Since the turn of the noughties, Disney has headed back into their animated vault and pulled some of their most cherished and beloved animated features by means of adapting them for a theatrical live-action treatment. From 2010’s Alice in Wonderland to 2017’s Beauty and the Beast (and all films in-between), it appears to be a winning formula for the entertainment giant, with exorbitantly large box office numbers to prove it. Now, Walt Disney Studios introduces its latest live-action reimagining of an old classic with Christopher Robin.
As a child, the titular protagonist spent his time in the Hundred Acre Woods playing with his animal friends: the lovable and ever-so-hungry Winnie the Pooh, the rambunctious Tigger, the nervous Piglet, the downbeat Eeyore, the fussy Rabbit, the scholarly Owl, the kind-hearted Kanga and little Roo. As an adult, Christopher Robin – now focused on his new life, work, family and responsibilities – suddenly gets an unexpected visit from his favourite yellow bear. Our hero must return to his unforgotten past to help Pooh find his friends and reconnect with what he has lost from his youthful days of childhood.
Directed by Marc Foster, known for directing such films as Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace and World War Z, Christopher Robin feels like a child’s storybook juxtaposed with a coming-of-age tale. The movie indeed strikes that balance and the finds its charm by letting these ideas collide in a harmonious way that’s both heartfelt and entertaining. The plot of the film follows a formulaic path, so it’s easy to predict the outcome. However, it’s the overall feeling of nostalgia throughout that makes the feature endearing and enjoyable.
Naturally, the stars of the feature are Winnie the Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings) and the rest of the gang from the Hundred Acre Woods. Rather than making them look like generic CGI animations, the movie’s visual effects team renders these beloved characters in a somewhat photorealistic way as old (and well-loved) stuff animals, which adds to the nostalgic warmth of the picture. Some of the characters get more spotlight than others, but each one is impressively crafted on screen as well as perfectly voiced.
Actor Ewan McGregor is solid as the grown-up Christopher Robin, displaying the right amount of stuffy adult exterior whilst still able to reveal whimsical childish innocence later on in the film. Additionally, cast members Haley Atwell, Mark Gatiss and Bronte Carmichael provide well-rounded performances in their supporting roles.
In the end, Christopher Robin is another solid addition to Disney’s recent live-action adaptations. It may stumble in its conventional storytelling methods, but the movie has plenty of heart, sincerity and nostalgia that make this return journey to the Hundred Acre Woods feel like revisiting some old (and adorable) childhood friends.
Christopher Robin is released nationwide on 17th August 2018.
Watch the trailer for Christopher Robin here: