When the first trailer was released for Disney’s Christopher Robin it was met with a hesitance and resistance to the sombre tone of a world inhabited by a silly old bear.
Suspicions from our first sight of that melancholic colour palette are quickly confirmed upon viewing – Disney’s latest creation is not necessarily a film for kids. It’s not anything like a typical twisted fairy tale either, they haven’t gone particularly dark or subversive. It is more that young children would likely find this particular tale somewhat boring. It’s more reminiscent of a lighter ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ than the likes of the revived ‘Beauty and The Beast’, which we had perhaps come to expect from The Walt Disney Company. The story isn’t set up for thrills and zany adventures, it’s hit points aren’t action sequences or laughs, it’s the subtle sentimentality in Pooh’s unchanging naivety in conversation with Christopher Robins post war cynicism.
‘Childlike wonder is brought to be present even alongside its drab surroundings: the earnest joy from a simple balloon, the listing of objects passing by a train windows’
The entire film certainly views itself through the weary yet nostalgic eyes of an adult. Though it’s never doubted that The Hundred Acre Wood and its inhabitants are tangible and real, it resembles more of a dreary London in atmosphere than any rose tinted escapism. Instead, childlike wonder is brought to be present even alongside its drab surroundings: the earnest joy from a simple balloon, the listing of objects passing by a train windows. Christopher Robin doesn’t provide adults a fantasy land to run away to, nor does it suggest that childhood is a sanctimonious time that adults are barred from. Rather, it propagates that instead of longing for a past or pushing for a future the most important thing to be done is to be present.
It’s true that the meandering plot and stretched resolution can’t help but fall somewhat flat. But that’s not what’s important in Christopher Robin. What matters is you get to spend a little more time with some old childhood friends. It’s cosy, nostalgic and visually seamless. If you grew up with Pooh, it’s for you.