True to the gentle philosophies found in A.A. Milne’s classic Winnie-the-Pooh Tales, Disney’s CHRISTOPHER ROBIN will bring a tear to your eye and a smile upon your face. In some ways the movie is a tender-hearted Dante’s INFERNO for kids and any adult concerned about losing his or her inner child. As Dante began his epic lost at the edge of a wood, the adult Christopher Robin’s crisis brings him into and out of the 100 Acre Wood initially shrouded, like its prototype, in fog and mystery but happily without any of the Divine Comedy’s sense of terror.
As Christopher Robin, Ewan McGregor is as focused, honest in his acting and charming as ever — a perfect casting for a character lost in work and in need of redemption. In that sense, the basic plot is not unlike that of 1964’s MARY POPPINS. Of course, here Winnie-the-Pooh and friends are the catalysts that restore the overworked, conformist of a man to his family and rekindle the spark of his individual soul. There’s not as much POPPINS’ magic in this film, however, and no one sings any songs (with one exception) so CHRISTOPHER ROBIN feels a bit less joyful, Yet, there’s laughter to be had and a good deal to beam about. Thrill seekers be warned: the second act is quiet and slow; only the third act has the more typical action and suspense typical of many contemporary family pictures such as those in the wonderful (yet very different) PADDINGTON BEAR (Studio Canal Pictures).
As with PADDINGTON, the digital animation aspects that enliven the storybook characters and enhance the sets are seamlessly woven into the realistic contemporary English locales. The supporting cast is admirable, too. Hayley Atwell as Mrs. Robin and Bronte Carmichael as the daughter are naturals and remain true to the understated flavor and thoughtful spirit of the movie appropriately conducted by director Marc Foster (Finding Neverland and The Kite Runner).
I am happy to report that CHRISTOPHER ROBIN offers a sweet experience at the movies. I recommend it to children age seven and beyond and all adults fond of A.A. Milne’s books and classic characters.
August 10, 2018