2 ½ (out of 4)
The Hundred Acre Wood has never before been witnessed in live action but its true splendor may belong solely to animated incarnations of A. A. Milne's creations. In regards to Pooh and company, the augmented realism and pathos that Christopher Robin longs to exhibit is undone by its staunch adherence to the limitations of family fare.
Director Marc Forster – a man capable of spinning compulsively watchable action movies out of big-budget disasters in waiting (Quantum of Solace, World War Z) – attempts to recapture the Oscar-lite poignancy of his analogous and superior 2004 film Finding Neverland in Disney's latest Winnie-the-Pooh feature since 2011. Christopher Robin positions itself to comment both on the importance of domesticity (shocker) as well as how we ultimately suppress our childhood impulses in the wake of the professional concerns of adulthood. But the inherent modesty of the film's themes, which sidesteps sincere maturity at nearly every turn, can’t rise above simply criticizing work-obsession and championing basic family values.
Hayley Atwell and Ewan McGregor are lovely individually and as husband and wife here, but their charms only carry the film's insufficient sentiments so far. The Up-like gravity of the Christopher Robin's opening credits montage – chronicling Robin's tragic childhood through his major romance and service in WWII – is more emotionally impactful than the sum of the remainder of the film. Thankfully Atwell's character didn’t fall in love with Steve Rogers in waiting for her husband to return from overseas.
The slapstick is a few degrees too silly set against handsome period aspects, though it will offer kiddies more beneficial entertainment than any Illumination or Dreamworks dreck. There’s no denying how short Christopher Robin is on worthwhile morals and wisdom – I wholeheartedly agree that nothing often leads to the very best of something, it's just not the case here.
To keep it brief...
Soon to Come:
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The Absolute State
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