FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2018 -- IN WHICH it is time for Christopher Robin to depart from the 100-Acre Wood, thus leaving behind his best friend Winnie-the-Pooh and his pals Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl. Robin has reached the age when he goes to boarding school and that is were the fantasy begins.


Unlike Fox searchlight's 2017 biopic "Goodbye Christopher Robin" which focused on the true story of Christopher Robin's difficult relationship with his celebrity and his parents, this Disney production creates a fictitious version of Robin after he has been sent to boarding school by his parents. In fact, so little is made of his parents, writers Greg Brooker, Mark Steven Johnson, Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder discretely kill off the dad and make no mention of his mother.


But the writers and director Marc Forster (The Kite Runner", "Monster's Ball" and "Finding Neverland") do keep intact, the East Sussex cottage where Robin spent childhood weekends with his stuffed friends - and the inspiration of the "Winnie-the-Pooh" books. But the rest of the story is fictionalized... and that's a good thing, because we really don't want to entertain ourselves with the truth about Robin.

The story has the adult Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) briefly serving in World War II, meeting and marrying his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and having a daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) after moving to London. [Note: in reality he married his cousin Lesley de Selincourt and their daughter's name was Clare - who suffer with severe cerebral palsy.]


Christopher Robin is employed as an efficiency expert with a fictitious luggage company called Winslow that is having financial difficulties which he must resolve. The stressful work keeps him separated from his Evelyn and Madeline to the point there is little love shared. This one particular weekend, they will be spending time at the Sussex cottage apart from Christopher Robin, while he toils with work and his grumpy boss (played by Mark Gatiss).


Meanwhile in 100-Acre Wood, the forlorn Pooh has somehow lost his friends and decides that the only person who can help him with this problem is Christopher Robin. Through the magic of Disney, Pooh is teleported to London through a tree and his adventure begins. The adventure of getting Robin to help him find the other friends.


To Pooh, Christopher Robin is a different person now, with little thought to fun. But leave it to Pooh to use his simplistic thoughts and confusing witticism to not only show Robin what he's been missing in life since he moved away, but to remind us all that things are really not as difficult as we make them. "People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day."


McGregor does a more than adequate job as the adult Christopher Robin and the rest of the human characters are portrayed appropriately. It's the stuffed animals that will bring a smile to everyone's face with Jim Cummings returning as the voice of Pooh and Tigger from the 2011 Disney "Winnie-the-Pooh". The other voices match those from the animated film providing continuity. But the star of this film is the story which successfully reunites the adult Christopher Robin with Pooh...and his childhood.


The film gets more entertaining - for both kids and adults - as it progresses with laugh-out-loud humor provided by Pooh and his friends. The London scenes are hilarious!


"Christopher Robin" is a prime example of what Disney does best; it takes us back to a much simpler time when we could grab our best buddy, a jar of honey and a red balloon and make everything in the world right again.   -- GRADE A --   GEOFF BURTON