What separates Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl from Puff the Magic Dragon?
The first eight found Christopher Robin but Jackie Paper just grew up.
Actually, Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) grew up, too, but Pooh (Jim Cummings, voice), Tigger (Jim Cummings, voice), Eeyore (Brad Garrett, voice) and Piglet (Nick Mohammed, voice) went on a journey to find their childhood friend (Orten O’Brien as the young Christopher) — all the way from the Hundred Acre Wood to downtown London, where an adult-sized Christopher apparently forgot his child-sized roots and has become immersed in his work trying to pare the books and save Winslow Luggage.
Pooh — out of honey and unable to find any of his woodland friends — is the first to go through the magical door in the beech wood tree, the place he last saw Christopher Robin. He ends up in a park and lays down for a nap. Christopher Robin conveniently sits on a bench behind him pondering his workload and bemoaning the fact he had to forego a pre-planned country weekend with his wife and daughter to work on thee work project. He hears Pooh’s voice and voila, the two are re-united.
“What to do, what to do, what to do?” says Christopher Robin.
All of a sudden he hears a voice, “What to do, indeed.”
As Christopher Robin looks behind the bench and sees Pooh, he asks, “Pooh?”
Pooh responds, “Christopher Robin!”
“NO! No, no, no, no, no! This can’t be happening! It’s stress.”
“It’s not stress, it’s Pooh.”
“Pooh. How are you here?”
“Oh, well, I went through the door through which Christopher Robin is known to appear, and now … I’m here!”
“The tree I remember was behind the cottage in the countryside, not here in London!”
“I suppose it’s where it needs to be.”
“Well, that’s a silly explanation.”
And as only Pooh can say, “Why, thank you!”
Of course, the reunion is predictable … but lovable like the characters created by a.A. Milne. Christopher Robin skirts Pooh to his flat, where Pooh discovers some honey — with some hilarious results.
As Christopher Robins tries to figure out Pooh’s problems, he remains centered on his company’s problem. But he agrees to accompany Pooh back to the Hundred Acre Wood and help him find his friends, his notes in tow.
And, of course, he does, although he finds the doorway a little more snug than he remembers.
The wildlife — Rabbit (Peter Capaldi, voice), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo, voice), Roo (Sara Sheen, voice) and Owl (Toby Jones,voice) — welcomes Christopher Robin back, although initially they think he is a dreaded Heffalump or Woozle, despite Christopher Robin’s protestation. It’s only after he “saves” them do they recognize who he is … their old friend Christopher Robin.
Eeyore is my favorite character and one exchange with Christopher Robin stands out as Eeyore is floating under a bridge with Christopher Robin watching. “Just my luck … a Heffalump … leering at his lunch.”
“Eeyore, I’m not a Heffalump.”
“Doesn’t matter, anyway. Headed for the waterfall; I’ll be gone soon.”
Christopher Robin rushes to the riverbank by the waterfall. “Oh no, not the waterfall! Swim!”
“Not that anyone will notice.”
“Swim, swim, swim!”
Eeyore crashes into a rock. “Just have to go with the — ow — flow.”
“I’m not. Can’t change the inevitable.”
Christopher Robin drops his briefcase and takes off his jacket. “You mustn’t give up, Eeyore, I’ll save you!”
Christopher Robin holds his nose and jumps into the river as if to really swim underwater, although he is in only knee-deep water. “Oh yes, of course I’ve grown up one bit. Oh, Eeyore!”
As he is carried out of the water, Eeyore quips, “Laughing at my misfortune, just like a Heffalump.”
“I’m not a Heffalump, I’m Christopher Robin. Do you remember I used to try to cheer you up?”
“I don’t remember being cheery.”
I don’t want to spoil the plot too much. Suffice it to say, through a series of misadventures, Pooh meets Christopher Robin’s daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), who recognizes him from a drawing made by Christopher when he was young. She returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with him, and, along with Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet, embark on an expedition to save Christopher Robin by returning his “important papers” and save him from a “Woozle” (actually Winslow) who will eat him if he doesn’t turn them in.
The movie was a fun way to illustrate how we all get sidetracked sometimes, leaving our childhood in the rear view mirror as we age. It’s a lesson about remembering those memories and sharing them with our children so they can share our joy. Or as Christopher Robin’s wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) states, “We don’t care [about the future]. We want you.”
In addition, the Tigger Song was a highlight. “The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things! / Their tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made out of springs! / They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun fun fun fun fun! / But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is, I’m the only one!”
And there are the comfy quotes from Pooh. “Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.” “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” “What day is it?” and when Christopher Robin replies, “It’s today,” Pooh responds “My favorite day.”
It’s worth the admission … and it’s family friendly.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Read people’s name tags (even at fast food restaurants) and call people by name.