Disney’s Christopher Robin starts off on a high note. Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh have gathered in the Hundred Acre Wood to say goodbye to young Christopher Robin. He’s about to leave for boarding school so they give him one final send off. It’s great to see these characters come to life and they’re every bit as fun and cuddly as you will remember from your childhood. But once Christopher leaves through that door in the tree, the fun disappears until the last 20 minutes of the movie.
We soon meet an older Christopher Robin played by Ewan McGregor. He’s got a wife (Hayley Atwell), young daughter (Bronte Carmichael) and a corporate job at luggage manufacturer. The company is about to do a big round of layoffs and as you can imagine, he’s stressed. On top of that, he’s all but forgotten (or ignored) his magical time with Pooh and friends.
When his wife and daughter leave for the country, he stays behind to work and that’s when Pooh shows up in the real world. You’d think after all these years of not seeing his furry little friend, he’d be excited. Nope. That because Christopher apparently has turned into huge jackass. Pooh is just a huge inconvenience. So he brings him back to the Hundred Acre Wood where he meets up with all of his old friends and again, he doesn’t seem as happy as you think. If you were friends with a bunch of cute furry animals who could talk, wouldn’t you be ecstatic to see them?
And what’s worse, each time Christopher gets mad at Pooh, it feels like tiny needles stabbing you in the heart.
It’s only towards the end of the film, when all of the friends are in the real world, that things are back to where they should be: fun.
McGregor is wonderful as Christopher but it’s a shame that director, Marc Forester, and screenwriters, Alex Ross Perry, Allison Schroeder and Tom McCarthy made him such a curmudgeon. Atwell, who could have easily just played the put-upon wife, makes her into something that is much more than that.
But, watching these characters come to life is a real treat. And the voice actors are perfectly cast. Jim Cummings as Pooh and Tigger is wonderful. He matches the voices from the original cartoons, it’s almost like Sterling Holloway (the original voice of Pooh) never died. And Brad Garrett as Eeyore has some of the funniest lines in the film.
Hopefully at some point, Disney will take these live action characters and make a movie that is as joyful and heartwarming as the characters we all fondly remember.