10/10 is not enough!
Christopher Robin (2018)
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10/10 is not enough!
This movie was amazing! Fantastic CGI and a story line that not only tugs on the heart strings , it kicks you so hard in the feelings , that you actually wake up and think about what happened to you
Ewan McGregor gives an exceptional & very believable performance, and the newcomer Bronte Carmichael as Christopher Robin's daughter-Madeline.
This film is very family friendly: no violence, no profanity, no sex.
I can recommend this film to any/all fans of A.A. Milne's stories
Christopher Robin does not spend a lot of time introducing the viewer to the characters from the idyllic forest where a young British boy spent time creating adventures with his friends - Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo. If one is not a Disney-phile, it may be hard to comprehend why a boy arrives from a tree to have picnics with animals.
That said, the Winnie the Pooh, Disney lover that I am, saw so much love in this film with its themes of friendship, love, family and tenderness. The vintage, live-action look is appealing and kept me intrigued wondering what the "silly old bear" would do next. Winne the Pooh is quite the adventurous wanderer as he goes in search of Christopher Robin who has grown up and works in London. The adventures suspend belief as grown-up Christopher Robin, well played by Ewan McGregor, originally annoyed by Pooh, remembers some of his favorite things, like "doing nothing" and realizing true north is his family and friends, plush or live.
As a grown man who has returned from World War II, married to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and father of a daughter, Christopher Robin is an efficiency manager for a luggage company or "a fish in the sea" as Winnie the Pooh says. He is a work-a-holic and has a taskmaster as a thankless boss. When told he must work rather than go on holiday to the country with his family, Christopher Robin attempts to take Pooh back to the forest where he and his woodsy friends awaken the lost child from within. They also meet his daughter Madeleine (Bronte Carmichael) and another adventure ensues. Madeline assists Pooh in getting to Christopher Robin when he needs all of them most.
For a franchise, which has historically targeted the very young, the film has melancholy themes. Visually, it is beautiful with its artistic production values and cinematography. The score is also very good. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars for the casting, cinematography, life lessons, amazing cult Winnie the Pooh references and music. I recommend it to ages 8 to 18, due to some mature themes. Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Oh, and the animation is excellant.
It is, though, one of the finest movies I have ever seen of any genre, and one of the most emotionally moving. For this reason I would note for parents that your parenting skills will be tested here; if your kids have no attention span, are fidgety, have iphone addiction, they won't like this movie. But it most assuredly is a movie for all ages, just not for all mentalities. There are actual lessons here for children, real ones; lessons for adults, important ones; lessons for employers; and most of all, lessons to the viewer.
I would recommend that those interested see this movie quickly, since L. Ron Hubbard's man's success in the opening week has cut this film's run short. To not see the magnificent cinematography and vistas (some CGI but you cannot tell) in their proper setting. It emphatically is not a TV or Smartphone movie.
On to the posse: Tigger, Kanga and Roo, Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit, Piglet and Pooh all get good screen time, have excellent character showings and are wonderfully voiced. As long as you bear in mind (no pun) the real characters' personalities, which are all on display here, they all ring true. Ewan McGregor gives what might be his career performance, and newcomer Bronte Carmichael is radiant, as is Hayley Atwell. But this is Ewan, Bronte and Pooh's movie, and they do it justice. Just a wonderful film. Sorry if it's "too slow" for some tastes.
Disney's Christopher Robin serves as a companion piece to Goodbye Christopher Robin in that they play different parts of CR's life. Goodbye Christopher Robin takes place during his childhood and has small parts of him growing to a young adult by the end, and Disney's Christopher Robin spends the first ten minutes advancing through his raising years rather quickly so we can get to his adulthood. Outside of the source material, the comparisons of the two films stop there. Disney's Christopher Robin is much more family-oriented fiction, whereas Goodbye Christopher Robin is slightly more adult-themed nonfiction. I'll say that at my age, as much as I loved both films at their cores, I did prefer one over the other.
Now, let's address "the Heffalump in the room" here: This film will receive nearly unanimous praise and everyone who reads this will adore by what they just saw on screen by the time the last page reads "THE END." You will see the 9's and 10's pour aplenty on here, and they will be absolutely justified to the point that I won't disagree with a single thing that they say, truly. I am no different, as while watching this I tapped into early childhood memories of me watching the Winnie the Pooh cartoon. All of the feels were there and they were strong. Parents and children had a joyous experience with the entire film, and my face may even hurt from smiling too much. I will mostly let every other review speak on that, though. I want to try and touch on the moments that others may have trouble expressing or just won't bother to, and explain away how my score (for better or worse) is emphasized by other elements of the film that may or may not have personally worked for me as well.
