot progresses. This visual change compliments the theme heavily as the audience experiences the film. Not only do the characters’ aesthetic work, but the entire film’s cinematography team deserves appreciation. Their cinematic choices make the film feel very nostalgic and beautiful. This is complimented by the classic Winnie the Pooh music from Richard and Robert Sherman, performed by Jim Cummings.
While Christopher Robin repeats its message to a fault throughout the film, its message is still no less true. The story lacks subtlety and outside of our main characters, the rest of the film feels almost cartoon-like featuring an eccentric antagonist and items unnecessary to the plot. However, this film does capture the truth of feeling like an adult while delivering on Winnie the Pooh’s nostalgia. I recommend this film to fans of Winnie the Pooh and young adults seeking joy and inspiration.
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