‘Christopher Robin,’ a new style of Disney movie
Sam Gutierrez | Wednesday, September 5, 2018
From Cinderella dancing in a ballroom with her Prince Charming to Belle falling in love with a Beast in the countryside of France, Disney is looking to recapture its fan base — and their money — by retelling childhood favorites through live-action movies. Since the release of “Cinderella” in 2015 and the most recent release of “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017 to widely positive praise from critics, Disney is digging deep into their library of content to find new ways to tell their most beloved stories.
“Christopher Robin,” directed by Marc Forster (“World War Z”), is the newest movie released by the Mouse House, and looks to capitalize on the multi-generational fan base of Winnie the Pooh. The movie follows the life of Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) as he leaves his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood and heads to a boarding school in England, leaving his childhood behind. As an adult, he marries a woman named Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and they have a daughter (Bronte Carmichael). After fighting in World War II, Christopher comes home and begins working at Winslow Luggage as an efficiency expert. In the middle of all this, Christopher promises to take his family to Sussex for the weekend, but because of the pressure he is facing, he decides not to join his family on vacation, upsetting his wife and daughter.
With a daunting challenge over his head, Christopher struggles to find a solution to the company’s problems. It is not until later in the weekend at a nearby park that he discovers Pooh. Refusing to believe his childhood friend is with him, Christopher takes Pooh back to his house and quickly learns that all of Pooh’s friends have disappeared. After refusing to help Pooh find them, Christopher finds Pooh has accidentally destroyed all of his kitchen shelves. Realizing it may be less damaging to help Pooh quickly find his friends, Christopher heads out on an adventure with his old friend to discover what is truly important in life.
The pacing of the film varies greatly from one act to another. Acts one and two slowly climb to a fast-moving act three, which makes it difficult for the film to stay captivating for audiences. Also, the film’s color palette keeps our beloved creatures from the Hundred Acre Wood looking very worn out, with little or no color emanating from them. At the onset of the story, Christopher’s life has followed a very predictable plot arc — although he was once a joyful and creative boy, he has turned into a distant adult who puts his work over his relationships.
Although the characters from A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh,” including adorable Piglet, overeager Tigger and gloomy Eeyore, are loved by children all over the world, it quickly becomes apparent that this movie is not for children at all. The first piece of evidence for this is that Christopher Robin, the character through whom we experience this story, is an adult. We see how Christopher is constantly battling against the responsibilities of adulthood. The message the film is trying to show us is how important it is to always keep that inner child within us alive and to not let the troubles of the world shut out our innate childlike spirit.
Even with a very slow-moving plot and predictable movie tropes, “Christopher Robin” delivers a very heartfelt lesson that people of all ages can learn from. Although this movie does not have the same magic that Disney is known for, “Christopher Robin” is definitely a film worth seeing as the summer movie season comes to a close.