FILM REVIEW: CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (2018)

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Winnie The Pooh: People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Toby Jones

Synopsis: A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.

Christopher Robin is a charming throwback to one of my childhood favourites, Winnie the Pooh based on the children books by A.A Milne. As a child I loved watching Winnie, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl get into many adventures with Christopher Robin. It was innocent, simple and fun. This film like Hook (1991) and Alice in Wonderland (2010) shows what happens when your childhood hero grows up into adulthood. Although Christopher Robin was never my favourite part of those stories he was the audience surrogate and represented a child using his imagination and just playing around with his toys. This film of course deals with his loss of innocence and how he has now put work over having fun and especially not giving time to his wife and daughter who desperately seek his attention.

The film opens with a young Christopher Robin enjoying time with Winnie and company which shows their friendships (and perhaps gives some insight for those who aren’t familiar with the Pooh series of books and cartoons). He says goodbye to the gang and thirty years later Christopher is all grown up (played by Ewan McGregor) and is married to Evelyn (played by the brilliant Hayley Atwell who is completely underused) and has a daughter, Madeline (played well by Bronte Carmichael). She is a very obedient child who excels at school and is not quite sure how to have a fun time or play in the backyard as her father did as a child. While his wife and daughter go for a trip back to Sussex, Robin has to stay and work which puts a strain on his relationship with his family. As they leave, Winnie and company magically come back after thirty years.

Once they reappear the film has a lot of fun with the characters and they show Christopher Robin how to recapture his love of fun as a child and reconnect with his family. The film is pretty clichéd however I do love these characters and it was fun to revisit them after all these years. The film wasn’t that successful at the box office so I wonder if it will get a sequel but I could see more adventures with Winnie the Pooh and Madeline in the future. It could be a renaissance for the characters and the franchise. Just like Paddington Bear which has become very successful.

The film is beautifully shot by Matthias Koenigswieser and I enjoyed the character designs. They are very realistic and show a realistic vision of these fluffy toys coming to life. The English settings are beautiful to look at and the voice actors do a magical job of capturing these characters personalities. The film leans into the business side of Christopher Robin’s life a bit too much which slows the movie down and may push the limits for kids under five.

B

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