The Christopher Robin Review You Need to Read
As Christopher Robin heads out of theaters after this weekend, it’s time for a Christopher Robin review that will help determine whether you should see it or no!
I was practically raised in the Disney Parks of Florida. Waking up early, wolfing down a bowl of cereal as fast as I could, slathering on sunscreen to appease my mom, and running from the door to the car were all necessary steps to beat the crowds to TTC.
After what seemed like an eternal monorail ride, rope dropping the Magic Kingdom, yes, way back when the welcome show was still on the platform of the train station, was an event my family and I would never miss, not only because it meant short attraction times, but because mornings on Main Street USA are about the most magical times to be there.
Old time trolleys carry performers up and down the street, street cars circa 1950 patrol the bends of Town Square, and my anticipation for an autograph from favorite rare characters are what inspired 5-year-old me to leap out of bed at my mom’s first wake up call.
Hey, if Peter Pan were at school every day, I would have jumped out of bed like that every day! All flaws with the school system aside, a hug from Eeyore or Winnie the Pooh on an early Magic Kingdom morning is what childhood was all about, and this week, I took a trip to the cinema in the hopes of getting a taste of that same euphoric buzz I got as a kid…Christopher Robin, let’s see if you pulled it off.
The Christopher Robin that I- and everyone- knows and loves is a bounding, imaginative boy whose desire for grown-ups’ intellect matches his childhood need for play. Everyone knows this version of Winnie the Pooh, and the opening scene depicts Christopher in his recognizable- albeit human- boy form.
The Hundred Acre Wood is sunny, Pooh and the whole gang are partying with their best bud, and the honey pots are plentiful. The short opening scene paints the picture of the Hundred Acre Wood in a happy, carefree time frame, and Christopher Robin and his stuffed-animal friends don’t have any worries other than where they will go to do nothing.
Fast-forward 30-some years, and we see Christopher Robin as a London-based associate who is overworked, under-paid, and misery-stricken. The easy-to-follow plotline quickly takes shape, and we learn that in order to prevent layoffs from his company, Christopher Robin will have to work all weekend to work on a new budget, sending his lonely wife and daughter to their weekend cottage in Sussex on their own.
His daughter is sad, his wife disappointed, and were it not for a visit from Winnie the Pooh, Christopher’s weekend would have been spent alone too…
Winnie the Pooh
The set-up was quick and I liked that it didn’t take very long to get to the nitty gritty of the plot. Pooh’s arrival in London is what gets the cogs turning with the story, and once over the shock of seeing Pooh in the heart of dreary London, the real adventures begin!
Pooh’s presence immediately succeeds in lightening the otherwise dark tone, and his kind-hearted intentions quickly turn Christopher’s peaceful flat into a chaotic mess, prompting Christopher to return Pooh to the Hundred Acre Wood- through the tree in yard of the Sussex cottage.
I’ve always liked Pooh for his adorably slow and easy-going personality- really, how can you not? His calm demeanor and adorably relatable innocence is what made me fall in love with him as a child. The Pooh on the journey from London to Sussex was just…annoying.
He was SO oblivious to his surroundings that instead of rooting for Pooh the few times Christopher Robin lost his temper, I felt for Christopher! Sure, the somber message was clear that Christopher’s work replaced his friends from childhood, but I wished that the lengthy screen time Christopher spent with Pooh on the journey was filled with more smiles and less angry outbursts and annoying, emotionless line deliveries from Pooh.
For Every Generation
The plot is simple. There isn’t really a subplot, and the family consisting of 3 children under the age of 10, parents, and a set of grandparents that sat in front of me held each other a little tighter when the two got back to the Hundred Acre Wood.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the introductions of the other characters like Eeyore, Rabbit, and Tigger. My ONLY complaint is that I wish I could have seen more from the animals I grew up loving! Eeyore is introduced floating lazily down a river, and his pessimism is as on-point and fitting as ever, really eliciting the nostalgic tummy butterflies I was hoping for.
Without giving it away, the ‘Tigger Song’s’ placement in the film is absolutely brilliant, and it’s the little touches like this that made that family in front me laugh and nod in appreciation; it’s a true family film!
More Woods, Less Reality
Christopher ‘returns’ Pooh home, and in the same second a few key characters opt to follow Christopher right back to the real world when faced with the thought of more dreary, Christopher-less days in the Hundred Acre Wood. The CGI on the animals became very apparent when the film transitioned to reality…and it was nothing short of amazing!
That’s high praise coming from someone who would prefer puppets to animation in a live-action movie any day of the week. Christopher’s daughter discovers that her father’s important business papers were left in the Wood, and she takes it upon herself to return them to him before his big budget meeting.
She becomes close with old friends like Tigger and Piglet, and while I knew how the film would end within the first 10 minutes, I found myself edging a little closer to the front of my seat on the high-speed race against the clock!
I know the movie is titled Christopher Robin, but my biggest takeaway was: I wished there was more time spent in the Hundred Acre Wood. The reason my friends and I chose to see the film isn’t because we wanted lengthy scenes in London or gloomy cinematography- we wanted to see an adult Christopher Robin spending time with his old friends!
Yes, that happened, but for a much shorter period of time than we had anticipated, and while the film ended on a generally happy note, I left thinking more about how much of an annoying downer Pooh was than about happiness in the Wood.
My friends and I enjoyed our time at the movie, but after discussing our feelings on the way home, we realized that the dreary scenes and a less-than-cheery Pooh left us feeling a little sad instead of warm and fuzzy….
Should you see it? My vote is yes…although I might caution avid fans of Winnie the Pooh otherwise. My childhood experience with Pooh was pretty strictly limited to Disney Parks and storybooks. One of my friends who saw the film with me grew up watching cartoons, reading stories, and steeping his daily activities in anything Pooh-related he could…and he left the theater downright disappointed.
I enjoyed the film, and the adult in me liked the contrasting cinematography, the impressive CGI, the nods to the traditional story, and the impressive acting by McGregor (how does one act so well when their scene partners don’t exist?). I did not enjoy the amount of time spent in the real world, the annoying and expression-less depiction of Pooh, the angry outbursts by Christopher (does he ever smile?), and the minimal amount of on-screen Tigger time.
Weighing the pros and cons, I would say to go see the film. It certainly wasn’t my favorite that Disney has ever released, but for nothing else other than a good, wholesome theatrical experience suitable for any age, Christopher Robin is the film to check out! I hope you enjoyed this Christopher Robin review!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer thrilled to a part of your Disney vacation planning! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!