Ralph Says CHRISTOPHER ROBIN Squeaks By On Its Charm.

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FILM REVIEW: CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

BY RALPH LINARDIC

Remember the memories you made when you were a kid? The long days of playing in your backyard, dreaming up imaginary characters while not having a care in the world? That’s a good place to start when discussing the Winnie-the-Pooh mythology, and the new film encompassing it, Christopher Robin.

The film follows the title character Christopher as he rekindles with his childhood companions Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. A film that can be used as a reference is Bridge to Terabithia. While the movies have very different stories, both films lean heavily on a world of, as Willy Wonka use to say, “pure imagination.” Though both films explore friends of the imaginary kind in a special forest, Christopher Robin does take it to the next level.

As satisfying as it was, the film does have some flaws that will be explored. However, It’s not easy to translate animated characters to live action while keeping the characters in the same vein, but this film did it, and well. So well, in fact, that I had flashbacks of my childhood watching the Winnie-the-Pooh show while sitting 2 inches from the tv in tight pajamas. Pooh, Tigger and company were the same, cheery idiots that I remember from my childhood.  It was so unsettling remembering these events, that I teared up multiple times. Any film that can make me cry is a winner in my book.

Director Marc Forster, while capturing the spirit of the original show, didn’t do a great job with this film’s human characters. All the “animated” characters are wonderful, but the humans are the complete opposite. Ewan McGregor is a fantastic talent, but his character, Christopher Robin (adult version) was unlikable. Young Christopher does a great job of getting us to invest in his relationship with Pooh, but his adult life is dull and uninteresting. Not to mention how were supposed to be happy for Christopher’s supposed “redemption” at the end of the film when he does nothing to earn it. Evelyn Robin (Hayley Atwell), Christopher’s wife in the film, has no arc as a character. She shares lots of scenes with McGregor but does nothing of substance. Maybe she had one film left from her Captain America contract, and Disney wanted to take advantage of it.

As well as it’s characters, the film’s tone was inappropriate for its story. Some of the scenes that work are the scenes between Christopher and Winnie. These have the usual magical vibe that you expect from a Disney film. The rest of the film has an unnecessary gloomy vibe. Understandable that the tone can be due to Christopher Robin growing up and having a normal life, while also taking place around World War II, but it does not give some levity to keep everything balanced. Christopher Robin couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a World War II drama, or a magical kid’s film. That’s what kept the film from being great.

Christopher Robin has lots of problem’s, but it’s charm won over in the end. Winnie-the-Pooh and friends are portrayed perfectly, and Winnie’s relationship with Christopher Robin stays true no matter the age. It’s odd tone and unlikable characters keep it from being great, as well as it’s gloom and doom mindset however, most will enjoy the memories the film brought brings back.

 

FINAL WORD: