All there is at first is a yellow-white screen, resembling aged old paper. A soft tune starts up as sketch lines begin to appear. A tree comes into focus, its leaves an ambiguous clump. Fluffy clouds come next, and then the grass, revealing a hill and a path. The music lulls from vaguely familiar, to a motif, that most of us know well. Walking down the path, a bear appears, holding hands with a rather small pig. The bear wears a shirt much too small to fit over his round belly, and the pig’s scarf is caught in an imaginary wind.
If someone were to ask me how to describe Walt Disney’s newly released “Christopher Robin”, I’d have to use the word nostalgic. But while that does describe the feel of the movie, it’s only part of it, and limiting it to one word would not do it justice. It was also a warning. It showed many issues that people find themselves in as they grow up and enter adulthood through an older Christopher Robin.
The idea of an adult Christopher had me worried initially. I grew up on Winnie the Pooh and so I loved all that came with it, including the everlasting boyhood of the only human in the stories. But Disney, I’m sure, was conscious of this feeling for most of its viewers and they flawlessly aged the character in a way that drew the generation that had grown up with him closer because they now understood his struggles just as they had understood his imagination when they were younger.
The warning from Christopher Robin had to do with balance and priorities. The story shows how very little Christopher cares or values fun and imagination, things that once were his entire life. Now he is tied down to a job he doesn’t much care for and yet dedicates every waking moment to it because he wants a better life for himself and his family. In turn, his family feels unloved and ignored, especially his daughter. She finds old drawings and clues of that reveal her father as a boy and how he was once very different, which she struggles to believe. Through a series of events, Pooh ends up in London to try and find help because all of his friends have gone missing. Christopher ends up returning to the Hundred Acre Woods, and while there, he learns how much he has set aside and where his values now lie.
Disney does a very good job of showing how silly adults can be and how easily we can get disconnected from anything fun. They do, however, fail to mention that the definition of fun changes as you age. But that aside, there is value in the story they told.
Christopher comes to realize that life isn’t all about work. While work is important, one’s family is more important, and he learns to see that he has let his priorities shift. He is shown to put more hours in at work than his boss, having to sacrifice a visit to the country with his family to do so. His relationship with his daughter is limited simply to how she’s doing in her studies, and when it comes to his wife, all he talked about were work-related matters.
Winnie the Pooh’s visit served as a catalyst to Christopher, reminding him that there’s more to existence than just work.
The movie’s points were draped in a melancholy dress, one that made sure the viewers received the motive and understoof it’s value by bringing up memories of a simpler life and unhindered imaginations. But it shared a hard-learned lesson and it gave the opportunity to remember how life once was and how to incorporate that memory into the day-to-day. It was a fantastic movie that had me laughing, crying and wishing for a time when I woke up early each morning excited for what adventures the day might bring.