“Are you a sinker or a swimmer?” says Giles Winslow (Mark Gatiss), Christopher Robin’s boss at Winslow Luggage Factory where Christopher (Ewan McGregor) is an efficiency expert. Unless the company can cuts costs, it will close. “It’s all up to you, Robin,” says Winslow. That’s the setup for “Christopher Robin,” Disney’s live-action sequel to animated “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (1977) and “Winnie the Pooh” (2011).
Can Winnie (voice of Jim Cummings) help Christopher solve his suitcase business problem? Will Christopher help Pooh find his friends? Does Christopher’s daughter Madeleine (Bronte Carmichael) learn life lessons from Pooh? For answers, see “Christopher Robin.”
Ewan McGregor is grown-up, workaholic Christopher Robin, 47 years old, a family man with serious work issues and little time for daughter Madeleine, appealingly played by Bronte Carmichael, or long-suffering wife Evelyn, nicely underplayed by Hayley Atwell. Jim Cummings, who was the voice of Pooh in the 2011 Disney film, returns as charming as ever. He is also the voice of Tigger. Other stuffed animals Eeyore, Roo and Piglet are voiced by Brad Garrett, Sara Sheen and Nick Mohammed. Toby Jones and Peter Capaldi are the voices of Owl and Rabbit.
Others in the cast include Oliver Ford Davies as Old Man Winslow, Orton O’Brien as Young Christopher Robin and, as the voice of Kanga, Sophie Okonedo.
“Christopher Robin” combines live-action adventure/comedy with special-effects stuffed animals who live in the Hundred Acre Wood created by children’s author A.A. Milne and artist Ernest Shepard in the 1920s. Directed by Marc Forster, from a script by Allison Schroeder, Alex Ross Perry and Tom McCarthy, the film begins with a long prologue in which we see young Christopher growing up, saying goodbye to his animal friends, going to boarding school, starting a family with Evelyn and daughter Madeleine, fighting in World War II, and working at Winslow Luggage. Pooh re-enters Christopher’s life when, waking alone, Pooh says, “Where, oh where, are my friends? Maybe Christopher Robin can help me find them.” Robin does, and Pooh — “a bear of very little brain,” as he always says — helps Christopher find his childhood self again. “You are a bear,” Robin says, “of very big heart.”
Rated PG for some war action, “Christopher Robin” runs 104 minutes. It’s schmaltzy, but heartwarming. Maybe it’ll help you connect with your inner child.
And Winnie the Pooh
Have lots of life lessons
For me and for you.