“Christopher Robin” and “The Meg” new Hollywood movie Story & Review

Christopher Robin – 10 August


story: Young Christopher Robin is sent to boarding school and he has to leave his friends Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl and Rabbit behind. Thirty years on, Robin (Ewan McGregor) is married and busy with his pencil pushing job in London. Out of nowhere, Winnie the Pooh appears in London to throw Robin off his schedule and adult responsibilities.

Review: Once people grow up, they tend to get overwhelmed by the expectations and norms of adult life. The monotony of schedules and responsibilities take over and the joy of life is reduced to becoming a feeling of nostalgia. AA Milne’s iconic Winnie the Pooh and his friends have long been a reminder of childhood, playfulness and naivety. In this new film by Marc Forster, the treatment is dreary and even though this is a Disney production, the characters have washed out colours as the setting is grey and gloomy. But the crux of Milne’s original work is still there. The film repeats the line, ‘doing nothing leads to the very best kind of something’. The idea is to retain the child within and even when you’re an adult, you can still have fun if you seek out the childhood wonder.
Ewan McGregor sleepwalks through his role of a father and a husband, who does not have enough time for his family. He’s supposed to be an adult, who is completely disconnected with the child that he used to be, but his performance never brings the depth or the emotion to the character. What also feels a bit jarring is the fact that Pooh, Tigger and the other animal-toy avatars from Milne’s universe look worn-out and without the usual colours. It’s a device to depict abject realism and portray that grey feeling of adulthood, but somehow it doesn’t quite add to the appeal of the film.
Unlike Milne’s original work, Christopher Robin is not just a film for children. Robin’s wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) tells him that she hasn’t seen him laugh in years. That’s a clear as day hint to the ‘adulthood has made you boring’ idea. They way Forster’s film builds and delivers this thought is fantastic. The funny scenes of Robin, a grown man, wading through London crowds with Pooh’s simpleton observations and comments are a lot of fun. The scene where Robin’s young daughter Madeline discovers the joy of playing out in the open and exploring is also a nice nod to modern times.
The old school charm of the film, combined with the voice cast performances by Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett and Toby Jones make this movie memorable. This is a treat for those who miss the good ol’ days, when reading a book or exploring the woods was part of growing up.

The Meg – 10 August


Story: A 70-foot shark thought to be long extinct, returns from the depths of the ocean to attack an international deep-sea crew, leaving them to fend for their lives.

Review: Monster movies are meant to be CGI spectacles that make for mindless fun flicks. ‘The Meg’ is no different with its straightforward premise. Hollywood’s obsession with sharks date all the way back to 1975, so this film is mainly an excuse for Jason Statham to take on a massive shark underwater. A big enough action star like Statham calls for a decent budget to be committed to this endeavour. This is evident as the CGI is a few notches higher to make it appear better than a B-grade flick.

Jason Statham knows exactly what he signed up for, and he has the right amount of fun playing Jonas Taylor, a retired rescue diver who is called back into action. Statham’s training as a diver comes handy here, and he commits to the role with a sincerity that does the film a huge favour. Chinese actors Li Bingbing & Shuya Sophia Cai have interesting chemistry with each other and are the only actors besides Statham to watch out for. The rest of the cast is practically redundant, and therefore dispensable. The screenplay doesn’t give the audience much to care about – the sentimental scenes don’t resonate too deep, and the comedy doesn’t hit home either. So when the scenes don’t involve sharks or the actors mentioned before, it’s hard to stay focused on the proceedings.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is the writing which does not narrow down on the film’s tonality. There are points where it takes itself a little too seriously, and others when it aims straight for cheesy popcorn blockbuster status. Little surprise then that director Jon Turteltaub doesn’t know what kind of film he’s making either. The momentum picks up towards the end when the monster mayhem escalates to bigger proportions, but it turns out to be too little, too late. Even if mega-sharks and Statham are enough to lure you to ‘The Meg’, check your expectations before you dive in.