Misgivings on Christopher Robin

At Shore Leave over the weekend I was asked by some friends what I thought about Disney’s Christopher Robin film, which comes out next month. They knew I’m a Winnie-the-Pooh fan, and they were sure I would have an opinion.

I’m not sure it was the opinion they expected.

Christopher Robin is live action/CGI hybrid, similiar to the Paddington movies. Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor, is a busy man in his forties with a wife and a daughter. His family goes on holiday in the country while he has work matters to deal with, and then he’s visited by Winnie-the-Pooh in the flesh.

Here’s a trailer that Disney just released.

I have deep misgivings about Disney’s Christopher Robin movie. It looks charming as heck, and it has a wonderful cast. The trailers make me smile, and watching Ewan McGregor talk with Pooh is really touching.

Yet, this isn’t at all who Christopher Robin Milne was. The little bit I know about the real person behind the Winnie-the-Pooh stories tells me this movie is deeply, deeply wrong. Telling myself, “Oh, it’s just a sequel to Disney’s animated Pooh stories,” reminding myself that this is fiction, doesn’t make the misgivings I have go away. If anything, they make my misgivings deepen. There was a real person behind the stories, a person who was troubled by his unwanted literary fame and spent his life avoiding it, who had a real family (which is not the family in the film; Hayley Atwell is not playing the real wife of Christopher Robin Milne) and difficult relationships with his parents. That’s a story of pain and resentment, not false nostalgia and sentimental whimsy.

I hope, when I see Christopher Robin, that I’ll be able to enjoy the film on its own terms.

We shall see.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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