Well, it’s been a long time since I had a good nightmare. But that streak has been broken thanks to Disney’s Christopher Robin.
Christopher Robin stars Ewan McGregor as a grown-up version of the human boy who befriends Winnie the Pooh and Co. from A.A. Milne’s tales of the One Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher is now a workaholic who has forgotten what is truly important in life – family, friends, and those we love. One day, when his old pal Pooh proverbially comes knocking on his door in London, Christopher has to put aside his assignment of preventing layoffs at work in order to star in a feature-length After School Special.
It’s not that Christopher Robin is a bad film, because it certainly has its moments. Pooh and his crew induce more than few chuckles from the audience with their myriad one-liners. There’s also some good physical comedy, such as when Christopher jumps into the “really deep river” to save Eeyore from the “dangerous waterfall” only to realize neither is nearly as perilous as he remembers from the games spawned by his childhood imagination.
McGregor does his best to commit to the antics surrounding him, but he ultimately comes off severely two-dimensional. The same can be said for Bronte Carmichael (as Christopher’s daughter, Madeline) and the criminally underutilized Hayley Atwell (as wife Evelyn). Atwell is also unceremoniously transformed into the stereotypical shrew who just cannot understand why her husband has to work in order to provide for them instead of lounging in the Sussex countryside with her and their daughter for a weekend.
Going back to my nightmare for a second, it’s in reference to the film’s CGI’ed Pooh and friends, who are horrifically rendered. And I don’t just mean the CGI is poorly done. I mean there are parts – like early in the film when Kanga looks like a man in a kangaroo costume with her eyes looking off into separate directions like Pennywise – where the CGI is terrifying. I’m surprised the kids in my screening, who, unlike myself, seemed to enjoy the movie, didn’t walk out traumatized.
Disney’s Christopher Robin is a movie you’ve seen a million times, only better. Except this time, that movie has Winnie the Pooh in it.
With 2-out-of-5 hunny pots, it trots into theaters this Friday, August 3.