Thursday, August 2, 2018

Christopher Robin Review: Pooh's Return is a Delightful Experience

When Disney is not producing animated or superhero films the studio is busy retelling their classic tales in a live action format. From Cinderella to Beauty and the Beast the studio continues to take their animated classics and breathe new life into them with these new retellings. The latest title to take in this live action leap is not an adaption of a classic movie but rather a film that centers on a particular character; and in this case it is the bear from the Hundred Acre Woods Winnie the Pooh. The stories of A.A Milne and E.H Shepard have played a pivotal part in Disney as the tales of Winnie the Pooh have been told in a variety of films as well as other mediums such as television. Now the iconic bear and his friends return to the silver screen in the film Christopher Robin. Directed by Marc Forester Christopher Robin takes a different approach on the Winnie the Pooh series as, rather than reflecting the books, the movie takes a page from the likes Hook and 2010's Alice in Wonderland and centers on a grown up Christopher Robin. While this idea is nothing new this direction could bring new life into the classic series.After watching the movie I can say that Christopher Robin is as much a homage to the series as it is a delightful adventure.

As noted the movie is about Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) reuniting with a grown up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) who venture to the 100 Acre Woods to find Pooh’s missing friends all the while dealing with Christopher’s personal conflict. At its core the story of Christopher Robin is about rediscovery. Despite being a familiar concept, even when it comes to Disney films, the movie uses this idea to the best of its ability. Rather than being cliche with it morals the story takes a subtle approach to its themes and grounds them in a realistic fashion. Along with this niche direction was the story’s adventure which was enjoyable, but rather standard in hindsight. The plot’s structure and pacing was understandable but it prevented the adventurous aspect to flourish and left points, such as Christopher and Pooh’s journey through the Hundred Acre Woods as well as the return to London, to feel limited in their execution. The story of Christopher Robin was a tame one and while it did have much going for its simplistic nature held the movie back a little bit-but only a little.



In the case of the cast, Christopher Robin played out as expected with both its title character and its iconic ones being a highlight for the movie. The character of Christopher Robin is one that has been done time and again but this characterization worked as Christopher had a reasonable dilemma and a understandable direction. Helping Christopher’s execution was the performance by Ewan McGregor who did a fine job showing the range of the matured Mr.Robin. The movie featured a decent supporting cast with the likes of Hayley Atwell and Mark Gatiss giving some attributes to the limited section. Yet, to no surprise, the real show stealers were Pooh and friends. Jim Cummings provided a delightful performance as the iconic character as I could not help but love Pooh every time he was on screen. The other residents of the Hundred Acre Woods were equally as enjoyable as Piglet (Nick Hommand), Eeyore (Brad Garrett) and Tigger (Jim Cummings) brought their own charm to the movie. I particularly liked Eeyore as he had some of the best lines in the movie. The likes of Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), Owl (Toby Jones), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo) and Roo (Sara Sheen) managed to give some flair to the cast even if their time was minimal. When it came to Pooh and friends the execution was practically flawless as their transition from 2D animation to live action was seamless.

Helping to bring the classic characters to life was the movie’s keen visuals. To no surprise the movie implemented CG effects to bring Pooh and friends to life and in that regard the cgi was very much effective. Complementing the effects was the cinematography by Matthias Koenigswieser.  Not only did the cinematography give the visuals a defining look but the overall film as the likes of colors, lighting and camerawork created a film that blended reality and fantasy with ease. Enhancing the movie’s directions was the score by Geoff Zanelli and Jon Brion. The music was a delight as it captured the magic behind the movie as well as implemented the classic themes to Winnie the Pooh. The technical elements to Christopher Robin gave the new Disney film a wonderful presentation that brought the Winnie the Pooh series into a refreshing light.

When it came down to it Christopher Robin was an enjoyable experience. The movie may have been too simple for its own good, which was evident in the story, but the latest Disney film had plenty going for it; such as its good sense of character and keen presentation. It may not be the most standout of adaptations but Christopher Robin had all the charm to not only be a solid movie, but bring the magic of Winnie the Pooh to life.