Adventure Animation

Blu-ray Review: ‘Christopher Robin’ is an Ode to a Beloved Childhood Favorite

November 16, 2018Ben MK

Generations have grown up with Winnie the Pooh, and whether you know him from his 1980s TV show or his more recent animated films, the appeal of everyone's favorite honey-loving bear is timeless. Now, with Christopher Robin, Pooh is stepping into his first live-action feature, and he's bringing Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and all his friends with him.

Directed by Marc Forster, Christopher Robin follows a grownup version of its titular character (Ewan McGregor), who's all but forgotten about the many carefree days he spent playing with his pals from the Hundred Acre Wood. Then one day, with wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) away on a weekend trip to the countryside, the most magical thing happens — when who else should Christopher encounter on a park bench but Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings), who's traveled all the way to London in search of his old friend. The rest of the gang has gone missing, and with nowhere else to turn, Pooh calls on Christopher to help find them, thus beginning the pair's journey back to the Hundred Acre Wood, where an incredulous and cynical Christopher must learn to forget his grownup ways and remember how to be a kid again.

What follows borrows a page from The Muppets Take Manhattan, but if you take that to infer that Christopher Robin is trying to deliver an edgier take on Winnie the Pooh, you best perish the thought right away. On the contrary, unlike the recent live-action version of Peter Rabbit, there isn't an ironic or sarcastic bone in Pooh's body. And while other children's adaptations may pride themselves on updating their source material for the 21st-century, Christopher Robin is sincere, old-fashioned and sweet through and through.

Christopher Robin emerges from the Hundred Acre Wood sporting a faithful 1080p transfer that accurately replicates the film's theatrical presentation. Picture quality is solid, whether the setting is a forest hidden from the outside world or the busy streets of post World War II London, and though colors are occasionally muted, hues like the red of Pooh's shirt pop nicely. As for the audio, the disc comes equipped with a sterling DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, evoking the sounds of tea parties, angry Heffalumps and 1940s city traffic.

Disney's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a DVD copy of the film and an iTunes digital copy, as well as the following Blu-ray extras:

  • A Movie is Made for Pooh (5:28) - A brief look at the production and costume design, as well as Ewan McGregor's performance.
  • Pooh Finds His Voice (2:43) - Voice actor Jim Cummings talks about his history with the character and what makes Pooh so endearing.
  • Pooh and Walt Become Friends (2:43) - A look at how Winnie the Pooh became one of Disney's most beloved characters.
  • Pooh and Friends Come to Life (3:16) - Actress Bronte Carmichael gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the visual effects and voice magic involved in bringing Winnie the Pooh and his pals from the Hundred Acre Wood to life.

Christopher Robin is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of November 6th, 2018. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French and Spanish Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 44 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on August 3rd, 2018.

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