Friday, August 3, 2018

Christopher Robin - Review

Disney and their live-action adaptations are here to stay it appears, though the word adaptation isn’t as exact for this round. Christopher Robin takes a different approach, opting for more moments of darkness than quirkiness in a tale that takes the theme of childhood never truly dying and gets lost with it amidst the trees of the Hundred Acre Wood. 

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) -- now a family man living in London -- receives a surprise visit from his old childhood pal, Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings). With Christopher's help, Pooh embarks on a journey to find his friends — Tigger (Jim Cummings), Eeyore (Brad Garrett), Owl (Toby Jones), Piglet (Nick Mohammed), Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo) and Roo (Sara Sheen). Once reunited, the lovable bear and the gang travel to the big city to help Christopher rediscover the joy of life.

In a very similar fashion to Hook, another story that sees an adult version of a character rediscover childhood fun and whimsy, Christopher Robin takes a while to get going. And even when it does, the predictability can get in the way of the story the film is trying to tell. While going for a handful of emotional moments, it falls just short of hitting the minimum mark that would’ve elevated the material. 

Though the film doesn’t quite deliver the emotional moments, it manages to be incredibly sweet, a quality that may as well come prepackaged with a film featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends. The humdrum London life that has befallen Christopher Robin in adulthood is undoubtedly dull, but compare it to the life that these stuffed animals breathe into the film, and its outright unbearable at times. 

And the film is truly at its best when the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood are on screen. The character designs themselves are tremendous as well, with each character having a unique texture and look to them that feels real. The whole cast really delivers in their respective roles, particularly Brad Garrett as the adorable Eeyore, but simply hearing Jim Cummings back as both Pooh and Tigger is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. 

Christopher Robin is not anything remarkable in terms of story or craft, but it contains enough heart to bring a sense of magic to the summer movie season as it winds to a close. Winnie the Pooh and friends are inherently sweet and every instance of screen time with these playful pals is a delight. For anyone seeking hope in the constant turmoil of the real world, a trip to Hundred Acre Wood might just do the trick. 

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