Disney Christopher Robin (7/10) – CWEB.com
Runtime 114 minutes
First off, I never read Winnie the Pooh or any of the books about the little teddy bear. Secondly, this is pure fantasy. It supposes that Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor), who really made up all the stories about Winnie the Pooh and told them to his father, A.A. Milne, grew up to be a man working for a luggage company that is in financial trouble. Because he is in charge of the department involved, he is assigned the task of saving the company by laying off a large percentage of its loyal employees.
He is also a husband of Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and father of a young daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), both of whom he neglects because he feels his work must take precedence over his family.
Rather than being a biopic, this is a continuation of the fantasy, showing Christopher still in love with his fantasy characters. In real life, however, Christopher disdained the name Christopher Robin and referred to himself as Christopher Milne, saying, “”It seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame.”
So although Disney apparently has the rights to the name Christopher Robin, they continue to filch the name from a real person and perpetuate the myth, something that I feel is, frankly, deplorable.
In this film we see Christopher going back to the forest to help his old friend Pooh and his cuddly friends, and they all band together to bring Christopher back to his senses to realize the real meaning of life.
Directed by Marc Forster with writing and story credits too numerous to mention (always a bad sign), the acting by McGregor, Atwell, and Carmichael is first rate, as is the recreation of the fictional forest where Pooh and his friends abide.
Seven-year-olds will undoubtedly eat this up. Since I don’t like fantasy like this, especially one that completely rewrites history (I know, the books had the real Christopher in them, but this is different since it shows him as a grown man still believing in stuffed animals who can walk and talk and think), I squirmed through its heartwarming bathos. Last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin was a far more worthwhile movie for adults. That said, the charm of the movie lies in Pooh’s naiveté and innocence. Seeing things in black and white, he states what he sees and believes in such Alice in Wonderland purity that the truths he utters are captivating and almost worth sitting through it. If only it were 30 minutes shorter.