Sweet as the honey Pooh craves and as charming as the English country town from whence Christopher Robin (2018) and his animal pals sprung forth, this live action animation from Disney spins a different yarn on life in the 100 Acre Wood.
Inspired by the original stories by A.A. Milne and the Disney adaptations which have long entertained fans of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger; the 2018 retelling leaves off from the very last time Christopher Robin was together with his childhood friends. Turning the pages of Milne’s magical stories, punctuated by the classic illustrations of E.H. Shephard, director Marc Forster interweaves the characters of Milne’s imagination into a fictional narrative for a modern generation.
Post-world war II and Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor, is head of the efficiency department at London luggage company, Winslow’s. Eschewing his wife and daughter for career success, much like Robin William’s character in Hook (1991), Christopher has forgotten about what’s really important. The movie echoes Spielberg's nineties offering, presenting the central plot of the magic of childhood versus an adult’s reality and how far removed the two can become.
Like all good tales of a boy who leaves his childhood behind for the responsibility of adulthood, Christopher Robin offers a stark reminder to those of us who are grown to remember where we came from.
This story gives us two protagonists, the boy who became a man and the bear who first held his heart. Long parted by age, distance and the necessities of life, Pooh goes looking for Christopher Robin after losing his friends. In forcing Christopher to return to the 100 Acre Wood after a comedic series of events persuades him that his stuffed friend’s shocking reappearance in his London life will only end in disaster, both protagonists are led towards the very thing they had lost. But it isn’t necessarily the thing they thought they were looking for.
Jim Cummings reprises his long-time role of voicing Pooh and Tigger lending an air of indulgent nostalgia, while Brad Garrett’s Eeyore interjects much comic relief throughout the cinematic “expotition”. Together with his band of playmates, Christopher defeats not only Heffalumps and Woozles but in fact the very issues preventing him from living his best life. Stepping back into his boyhood and the simplicity it allowed gives him the perspective he needs to move forward in his job but more importantly with his family.
The Christopher Robin movie marries the very ethos of Milne’s iconic stories and the language that has become a staple of the adventures of Winnie the Pooh with the shifting political and socioeconomic attitudes occurring at the time. Nothing may come from nothing and dreams may only come from hard work, but ultimately ‘when you do nothing it can lead to the very best something’.
Christopher Robin will be in cinemas from 13 September.
Run Time: 1hr 44mins