'Christopher Robin' review: Oh bother.

Christopher Robin

Christopher Robin.

I want someone to re-create it as a horror movie, please and thank you.

We’ve seen the character of Winnie the Pooh in countless merchandise ventures, films, television shows, etc. throughout the years. Yet, I can’t recall a time when we’ve ever seen him illustrated as creepy-looking as we do in Christopher Robin.

That’s right, we’ve turned all the animated characters who live in the Hundred Acres Woods into live-action, and even though Christopher Robin is aiming to be as innocent and nostalgic as it possibly can be, there’s no denying that Tigger looks like something straight out of a nightmare.

From director Marc Foster (Quantum of Solace, World War Z), Christopher Robin takes place when the one human character in the whole franchise’s canon has grown up and left his friends behind.

Christopher Robbin
credit: YouTube

That’s right, the days of his adventures with Pooh (Jim Cummings), Tigger (also Jim Cummings), Eeyore (Brad Garrett), Piglet (Nick Mohammed), Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo), Roo (Sara Sheen) and Owl (Toby Jones) are long over.

Robin is now a full-grown adult who has to provide for his own family — that being his wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), and young daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) — by working a job that requires quite a lot out of him.

That job is for a luggage company (or something like that, it’s pretty unclear as to what, exactly, they do) in the midst of budget cuts. Robin, being the good guy who can’t quite catch a break, is put in charge of making those budget cuts by his hypocritical boss Giles Winslow (Mark Gatiss), which only puts all the more stress into his life as he really doesn’t want to be responsible for laying anyone off.

Christopher Robbin
credit: YouTube

It’s so much stress that he’s begun to neglect his wife and daughter. They were supposed to spend a weekend up north together, but now it looks like Robin isn’t going to make it.

Enter Winnie the Pooh. While working long hours into the night, the honey-thieving bear happens to wander his way into the real world in search of his long-lost friend.

He doesn’t exactly get the warm welcome that he was expecting. While Christopher Robin is certainly surprised to see him, he doesn’t exactly have time to indulge Pooh and all his nonsense — because, you know, having a full-time job that requires you to actually do work is the worst sin you can commit in a Disney movie.

Yet, Pooh eventually gets through to him. Christopher Robin eventually finds his way back into the Hundred Acre Woods and reunites with all his old friends, who then remind him of the person he used to be all those many years ago.

Christopher Robbin
credit: YouTube

Yes, you’ve already seen this movie before, back in 1991 when Steven Spielberg made a little film called Hook. They are quite literally the same plot from start to finish, only with characters from Winnie the Pooh this time instead of Peter Pan (Foster also directed Finding Neverland back in 2004, to drive the point home).

While not everyone loves Hook, the movie managed to attract an audience because it plays on nostalgia of a property we’re all familiar with while also giving a new kind of spin on the tale. Christopher Robin is desperately trying to do the same thing, only it’s pretty evident that Foster doesn’t have the same kind of talents as Spielberg as a lot of the magic is missing.

Most of that is due to all of the human characters, as none of them did much of anything in this movie.

Christopher Robbin
credit: YouTube

I firmly believe that Ewan McGregor is one of the better and more underrated actors that is working in Hollywood today (there are a billion different examples you could use to prove this, but the first one that comes to my mind is season three of Fargo). He does all he can in Christopher Robin to turn this role into something special, but the problem is that the character just isn’t written that way.

In fact, Christopher Robin is actually the least interesting character in this whole thing — which is a major problem when the film revolves around him. The whole arch around his character is really cliché and predictable, and also kind of nonsensical at that.

I’ve never really understood why Disney felt the need to vilify a character who works a lot. Yes, when you work so much that you completely neglect your family that’s a problem, but the whole aspect of the movie comes off like such an over-the-top cartoon that I don’t buy it for a second. At its core though, adult human beings do have jobs and, sometimes, those jobs require them to work late — so why, exactly, are movies like Christopher Robin making that out to be the greatest sin someone can commit? I guarantee that if there was a character who didn’t have a job in this movie, they’d be portrayed as lazy and stupid, so it really becomes a ridiculous double standard.

Christopher Robbin
credit: YouTube

Hayley Atwell and Bronte Carmichael are actually both really good in the movie, but the problem is that they’re given virtually nothing to do until act three — which, at that point, it’s already too late.

Yet, while none of these human characters really work, I can’t deny that all of the Winnie the Pooh characters carried a certain amount of charm along with them.

Yes, you can sit here and nitpick this movie for hours on end — why did Pooh chose this day to re-enter the real world? Why does the door to the Hundred Acre Woods appear in random places at random times? etc. etc. Still, when we’re actually spending time with the stuffed animals, I had a pretty big smile on my face. It’s innocent and sweet and, at times, they’re actually able to achieve that emotional angle they’re trying so desperately to reach (even if it comes off as totally manipulative at other times).

Christopher Robbin
credit: YouTube

Christopher Robin isn’t the slam-dunk that it should have been. In trying to be a Hook-like movie, Foster went too far and basically just recreated Hook, only he forgot tomato it interesting. There are still scenes when the movie starts to redeem itself, and while those moments don’t last, they still work pretty well in a vacuum.

Watch the trailer for Christopher Robin here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the movie!


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'Christopher Robbin' review: Oh bother.
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Brandon Schreur

The fella over there with the hella good hair. Movies and TV are my jam, and the fact that I get to write about them on a regular basis is the bees knees.

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