Christopher Robin **

The visual effects are impressive, but the story isn’t really for kids or adults, and it’s pretty dull.  

Is it worth $10? No  

Walking out of “Christopher Robin,” I struggled to identify its target audience. One would think it’s kids, given the PG-rating and the fact that it’s inspired by beloved children’s stories. But so much of the film is about the adult Christopher (Ewan McGregor) trying to hold onto his job, and keep his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael) happy, that it doesn’t register as appropriate for a seven year-old. Conversely, there’s also not much here for adults, as Christopher’s drama feels half-hearted and there’s little sense of nostalgia for those who loved author A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” stories as child.

It plays like a children’s movie for adults, which doesn’t work and doesn’t make sense.

At the start of director Marc Forster’s film, young Christopher (Orton O’Brien) leaves home for boarding school. His father dies, he grows up, goes to war, returns from war, gets married, and settles in with wife Evelyn and daughter Madeline. Christopher is the manager of a luggage company, and is under pressure to cut costs by 20 percent. He’s also a workaholic, and is staying behind in London while Evelyn and Madeline go off to his old family cottage for the weekend.

Odd story decisions ensue. Christopher’s childhood friend Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) winds up in London, so he takes Pooh back to the bear’s home in 100 Acre Wood near the cottage where his wife and daughter are staying. There Christopher reunites with Eeyore (Brad Garrett) the donkey, Tigger (Cummings again) the tiger, Piglet (Nick Mohammed) the pig, Rabbit (Peter Capaldi) the rabbit, mother and daughter Kanga (Sophie Okonedo) and Roo (Sara Sheen), who are kangaroos, and Owl (Toby Jones), who, you guessed it, is an owl. Can’t say Milne was all that original when naming these characters in the 1920s.  

To its credit, the visual effects are impressive. Each creature looks like a walking and talking stuffed animal come to life. What’s more, McGregor and Carmichael are always convincing, which is impressive given how many scenes they have with animals that were added in post-production months after shooting wrapped.

Another of the film’s charms are Pooh’s Pooh-isms, clever little phrases such as “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been,” and “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” Not sure I agree with the second one, but this does give the otherwise whiney and helpless Pooh a hint of sense amongst his obsession with honey and red balloons.

If only it all wasn’t so milquetoast. The real missed opportunity in “Christopher Robin,” though, is the reality that we lose our child-like innocence because of adult responsibilities. Making this point stronger would’ve at least given the adult audience something palpable to relate to, thereby increasing enjoyment tenfold. Alas the movie does nothing of the kind, and a dull final product is the result.

Did you know?
In April 2006 Pooh was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Donald Duck also have stars on the Walk of Fame.

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