Ian and I saw Christopher Robin on Sunday August 5th. It took me a while to put this together because I had to process it.
One review I read said "We just had 'Goodbye Christopher Robin' last year. Did we really need another movie about him?" This isn't about Christopher Milne. This is about Christopher Robin, the boy in the stories. It's not meant to be even a little bit biographical.
It's gorgeous. The locations are just fantastic. The toys are beautiful and worn and show signs of being well-loved. They're not the bright and flashy cartoons. They're real.
Ian and I both cried at parts, and I'm pretty sure we were both tearing up at the very start, where Christopher is saying goodbye to everyone because he's going to be sent to boarding school, and there's no time for toys and exploring there. Neither Ian or I are fans of the trope of having to leave the magic place.
It's honestly a great movie, but not a particularly unique one. But that's because it's a movie for kids. It follows the formula of a lot of kid movies. Dad works too much. Child misses him. Child ends up in peril. Dad realizes how important family is.
With a little bit of a twist. The daughter is never actually in peril. She's six. She's competent, intelligent, practical, and is never captured, kidnapped, threatened, or terrorized. She makes her own choices and takes care of things on her own. Still, Christopher learns his lesson - family is important. And he saves his job and earns a vacation.
Pooh is voiced by Jim Cummings so he's the voice most of us associate with Pooh. Peter Capaldi was Rabbit and played him as simultaneously prissy and gruff, which is perfect. Owl, Kanga, and Roo don't get a lot of lines. Rabbit doesn't get a lot either, but at least he had a distinct personality.
I don't mind Brad Garrett as Eeyore, but I still think Eeyore isn't actually that gloomy. I think he's sulky and stubborn but ultimately a realist. I would love to hear him voiced by Christopher Eccleston or Karl Pilkington. Eeyore should be a Manc.
The CGI is amazing. Partly because there didn't need to be any large effects. I really think it works best when it's used for fine detail rather than huge robots or explosions. There are times in the movie where Pooh looks at Christopher and manages to convey utter trust with a stitched nose and button eyes. Piglet has eyebrows that show how worried he is. It's fantastic.
Eeyore is (always was and always will be) my favorite though. He gets some of the best lines. Tigger is about to go into his song (The wonderful thing about Tiggers) and you hear a quiet, off-screen "Oh no. Not the song" (or words to that effect). When he's done, Eeyore apologizes and says "He does that a lot." He sounds mildly embarrassed and mildly done with the whole thing. Christopher introduces Eeyore to his wife with "This is Evelyn, my wife" so for the rest of the time Eeyore calls her "Evelyn My Wife". It's adorable.
It's rated PG, and I think that's smart. There's one scene where Christopher yells at Pooh and it's pretty intense. It's followed by Christopher falling into a Heffalump trap that fills with rainwater and it's seriously a little worrying (and at the same time, if you're familiar with Ewan McGregor's body of work, a little bit funny). So it might be too much for kids under 8. Especially more sensitive kids.
Summary: I loved it. I'm going to buy this on DVD. I'm also keeping an eye out for any toys that look like the ones in this film. (The Disney website has an Eeyore, but it's sold out until October)