When I say the words "mixed bag" I'm not referring to the quality of what was on screen, just how my head coped with what was on screen. Every issue I have with the film is mostly not a film issue at all, but rather it is my conflicted mind wondering what kind of film I expected to watch. Having just come off of Goodbye Christopher Robin not one year ago, I was trying to decide whether I was watching yet another biopic of sorts here, or if this was just a fictional fantasy adventure. When it initially seemed like it wanted to be the former, eventually it revealed that it was going to be the latter, and boy they went the whole nine yards with that. Upon first glimpse CR is just letting his imagination run wild with him, but alas it turned out that these stuffed animals are not inanimate, but actually alive and talking. Yes, beneath the surface one can decide to create allegories for the animals' lively spirits representing something larger than they actually were, but in the last half hour of the film it feels like a very shallow version of: "Nope, they're real... accept it and move on." The tone shifted sort of fast without warning into something a bit childish, and not in the absolute best way. It kind of hit a wall with me, because initially they were going so well with what just felt like the imagination route, and I feel I would have preferred that much more. Then again, when I was a child I think I saw the animals more as actual animals and not stuffed objects in CR's imagination, so if I'm a kid watching this film I don't think this is a demerit in any way at all. Sadly, I'm now a thirty-year-old man critiquing a lovable children's film to the bitter end, possibly undeservedly so.
Which leads me to my next personal predicament: I didn't know which lens I was supposed to view this film from. I hate to make the immediate comparison, but Goodbye Christopher Robin strictly stuck to one tone and allowed me to find perspective as an audience member for where I belonged watching it. This film begins with a young CR and the playful animals expressing their personalities to the fullest, so I began watching it as the cartoon and all was fitting. Then a bit of time goes by without the animals to set up CR's current status in the workplace, with his family, and even with a neighbor (whose tiny intermittent "subplot" feels strangely incomplete, unless there was an after-credits scene). During this early stage I figuratively heard children shuffling in their seats, and I literally heard a young girl ask: "Where's Pooh Bear?" Given the expectation the trailers appeared to provide (which I avoided before seeing the film), you'd understand why the youthful ADHD crowd can get a bit restless with the slow pacing of these moments.
Then later Pooh appears and all is righted again, but I sit and wonder where kids are with this bear and his furry friends, because I legitimately do not know. Do they know him in name only but have not read the books or watched the old cartoons? Are they familiar with the animals' voices, quotable lines and unique mannerisms? It's not exactly an ongoing marketed icon anymore, and they might be too busy in front of their Smartphones anyway to know why we who grew up with them find every moment so wondrous. So again, here is where I'm completely out of the know: if children are not as well-versed with the characters at large, I wonder if they'll get as much out of this film as I would if I was there age, or as I did now. Don't be too alarmed, though! There are still plenty of moments to make this movie enjoyable for all ages, whether or not you are privy to all that which is Winnie the Pooh.
Oh yes, Pooh Bear: he was perfection. It's clear that the screenwriters know him very well as to make sure that every piece of dialogue that he says has this poetry about it, accompanied justly with Jim Cummings' original voice work. Every third line that he says will give you a chuckle, whether he is wittily responding to CR or talking to himself. We get a "Think think think" and more than enough honey references (which you can never have enough of). His humor is very deadpan and it works best when you see his innocent beady eyes conveying those words with that little mouth. I'll admit that I miss the cartoon design, but they took enough creative liberties to blend the real stuffed animal with the cartoon version and you get the best of both versions. He is both dependent and dependable, both nescient and thought-provoking, both wanting to make you laugh and cry. I cried exactly two times in this film, and both had to do with a Pooh spoken line or spoken action. They needed to capture this for the film to work, and they did it ever so well.
