“Christopher Robin” Urges You to Just Chill Out and Love the Pooh
Somewhere on the other side of the Disney universe from Thanos and his galactic genocide, far from the patricide and limb removal of the “Star Wars” series, lies a quiet little corner called the Hundred Acre Wood. In gentler times, when most of Disney’s output was still G, or PG if they were really getting freaky, the House of Mouse acquired the rights to noted toy bear Winnie the Pooh. It was inevitable, therefore, that we get a new live action update of the property.
The mind reels when it considers what this movie might have turned out to be. Imagine the possibilities: a gritty, R-rated reboot in which Christopher Robin and Owl conspire to have Pooh killed by a psychotic Piglet; or maybe something where Eeyore starts to self-medicate for his depression, and develops a taste for horse… and of course the most obvious thing to do would be to use the first movie to set up an epic trilogy that ends with some sort of giant battle sequence. It could have been awful.
But instead, “Christopher Robin” is for the most part a pastoral, quiet movie that focuses mostly on the relatively low-stakes adventures of a man who works too hard, and the bear who teaches him to chill out. Think “How Christopher Robin Got His Groove Back” with less steamy sex and more heffalumps.
Christopher Robin, now all grown up after having served in WWII and subsequently gotten married and having a family, works too hard. He puts in so many hours working for a luggage company overseen by his priggish boss (Mark Gatiss) that he hardly sees his family, including his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter. He rarely allows himself or his family any fun – the bedtime story he reads “his child is from a textbook on English history.
All the better for him, then, that he gets tangled up with Winnie the Pooh, his erstwhile imaginary friend who turns out to be real. Winnie, with his nonsensical aphorisms about how the best thing to do is nothing, is something like Big Lebowski’s Dude except even more zen, with a less complicated life.
Watch “Christopher Robin” when you feel like watching something pleasant, leisurely paced, and cute. Careful not to overstep its bounds, it’s good, but not too good, because showing off is very un-Pooh.