Maybe it should be admirable that Disney turned one of its most beloved characters over to a story that’s such an odd mix of deeply weird and thoroughly predictable. This tale ditches the backstory of A.A. Milne’s real-life son, turning Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) into a harried businessman in post-WWII England who is neglecting his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael) when he gets a visit from his childhood stuffed animals: Pooh (Jim Cummings), Eeyore (Brad Garrett) and the gang. Yes indeed, it’s the What Really Matters premise that becomes the default for so much high-concept fantasy, filled with the obligatory scenes of Christopher missing family time, muddling through his work days and so forth, with McGregor gamely trying to find a new note to play for this old song. But then there’s the long, melancholy mid-section with Christopher and Pooh wandering through the Hundred Acre Wood, jammed up against a third act filled with frantic chases. The design of the CGI critters is lovely in leaving bald patches on the aging toys’ fur—perhaps an apt metaphor for a movie that tries awkwardly to combine the edgy with the well-worn.
Director: Marc Forster
Producer: Brigham Taylor, Kristin Burr, Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed, Toby Jones, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo and Sara Sheen