At a young age, you might have spent many afternoons reading Winnie the Pooh books or watching the famous cartoon that followed the story of Christopher Robin and friends adventuring through the Hundred Acre Wood. As we grew up, so did Christopher Robin. Director Marc Forster brought the characters we knew and loved to the big screen on Aug. 3 and explored what life for a grown-up Christopher would be like.
The movie begins with a young Christopher (Orton O’ Brien) having lunch with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo one last time before he heads off to boarding school. Although he promises them that he will not forget them, and tries to keep them alive by drawing them, time and the busy hustle and bustle of life take its toll on him.
As an adult, Robin (Ewan McGregor) lets his work as an efficiency manager at a luggage company control him. His wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael) miss him being there to laugh and spend time with them. The Hundred Acre Wood has disappeared from his mind – that is, until a silly old bear reappears into his life.
Robin’s stuffed friends have a new look in the movie, which captured the wear and tear from all their expeditions by making them scruffy, threadbare and faded. They are based off both the original designs from the 60s by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard as well as the version made popular by Disney. In an interview with The Rock Father, Forster explained the process of creating the loveable gang.
“Michael Kutsche, the character designer, and I went back and forth. I showed him all the Shepard early drawings and I showed him the first black and white animation drawings from Disney. Then I said, look, I love this about the Shepard ones, this about the early Disney drawings. Let’s combine it.”
Not only did Christopher Robin perfect the design for the group, but CGI was top-notch. Interactions between people, stuffed toys and animals felt believable. McGregor did a fantastic job at showing both his annoyance and joy with his old pals and voice actors reflected the different personalities of each character.
When he first finds Pooh, Robin is visibly distraught because helping the bear will take him away from work. Pooh, voiced by Jim Cummings, adds humorous lines to the anxieties of Robin that reflect just how childlike and simple the bear’s mind is. After getting extremely frustrated and yelling at the bear, it is Pooh’s soft response that causes Robin to realize how much he has changed and how he’s been neglecting his own family.
Overall, Christopher Robin did a wonderful job at bringing the cast of Winnie the Pooh into an enjoyable live-action. It’s a tale of a man who, through the help of his loyal friends, learns about what’s important in life and how to take time for what truly matters. It feeds the nostalgia of childhood, and could introduce children of the newer generation to the Hundred Acre Wood and the many adventures it carries.