While predictable, Christopher Robin (2018 Film) is still elegant and thoughtful i.e. what you would expect from a classic children’s story adaptation.
Christopher Robin (2018 Film) Synopsis
Christopher Robin leaves the Hundred Acre Wood as he is heading to boarding school. Though he promises never to, he soon forgets about Pooh and the rest, especially after the death of his father. Years later, he labours as an “efficiency expert” in Winslow Luggages, concerned only with the cost-cutting targets his superior demands from him. In the midst of this dreary life, one in which Christopher neglects even his own daughter, Pooh suddenly appears in London. As it seems, the Hundred Acre Wood gang has mysteriously disappeared. Christopher has no choice but to assist the absent-minded Pooh in searching for their friends
As much as I told myself not to, and in spite of successful live-action adaptations like The Jungle Book (2016), I was wary of Christopher Robin (2018 Film). Another story about an adult rediscovering his childhood innocence? CGI animals that resemble some kid’s unwashed huggie? (We call it chou-chou i.e. smelly-smelly in Singapore) How could it work? How would it possibly work, even if based on one of the most beloved stories of all time?
Well, worries unfounded. While this live-action feature is unlikely to go down in cinematic history as a top-10 film, it is still a charmer. Not too unlike freshly toasted bread half-dipped in hunny. Opps, I mean honey.
Much of the charm is thanks to Jim Cummings and Brad Garrett’s splendid voice work, which apart from bringing Pooh and (aww!) Eeyore to life, so artfully projects a piercing and affecting wisdom. As for the sets, what greatly surprised me was the overall low-key treatment given to Hundred Acre Wood. While not unattractive, it certainly didn’t go the trend of modern CGI fantasy productions. This is one magical world that feels real and magical at the same time.
Which, admittedly, felt a bit “off” at the start but as the story progressed, I realised it was the right move. By not overplaying the fantastical elements of Hundred Acre Wood, a delicate and serene elegance is maintained. Not only does this go very well with Winnie the Pooh’s portrayal, it adds a dream-like, retrospective layer to the story.
At times, it actually made me wonder whether this episode is but an extended dream of an even older Christopher.
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