I was really looking forward to this film as: I loved ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ and I have grown up with the stories and films (especially ‘Piglet’s Big Movie’). Also, Ewan McGregor is absolutely marvellous in everything and the CGI for each of the characters from the story, from what I could see in the trailer, was perfect. Moreover, with such a buzz surrounding this film, I genuinely felt my optimism was justified. Therefore upon my return from my holiday, the first film on my watchlist was ‘Christopher Robin’.
What is it about?
Years after Christopher Robin’s adventures in the “Hundred Acre Wood”, he finds himself working as the Efficiency/ Finance manager at Winslow Luggage Company. Despite a clear and unwavering love for his family, work demands infinitely more of his time than he would like and has lead to his disconnection from them and his former self. When he is forced to stay at home and work, rather than go to the country with his family; he stumbles on a worried Winnie the Pooh, anxious to find his lost friends. With the help of Christopher Robin, Pooh hopes he will be able to find them again. However, what Christopher Robin doesn’t know; is that the initially troublesome visit, may actually be the thing that saves him.
What did I think?
This film put a huge smile on my face. I loved Tigger and Eeyore and Piglet; but most of all, I loved Winnie the Pooh. Jim Cummings is the perfect voice to represent the character because he perfectly blends the character’s innocence with touches of bravery, stupidity and crucially, palpable heart. The heart he injects into the film, is the cause of almost all the emotion throughout it’s running time. Despite the fact I didn’t cry during the film, upon rewatching the trailer I have been choked up just hearing his voice. The other main positive I came away with after watching this film, was the astonishing character development of Christopher Robin. Ewan McGregor slowly unveils changes to his character, over the course of the film; rather than a singular drastic change upon his initial meeting with Pooh (as I had suspected.) Fearing this would be the case, I was greatly relieved when it wasn’t. The reveals were greatly anticipated and actually helped to heighten the drama. Finally, I enjoyed the film’s resolution and felt the high it finished on, made the whole experience worthwhile.
However, the plot was a little bit thin and relied on ideas that are in no way original. A man swamped by work, disconnected from his family, is the principal set up for hundreds of books and films and about change (notably ‘A Christmas Carol’.) The only remarkable difference here is, the catalysts for change are the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood. Furthermore, unfortunately from the initial 15 minutes where the backstory and general setup are explained, you can very easily fill in most of the blanks for the rest of the film. Most other criticisms from me are with regard to individual scenes; as, although my earlier criticism may convey the opinion that my overriding feeling was negative, quite the opposite is actually true. Nevertheless, the individual scenes, scattered across the film, that ensued my complaint; certainly did unsteady me and created momentary disjuncts between the narrative and emotion of the film. These disjuncts resulted in prolonged periods of disconnection from the film; however, when I did re-engage, it was back to usual feel-good fun.
My Rating: 6/10
My Rating could have easily been much lower; however, the power of Winnie the Pooh saved this film. He is such a loveable character and because I had so much invested in him, it accentuated my feelings for the all of the other characters in the film. Most importantly it exacerbated the bond between Christopher Robin and his family, which was a central set of relationships in the film. However, despite Winnie the Pooh saving the day; I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed at the lack of ingenuity on display. I had invested a lot of hope in this film and it was only partly repaid.