29 August 2018

A Load Of Old Pooh

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The film begins with Christopher Robin telling his best-friend Winnie The Pooh that he'll be leaving to go to boarding school and that their time together has come to an end. Christopher Robin is clearly a fucking snake and it was from that point on that I refused to trust him. He doesn't tell his childhood chum that they'll be separated but he'll be back as soon as he can be. And nor does he seem particularly upset that he has to tell the innocent bear that their relationship is about to end. Nope. He just calmly sits him down, looks him in the eye and says “We're done”, with all the emotion of a fucking serial killer. From here we're given a snapshot of Robin's life and the hardships that he has to endure as he grows up. These trials range from a bad time at boarding school to the terrors he had to suffer whilst fighting in the war. The film doesn't talk much about how good a soldier he was although I'm guessing he was a shit one due to his complete lack of fucking loyalty with Pooh bear. 

Not that this indifference to love has stopped him getting married of course. The film really kicks in when Robin begins to neglect his wife and child due to a nervous break-down brought about by his job. As a result, his family leave him home alone for the weekend to focus on his work having presumably heard the stress in his voice, spotted the coldness to his eyes, and recognised him as the disaffected sociopath that he fucking is. It's at this point that Winnie the Pooh is almost magically drawn back into his life with the two being reunited in London, in a shot that is weirdly similar to Begbie and Renton's reunion in last years T2: Trainspotting. Rather than being happy that his childhood friend has shown up however Robin is clearly pissed off and inconvenienced. If I haven't seen the cleaner in my work for over a week I have to ask if she's been alright but this prick hasn't any interest in what Pooh has been up to for thirty fucking years. Even Begbie was curious about what Renton had been up to before chasing him with a knife and then trying to hang him to death. 

To complicate the situation it seems that Pooh didn't appear to Christopher Robin completely free of his own problems. In scenes reminiscent of Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners it seems that all of his friends such as Tigger and Piglett have completely disappeared without a trace. Obviously the coldly-psychotic Robin couldn't give two shits about this having presumably been the person to kidnap them and having already made belts out of their nipples and bowls out of their skulls. Not that I even know entirely what these characters are by the way? I'd always presumed that they were cuddly toys that only came alive in the imagination of the young Robin but here they seem to be completely real. They live a life without him and although no other human has ever seen them before the film goes on to show that can be seen and are definitely real. In which case; what the fuck? Have they got military chips in them like Joe Dante's underrated Small Soldiers or are Pooh and his friends simply fucking demons? I know this sounds like I'm being really pedantic but due to the weight of Robin's work problems and the overall melancholic tone, it was pretty distracting.

Nor could I entirely tell who the intended audience for this movie was either? I mean I'd definitely say adults because of how the focus is on the older Christopher Robin and his obvious mid-life crises. But then it is also a Winnie the Pooh movie which from my memory is aimed a little younger than something like About Schmidt. As a result, the film kind of falls in between two places where it seems to be trying to please everybody. Overall it is definitely trying to be pushing an oppressive sense of existential sadness as we realise that life is genuinely shit but then there'll be the occasional slapstick joke to keep the kids happy. Imagine a cross between Paddington and Logan and that's really not too far off how this film feels. Except it's clearly not as good as both of those movies because in both cases it was evident what they were going for. Paddington is clearly the most obvious comparison in terms of recent movies for this one in that both are about a talking bear and have a Mary Poppin's vibe about them. Is Christopher Robin a little uptight and work orientated in his middle-age? Has a magical figure just appeared out of the blue? I wonder if they'll see that there's more to life by the end?!

The Paddington films work though due to the joy that exudes through every frame of them. Of course there's a little sadness in them as well but that's because of how sweet they are and how much you care about everybody involved. There's sadness in this film too, except it was usually as a result of how much of an arse-hole the older Robin was being to his cuddly friends. Perhaps this film would have worked a little better had it been seen from Pooh's eyes and focused its message to be about the curse of toxic friendships? Or at least shown Robin as giving a little bit more of a fuck about his old friend even if he is under a lot of pressure at work. Not that I'm saying the film is entirely throw-away of course because I did at least feel for the cuddly characters which is an achievement in itself. I liked Winnie and his animal friends and I even felt sorry for Robin and his work situation. I just couldn't get on board with him because of how much of a twat he was to the more innocent and likeable characters. I'm convinced that his stress would have gone away too had he just talked to his wife about his work problems. I suppose you could argue that he didn't open up to her because of the films message that life is about embracing the people who love you. To which I'd agree but add that since he shouted at Pooh Bear he can still go fuck himself. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time. 

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