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MOVIE REVIEW

Christopher Robin

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for some action.

Reviewed by: Blake Wilson
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Family • Kids • Adults
Genre:
Fantasy Adventure Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
August 3, 2018 (wide—3,602 theaters)
DVD: November 6, 2018
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The pleasure of childhood fantasies

Losing one’s sense of joy in life

The potential positive and negative effects of growing up in a boarding school

The effect of war on young man and how being a veteran matures and changes one

Post tramatic stress disorder

The pressures and difficulties of being a father, husband and reliable breadwinner with a stressful and demanding job who must make touch decisions

Regrets of a father about how his time has been spent

The real world dangers involved in a child running away from home to a distant place

Kid Explorers™
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Featuring: Ewan McGregorChristopher Robin
Hayley Atwell … Evelyn Robin—Christopher’s wife
Toby JonesOwl (voice)
Jim Cummings … Winnie the Pooh—a toy bear / Tigger—a toy tiger (voice)
Bronte Carmichael … Madeline Robin—Christopher’s daughter
Brad Garrett … Eeyore—a toy donkey (voice)
Peter Capaldi … Rabbit (voice)
Mark Gatiss … Keith Winslow—Christopher’s boss
Sophie Okonedo … Kanga—a toy kangaroo (voice)
Tristan Sturrock … Christopher’s Father
Adrian Scarborough … Hal Gallsworthy
Roger Ashton-Griffiths … Ralph Butterworth
See all »
Director: Marc Forster—“Quantum of Solace” (2008), “Machine Gun Preacher” (2011), “The Kite Runner” (2007), “World War Z” (2013)
Producer: 2DUX²
Walt Disney Pictures
See all »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“Sooner or later, your past catches up to you.”

Our story begins when Christopher Robin was still a young boy. He’s about to leave for boarding school, so his “Hundred Acre Wood” pals throw him a farewell party. After moving away, Christopher grows up in boarding school and hardly ever sees his family. He then graduates, gets married, and serves in World War II. Following the war, Christopher settles down into a respectable efficiency expert at Winslow Luggages. But what he doesn’t realize is that he hasn’t spent quality time with the family that lives with him.

Christopher (Ewan McGregor) finally gets around to planning a weekend trip with his wife and daughter. But when a work emergency occurs, he is ordered to stay put. Meanwhile, a heavy fog has appeared in the Hundred Acre Wood, and Pooh (voice of Jim Cummings) has lost all of his friends. He decides the only one that can help is Christopher, even though he hasn’t seen him in 30 years. Through an old door at the bottom of a tree, Pooh is miraculously transported to London, where he reunites with his long-lost friend. At first, Christopher tries to not believe what’s going on, but later he comes around to helping Pooh out.

Entertainment Quality

Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give “Christopher Robin” is that the story (at least for the most part) feels just as gentle and sweet as what a Pooh movie should be. Yes, this plot is predictable at times and doesn’t have much in terms of imagination or depth (and many critics have not been happy about this). But, the movie isn’t intended to be that. We get a simple story that is easy to follow and doesn’t resort to complex or convoluted subplots.

Speaking of the gang, I was really impressed with how the filmmaking team depicted them. Most resemble the look of an aged, stuffed animal, which felt very appropriate. The voice acting is also very solid. I was thrilled to hear Cummings again as Pooh and Tigger, as their voices don’t sound like they’ve aged at all since the late-90’s. I also thought Brad Garrett and Toby Jones were terrific choices for Eeyore and Owl, as they sound much like the earlier animated characters. Eeyore, in particular, steals the show a handful of times with funny lines.

On the lesser side of things, I found Piglet and Rabbit’s voices to be too different from what I remember. However, the personalities are still executed pretty solidly. Rabbit was my favorite character from the earlier movies, and I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t get nearly as much to do as some of the others. But, he still has a decent amount of dialog in the handful of scenes where he appears. A somewhat odd continuity error involves Roo still being young after 30 years. But, I didn’t mind that so much.

As Christopher, McGregor gives a multi-layered performance that really works. His interactions with the (stuffed) animals are very convincing. Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter from the Marvel films and TV series) plays his wife Evelyn. She isn’t given much to do, but she does well with what she’s given. The music score wisely includes several nods to earlier Pooh favorites. And hearing “Up, Down, Touch the Ground” and “The Most Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” again was a nice treat. Unlike “Jungle Book,” the film doesn’t linger on these songs awkwardly. Instead, these moments are kept brief so they don’t pull you out of the story.

The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. The contrast between different color schemes reflecting Christopher’s changing persona is very well-executed, as well. The Hundred Acre Wood is also nicely realized, as the production design also handily captures the gentle and whimsical vibe of these classic characters.

The only scenes that seem out of place with the otherwise wholesome vibe are a very brief scene of Christopher fighting in the war, and an ending confrontation that seems a little too on the nose—considering the circumstances.

