Winnie the Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings) comes looking for Christopher Robin (played by Ewan McGregor) in London after he has grown up and has spent years away from the 100 Acre Woods.
In Disney’s live-action and CGI film, he is shown to be done with boarding school, a war (World War II to be precise), and being the efficiency expert at a luggage company. He is currently trying to save the employees from getting laid off and the company from shutting down. During this time, he has not laughed in a long time, as his wife Evelyn (played by Hayley Atwell) remarks when he turns down spending the weekend with her and their daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), at his family cottage in Sussex.
While Madeline feels abandoned due to her father’s lack of attention towards her, Pooh realises that all his pals — Tigger (also voiced by Jim Cummings), Eeyore (Brad Garrett), Piglet (Nick Mohammed), Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo), Roo (Sara Sheen) and Owl (Toby Jones); seem to have disappeared. In search of them all, Pooh goes through the door that Christopher Robin used to appear from and finds himself magically transported to midcentury London where it becomes obvious that his childhood friend, Christopher, might need to be reminded of the simplicity and joys of childhood and to let imagination prevail over the humdrum of life.
There is lot more focus on the human characters, including that of Christopher Robin, along with his daughter Madeline seemingly taking the legacy forward in carrying out ‘expeditions’ with the fuzzy locales of the 100 Acre Woods. A major shift away from the actual books, the live action film puts a different kind of focus on woozles and heffalumps, such as an arrogant, manipulative and lying Giles Winslow Jr. (Mark Gatiss), who is Christopher’s boss
The movie has an old world charm to it with Pooh standing out with his Zen-like wisdom accompanying his slightly confused demeanour. The cinematography is amazing, especially the way the beauty of the 100 Acre Woods is captured, along with the weathered look of the stuffed toys and their motions when they come to life: All in all, Christopher Robin is heartwarming and leaves one smiling, with music score that evokes nostalgia.
Some food for thought: The character of Christopher Robin does not come across at all as a villain, rather one who is awfully busy, but also someone who is kind and looks out for people who rely on him.
While the evil stems from the manipulative and lying nature of his boss, it gets reflected on him due to his hardworking nature. Is it really society’s expectations about work as well as work-life balance that are reflected there? And what role do qualities like kindness and social conscience play in times to come or will they slowly get redundant?
Published in Dawn, Young World, September 1st, 2018