20th Aug2018

‘Christopher Robin’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo, Adrian Scarborough, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Ken Nwosu, John Dagleish, Amanda Lawrence | Written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder | Directed by Marc Forster

christopher-robin-poster

Disney’s Christopher Robin, starring Ewan McGregor and Haylee Atwell and directed by Marc Forster, is not to be confused with the recent release of Goodbye Christopher Robin a year previous that explores the true story of the conception of A.A. Milne’s beloved characters and the torturous family dynamics and abuse sustained at the hands of at the time unknown and undiagnosed mental health issues.

Disney’s adaption is a completely original and fictional take on the tale of Winnie the Pooh and friends in an adventure primarily aimed at the target audience for children, that never exceeds the boundary of the genre and crafts itself in beautiful pregnancy. Both make an eye-opening double bill surrounding the inception of a character and the moral compassing of fractured family trauma and the effects it disrupts child imagination and prepubescent life. Both are heartfelt and fabulously crafted on each end of the same coin, complementing each other dearly in a sincere manner.

It would surprise many to state that Disney’s Christopher Robin doesn’t dive too deep into the overly abundant sentimentality of proceedings. Something that’s is both slightly hit and miss within the context of the film. The teary-eyed story you’d necessarily expect from the studio that exemplifies such themes terrifically and effortlessly in Finding Dory, Toy Story and Moana so on and so forth, is present but not at all as rich or expressive. Not necessarily the films biggest fault by no means, yet in moments of peris and poignancy, it doesn’t dig its nails quite deep enough for an audience to weep, which of course will be far more appealing to a broader audience. Foster’s film more so wants to explore the adventurous side of this tale, with snippets of emotional flashes of nostalgia that are delicately handled, while ever so still on the nose, do provoke a storm of impactful heartache, threaded with the importance and effects of melancholy. This frees up the films range, that veers everywhere and anywhere in a tonal line with the events of the film that is executed rather well, with awe and effectiveness that will undoubtedly be effective for the young target audience.

It’s a film that is of two simple halves, more so than a clear three-act structure. The first half entails a more dramatic fractured family-oriented tale. During which the film looks at the broken neglecting attitude of Christopher Robin himself and the strain it puts forth upon his family, which is cracking and falling by the wayside due to his obsession with work. A similar theme and trope that’s relatively condensed into the cliched work of Disney appeals but isn’t evolving in any way, but evokes a sense of the kitchen drama. Although, McGregor is far more idolised in proceedings compared to that of Atwell who is unfortunately wasted throughout the film. Especial considering the sheer amount of opportunities to have moments of spousal animosity, that the film only ever peaks at.

Comparable to the second half which is a pure adventurous romp, in typical Disney fashion that stars overly incompetent characters in serious scenarios that reinforces the comedic values of the film itself. Even if the film does lose its dramatic poignant edge, who really cares. The film certainly doesn’t and embraces it to the fullest and most spectacular possible way, ultimately the purpose of the film is to be joyful and it excels in that attribute considerably.

Christopher Robin is in UK cinemas now.

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