Christopher Robin is both beautiful and serene, yet the film struggles to appeal to any demographic. While the film is moving, it is overwhelmingly bland.
Before leaving to go to boarding school, Christopher Robin said goodbye to the Hundred Acre Wood, promising Pooh and his friends that he will never forget them. Years later, Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is too invested in his job to pay attention to his family or to have fun. That is until Winnie the Pooh finds Christopher in London and brings him back to the Hundred Acre Wood.
Christopher Robin is a lovely film filled with beautiful cinematography and charming characters. However, while the story relies upon a sense of wonder among the characters, the film has difficulties conveying it to the audience. The plot is a bit too dull and straightforward to fully capture the audience’s attention.
Christopher Robin’s greatest weakness is that it fails in appealing to either children or adults. There are plenty of family movies that appeals on different levels to different demographics, however, Christopher Robin is a bit too juvenile for adults and a bit too mature for kids.
The film moves at a pace which would likely be far too tedious for children. Christopher Robin is paced much more like a period drama than a family adventure. However, while this choice has its downfalls, it does allow for more time to appreciate the beauty of the Hundred Acre Wood.
The cinematography, done by Matthias Koenigswieser, is truly beautiful. The Hundred Acre Wood comes to life, with many sequences focusing on the flora. It feels grounded yet with a touch of magic. However, the Hundred Acre Wood feels rather gloomy to match Christopher Robin’s disposition.
While Christopher Robin may be a bit too slow and sad for kids, the humor is geared to children. Winnie the Pooh and his friends are adorable, but their humor is a bit too simple. This is the humor natural to Winnie the Pooh. Early in the film, this humor is charming, but as it goes on it becomes a bit too stale.
Christopher Robin is a fitting film for director Marc Forseter, who previously directed the Oscar-nominated Finding Neverland. Both films deal with the processes of growing up, through the lens of classic literary stories. Finding Neverland is completely able to capture the magic of Peter Pan, perfectly balancing the struggle between childhood and adulthood, into one cohesive story.
However, Christopher Robin feels too much like it has lost its sense of childhood, and is desperately trying to grasp at it, but never quite doing so. The film’s message is blatantly stated, showing that people should not lose their childhood spirit. However, the film is not successful in this regard.
Ewan McGregor does an excellent job as Christopher Robin. He is entirely committed to the role, making it seem completely natural that a grown man would be interacting with numerous stuffed animals. Additionally, Hayley Atwell’s role as Christopher’s wife Evelyn is unfortunately rather small, but she also makes the best with what she is given.
Christopher Robin is lovely and sweet but ultimately is not very compelling. The beautiful scenery is incredibly worthwhile, and the story, while simple, still manages to be rather touching. The transition to live-action strips the original story of much of its magic, but the realistic stuffed animals are completely adorable.