Every once in a while we all need a reminder to preserve the kid and the sense of adventure that comes with it.
While somewhat chaotic at times, Christopher Robin is a pleasant but hardly earth shattering affirmation that life needs to strike a balance in all aspects in order to find genuine happiness and to appreciate what is important in life.
The days in hundred acre wood are long behind now working class family man Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) who is caught up in the hustle and the bustle on the busy streets of London trying to provide for his family. One weekend while forced to work overtime and having to cancel on a trip to his family cottage and childhood playground; Christopher Robin gets a visit from an unexpected old friend that reminds of the pure joys of life in his friends and his family while discovering how the simply joys of being at play actually have practical application in the adult world.
While unmistakably infused with a genuine sense of chaotic whimsy; Christopher Robin does have its fair share of messy moments along the way through the narrative but with visual effects that make these characters just as adorable as ever, by the end of the film any flaws give way to an overwhelmingly warm feeling in your heart and a reminder to let yourself enjoy this gift of life every once in a while.
It’s kind of fitting that director Marc Forester pulled this assignment to direct this film because in many ways it does follow some similar beats from his 2004 film Finding Neverland. It’s all very nice, with squared away production design and quality visuals from beginning to end as no one has ever accused the man of making an ugly movie. The script from Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy and Alison Schroeder is a little uneven, with the act structure feeling a little all over the map from time to time. Granted it’s supposed to feel a little chaotic, but it comes across in the structure to the point that it does take you out of the moments that they are trying to create, if only a little bit. It’s all warm and fuzzy with a clear cut message to be sure, but it feels like there could have been a more direct line to get us there.
Granted the film’s name is Christopher Robin, but it almost felt like we had just a little too much of our title character throughout the film and not enough of Pooh and his friends from Hundred Acre Wood and that just felt off. Ewan McGregor was more then up to the task as our title character as the man is certainly capable of playing things with serious candor in one minute but joyful exuberance the next. It’s about a man trying to rediscover his joie de vivre and he lets it play as a slow burn rather than flipping a switch and it’s ultimately for the better. Hayley Atwell is fine as his wife but the part is underwritten while Bronte Carmichael does a delightful job as Christopher’s precious daughter. The voice ensemble for Pooh and his friends led by Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Peter Capaldi and Toby Jones were wonderful to the point that you kind of hope to get a movie with just them getting into adventures without their old friend now grownup, getting in the way.
When all is said and done, Christopher Robin is a fun little romp with an important message but you can’t help but shake the feeling that this movie needed just a little bit more of the honey that is Winnie The Pooh.