While it originated as a series of books written in the UK, based on bedtime stories told by A.A. Milne to his son, “Winnie the Pooh” and the characters and settings within would become a juggernaut children’s franchise under the umbrella of Disney. Most adults of this generation might still have fond memories of the animated TV series with Pooh in the late 80s to early 90s. And perhaps, their demographic is the primary target of this upcoming live-action film from Disney that is due out in the summer. It practically posits the notion of adults revisiting their nigh-forgotten childhood.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Walt Disney Pictures has just released the first teaser trailer for “Christopher Robin”, a fantasy film that takes inspiration from the entirety of the “Winnie the Pooh” universe. The film has a powerhouse cast, mostly from the UK, owing to the story’s British roots. Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell star in the flesh, while the likes of Toby Jones, Sophie Okonedo and Peter Capaldi provide voice talent. The film explores a reality wherein Pooh Bear’s child companion Christopher Robin has grown up, and how he might help with the problems of his old friend’s adult life.
The trailer is effective in laying down the plot without giving much away. Christopher Robin (McGregor) is now an office worker in near-mid-20th Century London, overworked and stressed by the demands of his boss. When spurred to not only attend a weekend meeting (when he had plans to go on a family trip) but also lay off some company employees, Christopher is forced to let his wife (Atwell) and daughter go on vacation without him, while he sits at a park bench wondering what to do. Here he has a strange reunion with Pooh, who greets him like old times.
It’s very interesting that “Christopher Robin” takes this approach of exploring the Pooh mythos, when comparing with actual history. A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, was the inspiration for the Pooh stories and enjoyed them as a child, only to become embittered with the franchise and its association with him as he grew older. For more light on this troubled background about the storywriter and his son, there is the 2017 Fox Searchlight British bio-pic “Goodbye Christopher Robin”. One can be assured however, that the assuredly fictional treatment shown in Disney’s “Christopher Robin” might have a chance for happy resolutions.
The central character of Winnie the Pooh will be voiced by his longtime vocal talent, American VA Jim Cummings who started work on characterizing the silly old bear ever since the Disney animated TV series in 1988. The “Christopher Robin” film, meanwhile, is set to premiere this coming August 3.
Photo courtesy of heroichollywood.com