Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyhor and friends return to the big screen in this live action adaption.
In a plot line reminiscent of the Robin Williams classic Hook, our main character has grown old, forgotten his childhood friends and become a boring, stressed and neglectful adult who has lost his imagination. Luckily for Ewan McGregor’s Christopher Robin his old friend Winnie the Pooh turns up just in time to help him, although at first his presence isn’t always wanted at first. But has Christopher Robin cracked from work pressures or are these stuffed animals actually talking to him?
What is it with kids films hitting me with a gut punch to my feelings recently?! I recently watched the first two Paddington movies, which was bad enough. Now Winnie the Pooh has me on my knees too! I’m clearly going soft! Abandoned childhood friends, seen waiting for the return of their beloved leader who never shows up and breaks his promise to never forget them. “I haven’t thought about them in 30 years” says Christopher Robin flippantly. “We think about you every day” responds Pooh. It’s heart breaking stuff. I ask again, why are kids films so cruel!?
The voice work, specifically from Jim Cunnings who voices Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, is fantastic. The amount of emotion and sadness he puts into Pooh is devastating but you can still feel all of the heart and the huge amounts of love the character has to share. Couple this with the sensational CGI on all of the stuffed toys and animals and you’ve got a winning combination. They look real and I loved that they went with the older design for Winnie the Pooh rather than being tempted to use the more recognisable version from the animated series, which is probably his most well-known form.
Ewan McGregor is the lead that this movie needed for it to work, he’s excellent. He plays the stressed, overburdened adult so well that it often feels cruel when he loses his temper with his old friend. Pooh, being a bear of very little brain, has been left behind by the overly serious and stressed adult version of his childhood companion. Pooh has so much heart and love that he wants to share that it actually hurts a little when he’s mistreated. I very much wanted to be able to take home my very own Pooh and feed him copious amounts of honey. However that’s what makes the Christopher Robin’s rediscovery of his childhood so much more gratifying.
Christopher Robin is packed full of references and nods to the books that any Winnie the Pooh fan will enjoy. It might be that this post war film is slightly too serious for some children, but then again we have generations of children who watched Bambi’s mother get killed so maybe not.
I still find it hard to imagine how, despite being sent off to boarding school, the death of his father and a world war, anyone could forget having the childhood friends that Christopher Robin has in the hundred acre wood. That said I loved this film, even if it did make me sad at first. Though I suppose without the down you won’t appreciate the ups. It’s amazing how sympathetic I am to animals or even stuffed toys who are mistreated, yet had this been a person I probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. Without getting overly preachy, I do think the film is a nice reminder for people not to lose touch with their inner child and not become bogged down with the boring necessities of being an adult.