Eeyore and Tigger were also both real hits and exact representations of their cartoon selves. I would say that Eeyore will win over more with the adults when it comes to his dark and depressing lines (again, this is also one of those times where "if you understand the characters already it works much better"). Tigger gets to bounce, sing and laugh, all with original J.C. voice work and that really means something to me. The misses to me came with Piglet and Rabbit, which although it's unfortunate that their original voice actors have passed away they did not do enough to get close to those voices either. Rabbit always reminded me of a Squidward in the cartoon (I know that SpongeBob came afterward), but had no such notions here... just a couple of "I'm healthy and like things clean" kinds of lines. He also wasn't heavily featured, alongside Owl, Kanga and Roo. Piglet was mostly fine, but was missing the voice, never let out an "Ooooh, d-d-d-d-dear," and never really let his fearfulness become an affecting part of the story. Good thing Pooh made up for most of it, and honestly I could have completely done without the other characters and would have been just fine... yet at the same time Tigger and Eeyore's direct inclusions were too good to pass up.
Ewan McGregor was convincing and looked like he had a great time with the role. Hayley Atwell kind of got to sleepwalk through her mother/wife role as she didn't have much to do, the daughter was good but was in the wrong film for focus on her end (even though they try and maintain that theme throughout, it's not explored very fully), and literally every other character was over-the-top and may have fit with this film but were also outlandish and exaggerated to the point that I really didn't care. As I was saying before, keep this as CR and Pooh having adventures and I would be none the wiser as to the rest of it.
I hope that you can take my review as just very level-headed. There were just a few too many things I found to either be inconsistent, or at the very least made me perceive it as such. That might be more a fault of mine than a fault of the film's, but that's why I get my own vote on here and others will get theirs. My last minor quip was slightly mentioned before, but the overall pacing was pretty slow. I was okay with that, but I am trying to speak for the masses. I think Goodbye Christopher Robin was a film that was lighter on its feet regarding the pace, but it also is a little less kid-friendly since its focus is not on the animals (and never gives life to them, imaginable or otherwise).
Despite the things I've pointed out, I think you can chalk them up as personal issues only, and I can't recommend this film enough. I mean it's Winnie the Pooh, for heaven's sake... of course it will be lovable! My audience applauded at the end, and I did right alongside them. It has something for everybody, and plenty of it. It almost seems sinful to dismiss this film in any sort of way, and don't let my score be an indication of how much I actually did love moments of this film and urge everyone to go check out and see, specifically if you have children, a connection with the characters, or simply if you have a soul. Yet if you missed out on Goodbye Christopher Robin, I also recommend that you see it at some point for something that is probably less fictionalized and slightly more adult-oriented.
Wanted to see 'Christopher Robin' from the very start, being as big a fan as all things Winnie the Pooh. Despite giving away too much of the film for my liking, the trailer did look good and the charm and childhood innocence did shine through even with the obvious melancholic tone that comes with growing up and forgetting. Ewan McGregor has big talent as an actor, the idea was such a great one and Winnie the Pooh is just such a great character that is impossible to dislike. Also wanted to see where abouts in the mixed to positive critical reception it would land in, though a few negative reviews, from reviewers usually trusted by me, put me off a little.
Am so glad about following my gut instinct and watching the film. 'Christopher Robin' has its faults, and is not as good as the 60s-70s short films, 'The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh', the series 'The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh' and a few of the films that came after, but is really lovely in its own way with plenty for children and adults like.
'Christopher Robin' is not perfect as has been said. It does drag and loses its warmth and charm with the family and workplace scenes of the first half, which came over as over-sentimental and dreary, with few surprises having been done numerous times in the same way. A shame when the opening scene was so charming and sweet, and relatable for any child growing up. Anybody expecting a lot of depth shouldn't really, only Pooh and Christopher Robin, done beautifully on both counts, grow here really.
Mark Gatiss does overdo his weasel-like (or should we say woozle-like) character for my liking, an unsubtle stereotype and played with even less subtlety that it gets annoying. Would have liked more of some of the Hundred Acre Wood characters, half underused especially Owl and Kanga.
Had no problem with most of the voice work, but always did find Peter Capaldi to be an odd choice for Rabbit (under-characterised here) and still do, basically it's Doctor Who with a London-ish accent and it doesn't fit Rabbit.
However, the opening scene is full of the childhood innocence, warmth and charm one expects from Winnie the Pooh and those qualities do pick up once Pooh re-appears and even more so when the other Hundred Acre Wood characters are re-introduced. Much of 'Christopher Robin' is full of nostalgia and there are some lovely gently humorous touches, especially with Tigger and even more so Eeyore who has some of the best lines. There is a melancholy and wistfulness that is both appealing and moving, Pooh does bring tears to the eyes and his interplay, one of the film's biggest strengths, with Christopher is sweet and humorous.
