Christopher Robin Blu-ray Review
Not to be confused with last year’s GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, Disney’s take on the story of Christopher Robin and his beloved stuffed animals takes a different approach to bringing the story to life. While “Goodbye” focused on A. A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, Disney’s version focuses on a grown up Christopher Robin reconnecting with his childhood. In this version, it’s unclear what Robin’s father did, but I have to assume the Winnie The Pooh books were never written in this world.
The overarching theme in CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is reconnecting with your childhood and rediscovering what’s important. That’s a beautiful subject to cover in film and something that every adult can connect to. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, to some extent, covers the topic well, but not as well as I would have hoped. We get off to a very strong start with Christopher leaving 100 Acre Wood and saying goodbye to his talking stuffed animals as he heads to boarding school. Then we get a montage of Christopher growing up, getting married, going to war and getting a regular job. When we finally pick up with Christopher, he’s a much older, overworked man that has lost sight of what’s important.
When CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is focused on the primary theme, it really succeeds. But the film diverts from the overall theme too often, focusing on extraneous characters and subplots, mainly Christopher’s job. We understood almost immediately that Christopher was working too much and his job was terrible; so every scene at his office after that initial one is a waste of time for the audience. Later in the film, his job is used as a plot device to justify Pooh and the gang leaving the forest, but they could have left for any number of reasons (if that was a goal of the filmmakers).
Pooh in particular is a good source of some of the emotions, constantly leading Christopher back to his childhood with his child-like simplicity. Christopher’s daughter also serves as a conduit for Christopher’s childhood, but she’s not used quite as well. The film is about Christopher Robin (obviously), but specifically, it’s about him coming to understand the impact he has on the people around him. Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of the gang relied on Christopher for happiness, protection and support…much like his daughter does. But he literally abandoned Pooh and the gang while he’s only figuratively abandoned his daughter. There’s a strong parallel between the two, but the film needed to explore those parallels deeper in order to drive the message home.
There’s a lot to like in CHRISTOPHER ROBIN and with such a strong opening, it was set up to make audiences fall in love with it. But much like the titular character losing sight of what’s important, the filmmakers lost sight of what made their story so relatable. That said, seeing the beloved characters from Winnie the Pooh come to life on the big screen, along with a great performance from Ewan McGregor, is enough to carry the film, even if it falls short of it’s potential.
Video: The video is crisp and bright. This is a very colorful film and it looks great on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio is efficient.
In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh: This is a standard making-of featurette for the film where the cast and crew talk about their experiences on set.
In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice: The voice actors talk about voicing a beloved character.
In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends: This briefly covers how Walt Disney acquired…errr…met Winnie the Pooh.
In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life: This one focuses on how the animals were brought to life.