Friday, August 3, 2018

Christopher Robin

Christopher Robin is a safe, by-the-numbers, inoffensive Disney live-action film that is likely to appease (although probably not delight) its target audience. Based on the Winnie-the-Pooh stories by A. A. Milne, Ewan McGregor stars as the fictional character Christopher Robin (originally based on Milne's own son) who has grown-up and left his childish things long behind and currently is lost in a stressful job while struggling to connect to his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael). In the midst of a crisis, Christopher Robin is shocked by the sudden appearance of his old friend Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings) who arrives in London and enlists Christopher Robin to help find the rest of the old gang who have disappeared.

There's an interesting idea for a dark comedy in Christopher Robin about a middle-aged man having a psychotic break and running into the countryside with a make-believe talking bear made of felt. Sadly, that's nowhere near the film Disney was interested in making. Instead, Christopher Robin takes his pal back to the old stomping grounds and, while in search of the other characters, rediscovers a bit of his old self.

One interesting choice the film does decide to make is to allow Pooh and all his other friends to be real (and not just figments of Christopher Robin's imagination). Other characters in the film can see, and be shocked by, the talking animals. Their "realness" does make the inconsistency of their design a bit perplexing, however. Most of the characters closer resemble a plush toy while others look far more like real-life animals (such as Rabbit and Owl). Other than being rather uninspired, and drawing far inside the lines of its predictable plot, there's really not much wrong with the film that should appeal to a wide family audience (especially Winnie-the-Pooh fans). Those interested in the story behind Winnie-the-Pooh's creation, and the real boy who inspired the character, should check around for last year's Goodbye Christopher Robin.

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