Present also are nice glimpses of the original drawings and the nostalgia is created mainly by the numerous references to the stories and the previous Winnie the Pooh incarnations (the exchange between Christopher and Pooh concluding the opening scene, getting lost, Heffalumps and Woozles, the balloon, a couple of the songs from the 1960s-1970s short films to name a few). The Hundred Acre Wood characters are not far off from their original personalities, particularly Eeyore and Tigger, the only reservation being Rabbit and perhaps Piglet could have been a little more timid.
Throughout 'Christopher Robin' looks lovely, with handsome period detail, photography that is a mix of purposefully grim to idyllic and a beautifully rendered and quite faithful Hundred Acre Wood. The effects for Pooh and co. are delightful and looks great, maybe not quite how Disney portrayed them visually but not far off from the original drawings of the stories, of which the spirit is captured beautifully once in the Hundred Acre Wood, and their conditions of being forgotten for so long obvious in a realistic fashion. The eyes are not quite expressive, though not creepy, but the characterisations and how they interact and move are certainly expressive. The music is whimsical and melancholic, while the story falters with the family and workplace scenes early on but is charming, warm-hearted and poignant everywhere else. The script is thoughtful and affectionate and Marc Forster, perfect for the job and bringing the same qualities he did for 'Finding Neverland', directs sympathetically.
Ewan McGregor does a great job here, a hard role to balance quite a number of emotions and reacting against nothing for much of the film but it is a nuanced performance, stern and uptight at first but mellows into childlike wonder. Basically it is a great portrayal of forgetting fond memories and finding them again, learning things along the way, with a few nice life lessons, that allows the character to grow, apparent in the heart-warming ending. Hayley Atwell is a rootable presence and Bronte Carmichael is a star in the making. Making more of an impression is the voice acting. Brad Garrett is a standout as Eeyore, sadness at its funniest. Nick Mohammed doesn't quite match the giant shoes left by John Fiedler, having voiced Piglet from the very beginning until his death in 2005, but the sweetness and timidity is captured nicely. Best of all is Jim Cummings, he's been voicing Pooh and Tigger since the late 80s and the experience shows. He has not lost Tigger's humour and liveliness but it's as Pooh where he is particularly wonderful, having not moved me to tears this much until now.
Overall, very nicely done and definitely well worth watching once it gets going. 8/10 Bethany Cox
The film does a great job of capturing Pooh and company. The dialogue and Pooh's longtime voice actor perfectly capture his way of being unintentionally wise and likable. Eeyore, voiced by Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett, is the second best part as he is hilarious in here. The other occupants of the Hundred Acre Wood don't appear as much but they stay true to the characters. Ewan McGregor does a great job as Christopher Robin, which is especially impressive seeing as the actor was speaking to no real people half the time.
The movie is quite funny. The scenes of CH trying to be a good man in a misguided way and his eventual awakening all surprisingly work more than they should have. The movie manages to balance childhood innocence while not talking down to adults. In fact, they insert a couple osurprisingly dark moments into the events that lead to adult CH's adult personality.
However, the reason I didn't give this a higher rating is the conclusion, or rather the conclusion to the workplace side of CH's story. Basically, he spends the movie trying to reduce costs so his business doesn't have to lay people off. The resolution to this crisis comes out of a lesser-made children's film. It is completely trite, forced, and way too saccharine.
The movie looks great. The combination of the character designs of the cartoon and the original book work surprisingly well. The cinematography in the 100 Acre Wood is quite eye-catching. Although filmed on location, the scenes have manage to have a magical quality to them. The background music is also effective. Unfortunately you never hear the Winnie-the-Pooh song sung. I recommend you wait till the second song in the end credits. It's a nostalgic little number from classic Disney composer Roger Sherman (Mary Poppins, Jungle Book).
A live-action/CGI fantasy film, from Disney Studios, about a grown-up Christopher Robin, who's lost all of his childhood imagination, so he's visited by his old stuffed-bear, Winnie the Pooh, in order to help him get it back. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, and the voices of Jim Cummings and Brad Garrett. It was directed by Marc Forster, and written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder, Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson. The movie has disappointed at the Box Office (slightly) so far, but it's gotten mostly decent reviews from critics. I enjoyed it, and I found parts of it to be really magical and even touching at times. It's somewhat slow-paced though, and not nearly as nostalgic as it seems like it should be (or could have been). Still, it's a decent enough family film I think though.