Positive Messages

The main message here is that while being productive is a good thing, sometimes not doing anything can be beneficial (as Pooh and Christopher say, “Doing nothing can often lead to the best something”). I can think of a few times in my own life where God has given me the idea that I needed to slow down and take a breather, and let Him work. In fact, sometimes when we slow down and let God be in charge, He will do something even greater than we can ever imagine.

The film encourages us to choose our priorities wisely and to be smart in how we spend our time, especially when it comes to loved ones. Work is definitely part of life, but so is family, friends, fun (and most importantly, our relationship with Jesus). Christopher comes to understand that his family and relationships carry more value than his job ever will.

At the same time, the film implies that our influence on others is stronger than what we may perceive. Christopher’s parents were largely absent in his life. As a result, Christopher picked up on the idea that being consistently absent from his wife and daughter wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Parents should be reminded that they need to do their best to be a positive, Godly influence to their children. Proverbs 27 reminds us that our influence on others is indeed very strong:

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” –Proverbs 27:17

Negative Content

Language: Toward the end, Christopher’s boss exclaims, “My Lord, he’s gone bonkers!” There’s one nearly inaudible exclamation that sounded like “oh g**” (but it was hard to distinguish). At one point, Tigger says, “Cheese and crackers!”

Adult Content: Christopher and Evelyn kiss a few times as a married couple.

Violence: The brief war scene I mentioned earlier is probably the reason why the film was rated PG. There is a loud explosion (a building is seen bursting apart in flames). Soldiers are seen running for cover, and ash briefly rains from the sky. This moment may prove to be a little scary for younger viewers. Elsewhere, Christopher falls into a deep pit and is knocked unconscious. He has a dream where an imaginary Heffalump (or an elephant) is yanking him away forcefully from his friends.

Besides that, just about everything else is mild slapstick. Tigger causes some minor property damage with his reckless bouncing. A person runs into a pole. Pooh unintentionally causes a few shelves to fall (multiple dishes break). Eeyore is accidentally tossed into the air and lands face-first in a pot. A car accidentally crashes into a newspaper stand. Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet crash into a car windshield. Christopher pretends for a couple minutes to fight (and try to get rid of) an imaginary Heffalump.

Drugs/Alcohol: It’s not discussed at all, but Christopher’s boss acts like he could be inebriated, near the beginning of the film. A driver insists he saw Pooh and his friends talk. The police come around and respond, “Have you had too much lemonade?”

Other: Madeline (Christopher’s daughter) goes on a train trip to London all by herself without parental supervision, although she does write a letter discussing her absence (or in Pooh terms, expotition). Christopher’s boss is pretty manipulative and controlling. Someone at Christopher’s job comes across Eeyore’s tail and mistakes it for a “voodoo heirloom.”

Conclusion

Out of Disney’s long list of characters, there’s perhaps none more beloved to me personally than Pooh and the gang. I grew up in the era when there was a Pooh movie in theaters every other year (a strategy that Disney now uses with “Star Wars” of all things), and toys and TV cartoons that were hard to miss. However, what appealed to me most about these characters was their gentle and wholesome nature. They never tried to be edgy or modern. It was a fun, whimsical and safe atmosphere where I would often let my imagination run free. I fondly remember creating my own stories and adventures with these characters as a young child.

Of course, kids and family movies have changed since my childhood. We now get controversy over adult issues being intentionally placed in movies aimed at children. And, yes, Disney too has done so. It’s so rare nowadays to run into movies that are wholesome and safe for kids to see. With its titular character now an adult, “Christopher Robin” is decisively a little more mature than the “Winnie the Pooh” cartoons I grew up with. However, this movie is nearly free of any serious content concerns.

Not to mention, there are a few strong, positive messages here for the adults in the crowd. We are reminded of the importance of the loved ones in our lives, as well as how we should take seriously the influence we have on the little ones we have in tow. Not to mention, it is always a treat getting to introduce the children of this generation to characters that (thankfully) haven’t changed in the era we live in today.

So, “Christopher Robin” isn’t just a movie for kids. It’s a movie for ALL ages (well, I would recommend ages 6 and up). It may make you smile, laugh and even tear up (I found myself doing so a couple of times). And, it’s the kind of all-ages fare that Disney should definitely make more often.

  • Violence: Mild
  • Profane language: Minor
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: None
  • Occult: None

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—There wasn’t any perversion of Pooh. No sexuality, no innuendos, no smart-alec kids, no modern slang, nor modern references coming out of pooh’s mouth, no haha Pooh actually said that, did that etc. … What Pooh bear did and was, was pure Pooh bear.

And Christopher Robin was a hard working, dutiful man, who just needed a little help when burdened with life’s demands… who also wasn’t a disordered character with modern disordered issues. To me, it was relatable, being an adult, having grown up with Pooh.

