“Christopher Robin,” is a heart-warming romp through a garden of Disney nostalgia.
“Christopher Robin,” directed by Marc Foster, showcases a sequel outing to the whole of A.A. Milne and E. H. Shepard’s classic tales. The titular character has grown up from his previous adventures with the living toys of the 100-Acre Wood and has moved on to a simply English family life. For Mr. Robin this means working as an efficiency expert, often neglecting his family for work responsibilities. After missing a family weekend for a heavy load at work, Robin’s old pal Pooh appears in London telling of the disappearance of the rest of the stuffed animal gang.
The film stands as a metaphor, speaking directly to the families going to see it. It screams of Disney’s desire to pander both to the wholesome families who trash the theatres and the nostalgia lovers who get hooked by the classics. “Christopher Robin” is in a line of movies that aim to revitalize the Disney canon. It began with “The Jungle Book” in 2016, continued with “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017. After “Christopher Robin,” a retelling of the flying elephant Dumbo’s story is planned. These remakes, as is the common term in popular culture, can be quite dicey to talk about.
To be clear, “remake” is not a dirty word. Disney is not the first to do it, but they seem to be the most successful. The reason for this being that Disney is a family company. Films like “Christopher Robin” simply cannot flop because they portray the ideal of image that most parents in American theatres want their kids to see. This is the image of the happily married straight white man whose problems don’t stem from anything with any real substance or bearing on the world at large. Even in this film, Robin’s family issues purely stem from his just not spending enough time with them, due to him working to provide for them.
As the film goes on, Robin becomes more and child-like and by extension this is what starts to bring back Winnie the Pooh’s friends. Such friends include Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet, all staying mostly true to their original incarnations. This is where the film is a little confusing. As mentioned, the film stays toward the angle of “be the perfect family man,” and “family comes first.” However, the film also wants viewers to accept that because of this notion, Robin’s wife Evelyn cannot work also. While this is a stylistic choice and an appropriate one, Evelyn is an architect by trade. This film tries to have it both ways. It wants an idealistic family approach that is appropriate for today’s busy life but also wants us to believe that in the early to mid 1900s, that architect Evelyn could even get the training required to be an architect and then just give up all that hard work for the married life. It just doesn’t really hold up.
Ultimately, the film is heartwarming despite it’s Disney-based reality. It is important for audience members watching this movie to suspend their disbelief and go with the flow. Enjoy Robin’s return to innocence and go along with the guiding obliviousness of Winnie the Pooh. “Christopher Robin” receives a 72 percent rating.