Author A.A. Milne’s beloved bear Winnie the Pooh makes another trip to cinema screens, this time with his favourite boy Christopher Robin as the main focus.
Long gone are the days of carefree adventures with his plushy pals in the Hundred Acre Wood though, as Christopher is all grown up now, and married both to a wife and his job at a suitcase maker in post-WWII London. His job and its many pressures take up so much of his time that his family – both wife and daughter – are suffering due to his absence. What to do? What to do?
Meanwhile, a certain Pooh bear has troubles of his own, whereby his friends such as Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore have all gone missing. What to do? What to do?
It’s intervention time – but who will help whom the most? Man or bear?
Right from the outset, Christopher Robin harnesses the magic of Milne’s classic drawings, bringing them (egregious spelling errors included) to glorious life. It sets the tone – the actually surprisingly dark tone for Disney family fare – for proceedings. This darkness seems intentional, however, for with the adult Mr Robin mired in those pressures of his work, and Pooh seemingly lost to his friends, both are not in good places. But as they aid each other with their issues, and especially as Pooh helps Christopher refocus on what’s most important in life, the tone gradually lightens to great effect.
At the core of Christopher Robin runs a simple and critical warning – don’t ever lose sight of the child within you, no matter your age or the pressures of life. Oh, and never underestimate the powers of a red balloon – just ask Pennywise!
Ewan McGregor is perfectly cast as the imagination-fuelled boy who grew up to be a somewhat un-fun man, while the voice of Pooh (and Tigger) for several years, Jim Cummings, brings a world-weariness and wisdom to the little bear that twangs at your heartstrings. Then there’s Eeyore – lovely Eeyore. He’s scarcely the most “up” donkey in the world, but his bleak world view does bring the biggest laughs.
Christopher Robin is an utter delight of a family film, and it doesn’t require a Pooh-fuelled childhood in order to enjoy it. But watch out for heffalumps!
In cinemas: September 13, 2018
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, the voice of Jim Cummings
Directed by: Marc Forster