Movie: Christopher Robin (2018)
Director: Marc Forster Writers: Alex Ross Perry (screenplay by), Tom McCarthy(screenplay by) Stars: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael
Cute/Charming: When it comes to Pooh and the crew, the adventures are almost always cute and adorable. Christopher Robin continues this trend, making sure to rope in all of the classic goodness, but modernize it to the new families of the modern age. It is perfect for kids as the stuffed animals bounce around the town, but also for the current parents who grew up with the cartoons like I did. Nevertheless, that nostalgic atmosphere will come in this charming adventure that somehow brings the feel of the classics into the new form of live action.
Clever Wit: The references in Pooh are not for the casual audience member, but for fans like me, there is hidden treasure in the references. Nostalgia again is the leading quality, but Christopher Robin had me chuckling with all the well-timed, well-delivered, bumbling of Pooh and the Crew. There are plenty of misunderstanding moments that will have the older audience members enjoying it the most, while the kids will love the goofy slapstick that follows from the disbelief of the supporting casts. I can easily say that this movie is definitely a little more targeted for the older crowd in terms of dialogue.
Emotional Growth: Where most of the Pooh adventures are silly, whimsical feats of seeking out enough honey to fill Pooh, Christopher Robin falls on the spectrum of those episodes that were more serious. It's about a new stage of life through McGregor's character and it does a nice job of balancing the numerous emotional stressors that comes with growing up. This film does a fantastic job of portraying that line between kid and adult, and how both are important for raising the family. It will speak deeply to those with families of their own, and seal a spot in the heart as the greatest Pooh movie of all time.
The original voices/Animation: With a Disney movie, the animation is always good, so no need to go into too many details. The big thing to mention, is that the stuffed animals look like stuffed animals, so the design is great on that lone. However, my favorite aspect is that Jim Cummings came back to bring Pooh/Tigger to life once more. His voice alone is the source of Pooh's comedy, bringing that sweet innocence with it that pulls at your heart strings like the silly old bear can. As for Tigger, he is still the energetic, manic tiger who doesn't understand the word limits. While the other voice actors were good, Jim was the winner for me as a key pillar of the movie.
Predictable: No surprise, the movie doesn't have too many twists and turns for being a family movie. It pretty much hits a line drive to the family life lessons, to keep it perfect for its target audience, (aka staying away from the dark and obscure). It's not that I was surprised at all, but as a reviewer I have to look at all aspects.
Limited audience: Pooh is not for everyone, and unlike other Disney movies, not everyone is going to love this. While I did enjoy the comedy, it's specificity for Pooh comedy is going to limit it to a small number of people, and not all kids are going to enjoy the mellow pace of the movie. So, its branching out was not quite achieved the way they wanted to in my opinion.
More Haley Atwell: I know the film is about Christopher Robin (hence the title), but you would have expected a little more integration of the wife if they were going to pull the daughter in. Atwell played her part well, but I wished they had incorporated her side of the story more and helped round out Christopher's story.
More Of The Other Animals: Again, I know the relationship between Pooh and Christopher is the key, but I do wish that the other animals had their appendages in the film a little better. Still more screen time than I anticipated, but they could have been incorporated a bit more to really max things out.
Missing The Whimsy: This comes from loving the new adventures, but I really missed the full-on imagination that came with the original cartoon series. Because the emotional aspect is blended so well into the movie it takes away from the adventure theme that I loved. Not bad at all mind you, I just missed that favorite aspect from my childhood.
By far Christopher Robin is the best family movie of the summer, and the must watch for those with young members in their family. It hits its key demographic hard and manages to balance the movie in many aspects to grab kids and original generation hard. Sadly, they may have done this job a little too well, because general audiences may not appreciate the full glory of this movie, and the styles they chose. In addition, the movie just misses that adventure component that Disney movies are famous for, to instead go down the predictable, preachy, emotional pathway that they tend to do. So, is it worth a theater visit? The answer is yes if you are that key demographic, but otherwise skip this until you get it in theaters.
My scores are:
Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0-8.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
a movie that might makes young zoomers laught, but makes 30 year old boomers cries.