By Jennea Coleman-Cubero
Throughout history, children have been forced to grow up extremely fast one way or another. It could be having them learn subjects far from their age range or allowing them to have a YouTube account under age 13 with little to no adult supervision. Yet with adults, there is pressure to be responsible, hard-workers who find themselves stressed or depressed with mid-life crisis, finances, relationships and more. With the August release of the film Christopher Robin, this peculiar subject matter is discussed in a thorough way.
Christopher Robin is about the titular “Winnie the Pooh” character (Ewan McGregor) as he takes the role as “The man of the house.” To support his lovely wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and their precocious daughter, Madeleine (Bronte Carmichael), Robin works at a suitcase factory during the 1940s-50s. With the establishment struggling, Mr. Robin is forced to lay off a significant amount of tireless employees. He has to work diligently to figure out finances and who is to be fired, while he misses a family holiday at the countryside. When going to a park near his home, a conflicted Christopher Robin is shocked to discover an old friend of his, Winnie the Pooh, who came from a tree trunk that transported him from the 100 Acre Woods to Robin’s world. After much talk and jokes, he and Pooh Bear go by train to the countryside. Not only is this where Robin’s family vacationed, but it is also where he and Winnie the Pooh go to the 100 Acres (through another tree trunk) to find the rest of the stuffed animals who might be in danger with the monstrous, unseen heffalump.
Robin’s character goes through a subtle, but well done development. He progresses from the typical busy parent you would see in Mary Poppins or Hook to a still level-headed man unafraid to embrace the childlike wonders. The same goes with Madeleine, who starts off as an intelligent but extremely mature little girl who did not even know what playing was. Like her father, she gets better though.
Meanwhile, the cast of the 100 Acre Wood is still lively, naïve, and fun as always. Pooh Bear (Jim Cummings) is the honey-loving fluff with stuff you can count on for a smile. Piglet (Nick Mohammed) is his usual timid, but friendly, self. Tigger (Cummings) is the hyperactive bouncer and Eeyore (Brad Garrett) will always be everyone’s favorite stick-in-the-mud. All animals, real and stuffed, would come alive thanks to its likeable cast.
Jim Cummings, having played Pooh and Tigger for decades, still has his versatile voice talent in disguising the two. Baring a quiet, down to earth voice for the bear but an energetic and loud sound for the plush feline. Ewan McGregor does a surprisingly fantastic job in playing the serious, well-meaning Christopher Robin. Hayley Atwell and Bronte Carmichael also have their fair share of praise.
Though, the actors aren’t without their flaws. For instance, McGregor would, at times, come off as a bit wooden in the beginning, yet, this improves during the film’s run. During a chase scene, Hayley would have Evelyn be calmer than anyone would be in such a situation. She would just seem to go along with everything.
Also, Nick Mohammed’s voice for Piglet may be distracting for certain viewers as there would be parts of the story where he seems to have a different accent. Not only that, but the voice of Kanga is not voiced by Kath Soucie in this project, which is strange as she had been the voice of the mama kangaroo for a while. Nonetheless, when one gets by these flaws, the acting will be seen as more enjoyable.
Throughout the plot, the balance of certain life aspects is challenged. In a perfect world, children are supposed to play, imagine and have as much fun as they would want. And the adults would be able to join them in the wonders of the world and live life to the fullest. However, in this universe, kids are given phones and YouTube accounts before they are emotionally and mentally prepared for them. Falling victim to cyber bullying and dangerous strangers online.
In the real world, they would be subjected to a countless amount of homework from a school who wants their students to have the IQs of Einstein. As for the adults, they have to work to pay for the bare essentials, so much so that it would be physically, emotionally and mentally damaging. Christopher Robin helps brings a compromise to the situation. You can still have adult responsibilities as long as you do not lose sight on your childlike imagination and your family. A lesson that is in need of reminding nowadays.
One part that shows this to near perfection would be when Christopher Robin goes to the 100 Acre Wood. Upon finding the old gang, Mr. Robin finds himself having fun with them. Yet, Mr. Robin has to leave them in order to make it to an important meeting. The gang does not guilt him for it. They understand his adult life dominates.
Christopher Robin is a properly done story that tells about a man regaining his innocence while maintaining a presence in the mature world. Yet, it does have certain inconsistencies, such as wooden or underwhelming acting or the some of the uncanny CGI done on the animals. If one can get past these mishaps, they are in for an enjoyable, meaningful experience.