By John H. Foote
Ewan McGregor spends a lot of time smiling, being cute, adult cute, in this new Disney film. Most of the time he is talking to Pooh, the beloved bear from his childhood, wearing a silly grin on his face as though happy to see the little bear, but wondering how his agent got him into this nightmare?
He shares the screen with the characters from the world of Pooh, brought to life via CGI, beautifully voiced.
Now fully grown, Christopher Robin has long ago left Pooh in the Hundred Acre wood, having outgrown the little honey loving bear and his friends, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kangaroo and Roo, and best of all Tigger.
When the demands of his job with a luggage maker take him further and further from his family, Pooh and friends come calling to teach the adult Christopher a lesson or two. Robin’s wife thinks he is seeing woman, never dreaming he is instead seeing a group of animals he created years before. The thing is, other people can see them this time too, which is never explained.
In yet another way to snatch money from movie goers, Disney has updated Pooh, bringing him back to once again teach life lessons to Christopher. The thing is, the lessons he taught to him when he was a child, were lessons for a child, his issues now are adult issues. Is Pooh really this wise? Does anyone care? As soon as you sense where the movie is going, you will begin to shut down, and then want to gouge your eyes out.
At first it is kind of cool to see Pooh and friends back, I was always a sucker for Tigger and Eeyore, but it very quickly becomes tedious. McGregor’s performance consists of smiling at his friends antics, reminding the audience how cut they are. By the end of the movie I wanted Pooh to whack him in the head with an empty honey pot.
The single star is for the splendid voice work of the actors, Jim Cummings is a stand out as Poo, and towering Brad Garrett, the big brother on Everybody Loves Raymond is wonderful as Eeyore. They bring their characters beautifully to life with their voices, along with CGI animation, which is perfect.
Kind of sad that in bringing Poo and his friends to the live action realm, it is that very live action that fails them.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.