After recently reading a fair few uncomplimentary critic reviews for Christopher Robin, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. But, I was actually pleasantly surprised. And my wife absolutely loved it!
The movie begins with Christopher Robin as the child we all know from the stories. He’s having a farewell tea party with Pooh and the gang in the hundred acre wood – a chance to see this latest incarnation of them all, beautifully rendered, different from what we’re used to, but still very familiar. Christopher Robin is leaving them to head off to boarding school, so it’s going to be a while before we see them all again.
From there we quickly skip through the next few chapters of Christopher’s life, while the opening credits play. Boarding school, the death of his father, meeting his wife (Hayley Atwell) and heading off to fight in the war, before returning home. We pick up again with him while working for Winslow, a luggage company. His manager (a brilliant performance from Mark Gatiss) is putting pressure on him to come up with cost saving measures, in order to save the failing company, and demands that he work the whole weekend in order to come up with a solution. Christopher was due to go away with his family that weekend to his childhood home in Sussex, so must let them down once again in favour of work. Hayley Atwell is greatly underused in this movie, but plays the disappointed wife very well. Daughter Madeline doesn’t think her dad ever was a child as all he wants her to do is work hard in order to go to boarding school, read her boring books instead of fun books and work instead of play. He’s a far cry from the young Christopher Robin we know.
The whole movie is very dark and gloomy looking, with bright vibrant Disney colours rarely to be seen, even more so in this first part of the movie. Aside from some small comedy moments, this isn’t really a kids movie at all.
When Pooh arrives in London, seeking out Christopher Robin having lost Tigger and his other friends, the tone of the movie immediately changes. The wonderful, soothing, familiar voice of Jim Cummings bringing this silly old bear to life as he tries to adjust to Lon-don life. There are some wonderfully funny moments, full of heart, even more so when the whole gang are finally reunited and all causing chaos in London.
While never quite reaching the dizzyingly high standard set recently by the amazing Paddington 2, Christopher Robin still manages to provide you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside and a very funny, enjoyable experience. And with a lesson in making sure your embrace your inner child thrown in too!