The theater was filled with more older people than children, but I think this movie was more appropriate for children than other movies done about our childhood characters.

I hated Transformers, waaaay too sexualized. The new Superman where he actually kills someone, irritated me, because Superman isn’t a killer. Etc. … etc. …

This “remake” shocked me. I was ready for some ho-hum-of-course-Hollywood surprises, that would have ruined it. Christopher Robin had been cheating or thinking about cheating on his wife… or surprise, he’s subtly gay… or surprise he’s really identifying as a female… or he grew up into a life of crime, killing people or extorting money or part of a gang any other plethora of things that have nothing to do with the original story that we love, but everything to do with ridiculous Hollywood shock factor.

No, the real shocker is that this is a really nice story that was sweet and pure and had everyone clapping at the end!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Arlene Paraiso, age 42 (USA)
Positive—Great. A charming family-friendly movie. Nothing offensive or ironic, just classic Disney. I would recommend this movie to everyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Keith, age 40 (USA)
Positive—C. S. Lewis said, “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” That kept running through my mind when watching the utterly delightful “Christopher Robin,” the story of a man discovering you can be an adult without being “very grown up.” It’s trailers are aimed at children, but I think adults with a “child within” will find much to enjoy about this sweet tale. I watched it with a sense of childish wonder and joy. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me grateful that I, too, had a childhood of grand adventures of the imagination. It’s well worth seeing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Charity, age 35 (USA)
Positive—Wonderful memories and no liberties taken to make it more modern. I liked that the gang of Pooh characters were made to look mostly like the original muted colors, instead of the brighter colors. I also liked that the characters were aged by dirt and grime, as any stuffed animal would be. Loved that Pooh knew immediately who Christopher Robin was by his eyes. Sweet movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Terri Dee, age 60 (USA)
Positive—I found the movie to be very sweet and endearing. No hidden agendas or subliminal messages that Disney usually adds. Was this really a Disney movie?!! It was refreshing. Love wins. I enjoyed the witty and humorous dialog. Beautiful scenery. The encouraging of positive relationships. A great movie. A lovely movie to take the family of all ages too. I will see it again and again! I know we are to give secular movies a notch below for not mentioning our Lord and Savior Jesus. But, I just found this movie to be excellent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Louise, age 50 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie; it made me smile. The first part was a little too sad for children and slow. The father goes off to war, and there were some war scenes—a little too much for small children. A child about 5 in front of us lost interest completely and played the whole time with her back to the screen. Some older kids liked it; I could hear them laughing at the funny scenes.

The cast was great especially Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore they were sweet and the rest of the crew just made you want to hug them. I didn’t hear any swearing or remarks about God. The scenery was pretty, fog and all. The daughter was sweet; the mom was caring. They had some hard moments, but it has a happy ending, and we could use some happy endings these days. It was nice to sit through a movie and not cringe.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sharon Ulstad, age 58 (USA)
Positive—I left the theater with a smile on my face and it made my heart happy. Not many movies affect you like that even after it’s over.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Arielle, age 30 (USA)
Positive—Is this movie one of the best Disney movies you’ve ever seen? Well, it depends on what you mean by “best.” Due to the movie’s slow pace and dreariness, with the emotional addition of it’s depressed characters, one might almost say that this is not one of Disney’s best films. But if you allow yourself to exist, for a moment, apart from everything fast-paced in our modern society and let the ambiance of this movie envelop your imagination, certain things about it will begin to make an impression.

This movie is definitely not about cheerful adventures… but then again, was Winnie the Pooh ever sickeningly sweet when we read it as children? Not exactly… well, maybe for Pooh, in one of his adventures with the bees. But otherwise, these dozen or so stories of Winnie the Pooh and Co. Where not aimed at being a mechanism for the distraction of children so that their parents could maintain a certain level of sanity. Far from it. So, if not about occupying children in an infantile manner… what is Christopher Robin all about anyway? See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Luke, age 35 (USA)
Negative
Negative—For me, Disney’s Christopher Robin was not the best movie or adaptation of Winnie the Pooh. While there is very little that is offensive in it, the pacing and the atmosphere were terribly executed. The movie drags on too long with Christopher Robin’s stress and anger, the Hundred Acre Wood is foggy and dreary half the time, and the sunshine and laughs (which Winnie the Pooh is about) are rushed.

Yes, we all need a reminder that even a saved soul can have a dark phase in life (Noah’s drunkenness, David’s adultery and murder, Jacob deceiving his father, Peter’s cowardice, John’s angel worship, etc.), especially with the reminder of God’s discipline, forgiveness, and love for his children. Wow, Robin does eventually remember what really matters (his family and friends); the movie dwells too much on the sad stuff and rushes the humor and happiness.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Peter, age 28 (USA)

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