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What to make of the movies’ renewed Pooh fetish? Last year’s handsome if mild-mannered Fox production Goodbye Christopher Robin, revealing how AA Milne’s most beloved creations were steeped in harsh wartime truths, might at a push be claimed as Pooh: A Warning from History. Disney’s new Christopher Robin is rather more along the lines of The Tao of Pooh: a self-helpy, post-Paddington fiction that seeks to applaud viewers for clinging on to (and paying forward) childish things.
This Robin (a still boyish Ewan McGregor) has been conceived as a junior variant of David Tomlinson’s stuffy banker in Mary Poppins: a mid-ranking suit fussing over costs in a luggage-manufacturing enterprise in 50s London. A heinous indifference to wife Hayley Atwell telegraphs that this chap requires a valuable life lesson; he receives it one morning on spilling – ahem – magic honey on an old after-school drawing. Piff paff Pooh: the silly old bear reappears in this mirthless dullard’s life, in the form of a CG rendering of a long-shelved plush toy – the kind of digital artefact to which only youngsters who embraced James Corden’s Peter Rabbit could possibly warm.
As our Chris reconnects with his inner child, accompanying adults should brace themselves for a full 100-minute onrush of platitudes and homilies. A less nannified take might have cast Will Ferrell in the McGregor role, and made merry mayhem; instead, what we get is a deeply square Ted, an insistently MOR Where the Wild Things Are, overseen by a company man (Finding Neverland’s Marc Forster) rather than some wayward visionary. (The climax is a board meeting.)
Disney’s sporadic Pooh animations remain cinema’s closest match for Milne’s simple charms. For all the expensive honey drizzled over this script, Forster’s film is just unpersuasively weird for an hour, before it tails off in the softest of focuses.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Christopher Robin review – Pooh rescues Ewan McGregor from a midlife crisis | Drama films