Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ChristopherRobinBluRay event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to preview Christopher Robin on Blu Ray but all opinions are my own.
In Disney’s heartwarming live-action adventure, the young boy who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood has grown up and lost sight of what’s important in life. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again.
Doing Nothing often Leads to the Very Best Kind of Something -Winnie the Pooh
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr, with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger; Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.
READ ALSO: A picnic with Pooh and Tigger Too; Interview with Jim Cummings
Bringing the Iconic Characters to Life
A great deal of care also went into their creation, with special attention being paid to Winnie the Pooh’s tummy (to make sure it had the proper cuddle factor), to Tigger’s expressions (so he could eff effectively register surprise, anger and bewilderment) and to Eeyore (to make sure he had the proper amount of sag).
Disney legend Richard M. Sherman, “There’s something sentimental and sweet and nostalgic about Pooh. He’s like your childhood buddy, who we sometimes forget about when we get older, but when he finds out that Christopher Robin is in a bit of trouble, he comes back to remind him what it’s like to have an imagination and to have wonderful times together doing nothing.” “I think Pooh will be around for the next 200 years because he is so special and so dear,” he says. “There will always be people rediscovering Winnie the Pooh or finding about him for the first time.”
Watching the movie, I fell in love with these characters from my childhood all over again. They seemed more real to me than they ever had before. They became tangible; not just apparitions of my own imagination but walking, talking, living and breathing embodiments of childhood. This was also the way my daughters and my husband felt after seeing the movie.
One of the most endearing parts of Christopher Robin was the humor. Though it tackles many serious topics, it does so with levity and love. It tells the story on a very basic, human level that people of all ages cannot only comprehend but embrace. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
“When you are able to make people laugh and cry in the same movie and you are able to tell the story with integrity and ground it in reality and have the magic realism on top of it, it lifts your spirits and connects you with the people you love,” says Forster.
And this is a story Forster believes has never been more relevant. “I think it’s something we desperately need in the world,” he says. “We could all use a little bit of Pooh’s heart and wisdom right now.”
Christopher Robin reminds us of the importance of family, in all of its forms and for all of our lives. You never outgrow the ones you love and who knew you before you became who you were meant to be; the ones who love you unconditionally.
Finding someone to personify an adult Christopher Robin posed a unique challenge for the filmmakers. The boy forever immortalized in E.H. Shepard’s iconic illustration sitting with his best friend on their thinking log has grown into a loving husband and father and a hard-working employee at Winslow Luggage, but the burdens that come with adulthood have caused him to forget the good times of his youth and he has lost sight of the person he once was. I think Ewan McGregor was the perfect choice Christopher Robin.
Hayley Atwell (“Howards End,” ABC’s “Agent Carter”) was cast as Evelyn Robin. A fictitious character married to Christopher Robin, she personifies home and love and holds the family together. “They were very happy at the beginning of their marriage, but she sees him becoming a workaholic and losing that connection with his family.”
Bronte Carmichael plays Madeline Robin, the bright nine-year-old who, much like her father, has a passion for make-believe. She wants nothing more than to have her father read to her every night before she goes to bed, but he wants her focused on her studies.
“Madeline is a very serious girl at the beginning of our story and really wants to please her father, studying very hard all the time,” says Forster. “She is prepared to go to boarding school, but what she really wants is to stay home with her family.”
When Madeline comes across a box belonging to her father with a drawing of Pooh and his friends along with other keepsakes from the Hundred Acre Wood, it gives her a glimpse into his childhood for the first time. “Times were different then, and so was the way people related to their kids,” says McGregor. “You can see that she wants love from him in a way that isn’t just him providing for the family, and that’s what the story is about really, and by the end of the film he is able to give her that.”
I Always Get to Where I’m Going By Walking Away From Where I’ve Been. -Winnie the Pooh
Imagination and Play
Disney’s “Christopher Robin” brings the timeless charm and nostalgia of A.A. Milne’s stories and characters to the big screen in an imaginative tale about the joy and purity of youth. Speaking to the child in all of us, the film is a gentle reminder to let some of those qualities infuse our adult lives.
“Translating a lovely, simple story with an uncomplicated, targeted message into a feature film can make one’s own life a better experience for the effort,” says director Marc Forster. “The simpler things in life are, indeed, often those that make us the happiest. And in ‘Christopher Robin’ we see a man who has lost sight of that which tethered him to humanity in broad strokes, and who is reminded of his better self through reconnecting to his childhood, his own imagination and to a love of wonder. In so reconnecting to his own better spirit, he finds his way back to the loves of his life, his wife and daughter, and for that, his life is enriched. All for remembering that the simpler things in life are not to be left behind or forgotten.”
“Life goes by so fast, but hopefully this film will remind people to take a look at their own lives and re-evaluate how they spend their time…and with who,” says Forster.
There’s Always Time for a Smackeral of Wonder. -Winnie the Pooh
The fun-filled tale features A.A. Milne’s timeless characters from the Hundred Acre Wood—Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl—making their first appearance as three-dimensional characters who remind Christopher Robin, and viewers of all ages, to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.
READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience
Bonus features included with Disney’s Christopher Robin BluRay provide a heartfelt look at the making of the movie, showcasing the magical artistry that brings the classic characters to life, the human actors’ techniques for interacting with stuffed animals, and the filmmakers’ passion for their project. Bronte Carmichael, who plays Christopher Robin’s daughter Madeline, takes viewers on an exciting journey from the drawing board to film locations throughout the United Kingdom. Features flashback to highlight Walt Disney’s fondness for Winnie the Pooh and recall the voice actors who lovingly portrayed the unforgettable voice of the iconic character. An exclusive digital bonus feature explores the actual teddy bear, given to Christopher Robin Milne 98 years ago, which inspired the original Pooh stories that have been shared and adored by families around the globe.
Christopher Robin Blu-Ray Bonus Features
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:
- In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh– Filmmakers and cast share their passion for this story in a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.
- In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice– Discover what it’s like to voice Winnie the Pooh, from voice actors Sterling Holloway to Jim Cummings.
- In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends– How did Walt Disney and Pooh meet? Take a journey through time to explore the legacy of Walt’s first encounter with Pooh.
- In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life– See how Winnie the Pooh and Friends were brought to life as walking and talking stuffed animals in this magical live-action world.
EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL BONUS FEATURE:
- In Which … We Were Very Young– Meet the actual, original teddy bear who, along with his best friends, has inspired so much love worldwide for almost a century.