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.