VOD film review: Christopher Robin
Christopher Robin and the mid-life crisis6
Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger and co.’s stunning animation8
Roxy Simons | On 23, Dec 2018
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael
Watch Christopher Robin online in the UK: Disney+ / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
When Christopher Robin travelled to the Hundred Acre Wood in A. A. Milne’s classic story, he probably wasn’t thinking about what would happen when he became an adult – let alone those who were reading, or watching, the series as children. Well, the answer to that question is here in Marc Forster’s take on the character’s story. In a sweet animated sequence, viewers are brought up to speed on how Christopher came to leave the home of Winnie the Pooh and co. to embark on the rocky road of his teenage years. We see Christopher go from hopeful child to tentative adult and World War One veteran within a matter of scenes, so it’s no wonder he’s forgotten all about his furry childhood friends.
When we next return to Christopher’s (Ewan McGregor) life, he’s become a jaded grown-up, so bogged down by the mundanity of adult life and responsibility that he’s forgotten what it means to be happy, so focused on work and making ends meet that he’s forgotten what’s important in life. He barely spares a thought for his wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), or daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). In his absence, the Hundred Acre Wood has taken a dark turn; Tigger, Piglet and co. are nowhere to be found, and Winnie the Pooh is left all on his own. He reminisces about his friend, and when he might return, before finally deciding it’s time to go to Christopher himself.
The honey-loving bear heads into the human world to find his friend, and in a charming turn of events drops right back into Christopher’s life, much to the man’s shock. Resistant at first, Christopher is determined to be the ‘reasonable adult’ in this situation, trying to bring the little bear home, so that he can go back to his (very serious) adult life once more. But as he spends time with Pooh, and the other residents of the Hundred Acre Wood, he begins to remember what matters in life, thus kickstarting an emotional journey of self-discovery.
By this point you might be thinking, ‘hang on, isn’t this meant to be a kid’s film?’ Well, that’s the thing: Christopher Robin seems to be as much a film for adults as it is for children. It’s hard to ignore the film’s overt message for its older viewers, parents and others alike not to forget their childhood joy and wonder. Kids are unlikely to take much notice of Christopher’s hardships or his realisation that life isn’t all about working yourself to the bone – they’re probably focusing on the adorable fluffy characters on screen. So, in that sense, Christopher Robin is more likely to have an impact on its adult viewers than anyone else, but that’s not such a bad thing.
It’s not just the children who will look in wonder at the incredible visual effects that bring Winnie the Pooh and his friends to life. The bear and co. are beautifully rendered on screen, from their intricately detailed figures to their emotive expressions, and even the detail of sticky fur from a pot of honey is a wonder to see. It’s all too easy to fall in love with the fluffy characters all over again, and their characters are made even more appealing thanks to the familiar voices lent to them, particularly Jim Cummings in the role of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Brad Garrett’s familiar baritone voice as the downcast Eeyore is also a highlight, while Peter Capaldi’s appearance as Rabbit makes for a nice surprise. The entire voice cast make their characters so charming and full of life, it’s hard not to keep the smile off your face the minute they speak.
While the film may be a little confused on who it’s meant to be appealing to, the message it brings is clear: don’t sacrifice your happiness because of adult responsibilities. Christopher Robin’s life is universally relatable, and it makes you realise that sometimes, all you need to get through hard times is a friend, furry or otherwise.
Christopher Robin is available on Disney+ UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription or a £79.99 yearly subscription.