As a child, Christopher Robin would go on endless adventures with his stuffed teddy bear, Winnie the Pooh, and other imaginary animal friends, who would come to life in the magical Hundred Acre Wood. They had so many wonderful times with one another over the years, but when Christopher was about to be sent off to boarding school, he had to say goodbye to his pals. Over the years that followed, Christopher (Ewan McGregor) forgot about his animal friends—real life had kept him busy with school, the passing of his father, meeting and marrying the love of his life, Evelyn (Haley Atwell), heading off to war, and then finally returning home to see his young daughter for the first time. Christopher no longer had time for childish adventures of his youth. After the war, he found a job at a small family-owned luggage manufacturing company. Now the company has hit hard times, and is struggling to make a profit. Christopher has been tasked with finding a way to cut 20% off the company’s costs, or else some employees will need to be laid off, or even worse, the company could shut down.
The stress of his job has kept Christopher extremely occupied. He often works late, and on the weekends, hardly having any time for his wife and daughter. When he does see young Madeline, it’s usually to help her with her studies. She is almost at the age to be sent off to boarding school, but Madeline doesn’t want to go. She would rather spend time with her father. Christopher’s idea of a bedtime story is reading British history, while Madeline just wants to hear a mindless tale of adventure, like Treasure Island—she’s not unlike her father in his younger days! While Christopher loves his family, he is all business all the time—long gone are the wondrous days of that little boy who loved to go on imaginary adventures, and fight off Heffalumps with his stuffed animal pals.
Meanwhile, back in the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh has awoken, and is hungry, as usual. As he searches for food, he also looks for his friends—the Debbie Downer of a donkey, Eeyore; the timid pig, Piglet; the wild tiger, Tigger; and the other animals like Owl, Roo and Rabbit—but can’t find any of them. So Pooh ventures through the tree from which Christopher Robin used to arrive in the Hundred Acre Wood. He ends up in a park in London where he happens to run into Christopher, who is a bit surprised to see his old teddy bear. Despite having an important proposal to work on, Christopher decides to help Pooh find the rest of the gang. So they head off to his country cottage, where they find the entrance to the Hundred Acre Wood, and begin this new quest. In the process, Pooh and the gang help Christopher realize life’s true priorities, and once again find that inner child that he had been suppressing for so long.
Growing up, I had never been much of a Winnie the Pooh fan. I found Pooh’s constant obsession with eating to be a bit disturbing and off-putting, and I found Eeyore to be too much of a downer. It had probably been several decades since I had watched anything Pooh-related, but I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I found it to be both a lot of fun—maybe I just needed to loosen up a bit like adult Christopher Robin—and also quite heartwarming and delightful. Don’t get me wrong, there were still some parts where I was both cringing and laughing at the same time—such as when Pooh is making a complete mess of himself and the Robin home as he tries to fix himself a snack of honey. However, there is this simple innocence and endless positivity to Pooh that we all could use in our lives. Pooh is constantly getting popular sayings wrong, but that never seems to phase him in the slightest. On the flip side, Eeyore—who I couldn’t stand as a child—actually had me laughing this time around with his ridiculous, constant negativity. (The casting of Brad Garrett for Eeyore—which he had also voiced for some video games in the late 90s—was perfect!) Ewan McGregor makes a charming lead—as the film goes on, you can really get a sense of the childish wonder returning to Christopher Robin. The interactions between McGregor and the “animals” are so delightful.
Disney’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great. The video presentation provides a colorful, detailed picture that’s beautiful whether it’s pouring rain, or bright and sunny. Winnie the Pooh and his friends not only resemble their stuffed animal counterparts, but they also look very realistic as they come to life, walking, talking and interacting with the human characters. The Blu-ray nicely captures all of the fine detail of the fur on the animals, and the textures of their clothing. The audio soundtrack provides clear dialogue as well an immersive soundscape that puts the viewer right in the middle of the on-screen adventures. Whether it’s the pouring rain, the echoes in a dream sequence, the roar of the Heffalump, or just the delightful score, there’s always something utilizing the speakers around the room.
The Blu-ray release comes packed in standard HD keepcase with a slipcover, and contains an insert with a code to redeem for an HD Movies Anywhere-comptible digital copy of the film. The bonus features on the Blu-ray disc consist of about 14 minutes of cast/filmmaker behind-the-scenes and promotional featurettes. There is an additional 4-minute featurette that is only included on the digital copy. The DVD disc doesn’t contain any of the bonus material.
- 1080p / Widescreen 2.39:1
- Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
- 480p / Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
- Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
- HD Digital copy redeemable via Movies Anywhere
The bonus features can only be found on the Blu-ray and Digital Copy.
- In Which … A Movie Is Made For Pooh (5:28)
The cast and filmmakers share their memories of Winnie the Pooh, and talk about bringing these beloved characters to life. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with director Marc Forster, producers Brigham Taylor & Kristin Burr, senior art director Nick Dent, visual effects supervisor Christopher Lawrence, and stars Ewan McGregor (“Christopher Robin”), Hayley Atwell (“Evelyn Robin”), Jim Cummings (voice of “Winnie the Pooh” and “Tigger”), Bronte Carmichael (“Madeline Robin”), & Orton O’Brien (“Young Christopher Robin”).
- In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice (2:43)
The filmmakers and voice actors talk about the voice of Pooh, which originated with Sterling Holloway. Jim Cummings took over the role in the late 1980s, and reprises it yet again for this film. Includes behind-the-scenes and archival footage, and interviews with producers Brigham Taylor & Kristin Burr, and actor Jim Cummings.
- In Which … Pooh And Walt Become Friends (2:43)
Narrated promotional featurette about how Winnie the Pooh became an animated Disney feature.
- In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life (3:16)
Actress Bronte Carmichael narrates this behind-the-scenes look at how the walking and talking stuffed animals were brought to life in the real world.
- In Which … We Were Very Young (3:51)
This Digital-Only featurette provides a narrated look at the real-life Christopher Robin and the adventures he went on with this his beloved teddy bear and other imaginary friends, that inspired his father A. A. Milne’s stories.
- Sneak Peeks (4:23)
Trailers for Disney Movie Rewards, the Disney Now app, Mary Poppins Returns, and Pixar Short Films Collection 3.
Disney’s Christopher Robin is a delightful film that explores an adult Christopher reconnecting with his childhood animal pals, and finding his inner-child once again. It features an excellent human cast as well as a talented voice cast who bring these beloved characters to life in the real world in a charming and believable way. Fans of the Winnie The Pooh franchise will not be disappointed, and even I, who was not a big fan of the previous animated adventures, really enjoyed this film. The Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, and includes a small-but-entertaining selection of bonus material.