Christopher Robin is in theaters now and is a live-action feature combined with CGI, as well as comedy and drama. It features our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. You know them right? Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl. As in many recent Disney live-action films, we find the main character going through struggles between work and family, and trying to figure out how to balance both.
We all know the Disney versions of the classic A.A. Milne stories about Pooh and his love for honey, a red balloon, and how the characters react to even the simplest thing that goes wrong. Christopher Robin, however, tells the story of a grown-up Christopher Robin and the dilemmas he’s facing with work and finding time to spend with his family.
The movie begins as most of the Disney Winnie the Pooh stories have begun – with a storybook, and we visit the different chapters in the book as the story is told. We go back to when Christopher Robin was growing up, and how he would play with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. His friends then wish him ‘fairwell’ as Christopher Robin goes to boarding school. However, he leaves behind a small box with drawings of his animal friends under his bed. He eventually grows up, joins the British army, finds the love of his life, and starts a family. With that also comes a job that becomes a burden for him, and he has little to no time to spend with his family. Promises made are broken, and there is nothing Christopher Robin feels he can do to make things right. That is until he finds an old friend while sitting on a park bench wondering how he can fix what he has broken between work and family. That friend, of course, is Pooh.
Christopher figures he needs to make things right, and heads to the family cottage, but then returns to the Hundred Acre Wood where he finds more old friends and discovers what is more important to him – his family. On the way back to London, Christopher leaves behind important paperwork in the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore have to now figure out a way to get those papers to Christopher Robin in London. They find his daughter playing in the backyard. She’s confused as to what is happening, but she knows that her father needs those papers. An adventure to London begins, and hilarity ensues! Trains, cabs, delivery trucks, boxes, cars and more become a big part of the story. Christopher Robin is then reunited with his family, and he returns to work to make a presentation to his bosses. The owner of the company congratulates him, and now Christopher Robin and all the other employees of the company can now spend more time with their families.
Combining live-action with CGI is very difficult and can sometimes make the CGI characters seem out of place. That is not the case with Christopher Robin. The characters seem very lifelike that you would have thought that they were filming the scenes with Ewan McGregor the entire time. The scenes in the Hundred Acre Wood are simple and required not too much to create simple effects. Creating a London of the late 1940s seemed like an easy task as well with its simplicity.
We all know the classic Pooh characters of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl, but now we are introduced to a grown-up Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor. He portrayed Christopher Robin as one would expect – the overworked and underpaid husband and father working to provide for his family as best he could. Hayley Atwell who played Evelyn Robin was quiet and simple in her role while trying to understand her difficult and timid husband. Bronte Carmichael portrayed Madeline Robin, Christopher and Evelyn’s daughter who spent most of her time reading and studying because her father was just not there to devote time to her. Mark Gatiss plays Giles Winslow Jr., who is Christopher’s boss at Winslow Luggage. He’s the typical ‘you work for me and do nothing else’ type boss that one expects in movies like this. As the movie goes on, you can see how each character grows when even the slightest thing changes for them. They each do what they can to add to the story, but it’s Christopher Robin and Madeline who grow the most as they figure out how to make things better for themselves and each other.
The music in the movie is simple and heartwarming. Geoff Zanelli and Jon Brian make the soundtrack simple and help it flow nicely with the film. We also get to hear some classic Winnie the Pooh music by the Sherman Brothers, as well as some new music by Richard Sherman. There were times I found myself singing to those Sherman Brothers classics like ‘Up, Down and Touch the Ground,’ as well as ‘The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers.’ The music can definitely bring a smile to anyone’s face, and it leaves you wanting to hear more of the classics.
While Christopher Robin may seem like the typical ‘overworked and underpaid father with no time for his family’ type film, the story is very heartwarming and heartfelt. It does feel a bit predictable at times, but it reminds you that it’s okay to remember your past while working towards your future. This movie may not be the big summer action blockbuster, but it’s a nice film for everyone. Just seeing the classic Pooh characters get into their usual antics is great. There was lots of laughter, and I could even hear some sniffles here and there. And of course, please stay through the credits for a fun little surprise! I definitely enjoyed that! So out of 5 honeypots, I give it 4-1/2 honeypots! This film will leave you smiling and wanting to dream yet again!