Out this week in cinema’s is the next chapter in the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and his best friend Christopher Robin.
Starring Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell Christopher Robin follows Christopher Robin (McGregor) the best friend of Winnie the Pooh as an adult. It has been years since the young man left 100 Acre Wood for boarding school and since then he’s married, had a child and even gone to war.
Christopher Robin is a changed person and is almost completely detached from his family and any sense of fun. This stirs Winnie the Pooh into action and he goes off searching for his bestie. It doesn’t take long and when Winnie meets up with the titular hero they are off on a jolly adventure to reunite the old crew and maybe along the way recapture some of that childhood magic Christopher Robin is missing.
It’s weird to think there are two films about Winnie the Pooh and neither completely capture the spirit of the character. There is, of course, Goodbye Christopher Robin which was the true Hollywood story of the creation of Winnie the Pooh and the denizens of 100 Acre Wood. That film was not great, surprisingly depressing in my eyes. Now there is Christopher Robin which is a story that follows the actual character in his fictional journey.
Unfortunately, this film has similar issues. Though there is far more magic in this story and the characters of 100 Acre Wood they are brought down by the murkiness of the real world. Not nearly enough time is dedicated to the magic nature of 100 Acre World instead the audience are “treated” to too many train excursions across England. The first time is charming but after that the scenes are distracting.
The theme of the film is also somewhat muddled. It’s clearly a story about a man having a midlife crisis and his childhood literally coming to save the day. That, however, is not a film that will interest a child. There are also a ton of silly moments throughout the film that are quintessential Winnie the Pooh and these moments won’t be for adults. So with these clashing themes, the film loses a lot of its potential audience because you’re not sure who it’s for.
Christopher Robin‘s cast is also a mixed bag, easily the highlights are Pooh and the gang. With some of the cast returning from the 90’s cartoon (Jim Cumings reprising the role of Winnie the Pooh) there is a wonderful sense of connection to them. They also have several great lines of dialogue that warm the heart and remind you of your childhood and the ridiculousness that ensued.
The human characters, however, are less impressive. Ewan McGregor is not nearly involved enough to come across as a convincing Christopher Robin. He needed to have a particular rapport with Pooh and he never fully achieves that. Hayley Atwell plays the dutiful and long-suffering wife Evelyn well but is given nothing else beyond that. It’s a shame because you can tell when she is involved she is having have a blast. The real misstep came in the form of young actress Bronte Carmichael who should have been the emotional linchpin to connect Christopher Robin with his childhood and his adulthood. Unfortunately, she’s not utilised to her fullest potential and the film suffers because of that.
Ultimately Christopher Robin is a decent film but there’s nothing particularly memorable about it. There’s still another bear that has conquered the cinematic landscape and I recommend seeing him instead (it’s Paddington).