Review: In ‘Christopher Robin,’ the Hundred Acre Wood Grows Up

“Christopher Robin” answers a question that has weighed on the minds of all children and former children who bear some affection for Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood. Namely, what if Christopher Robin grew up to become a giant stick in the mud?

After flashing forward through the character’s boyhood; courtship of his eventual wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell); and service in World War II, the movie, directed by Marc Forster, finds Christopher (Ewan McGregor) working as an efficiency specialist for a luggage company. Forced to work the weekend — job losses are imminent, a conundrum on which Pooh’s wisdom is amusingly brought to bear — he has no compunctions about abandoning his wife and daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), who had planned to get away from the city.

Following the rules of the Narnia wardrobe, Pooh (voiced by the veteran Pooh vocalist Jim Cummings) passes through the hollow of a tree and appears in London to rekindle Christopher’s playful instincts.

And once “Christopher Robin” softens its insufferable, needlessly cynical conception of the title character, it offers more or less what a Pooh reboot should: a lot of nostalgia, a bit of humor (Brad Garrett’s vocal deadpanning as Eeyore is a standout) and tactile computer animation that, even for the effects-jaded, makes it look as if the actors are interacting with real stuffed animals. (Tigger has been worn down to beige tones.) The contemporary in-jokes are kept to a minimum (O.K., Tigger says “let’s bounce”), and the movie as a whole feels pleasingly old-fashioned.

Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes.

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