Disney’s new full trailer for Christopher Robin, its live-action/cgi hybrid adaptation of Winnie the Pooh and friends, shows more of the animation than anything released to date.
And it’s safe to say that they’ve figured out how to make the animation on these characters work in cg.
Through computer animation, a whole new dimension has been added to the denizens of Hundred Acre Wood. Director Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction, World War Z) has chosen to show the tactile quality of the character’s materials, and Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, et al., now look like much-loved age-worn stuffed animals with a delightfully raggedy quality. It’s a charming effect. The animation is restrained and respectful of the stitched-doll construction of the characters, but also looks to have plenty of variety based on each character’s personality.
Also, note that Pooh’s black-dot eyes never blink – a trick that Disney animators used to employ in the 2d animated versions. With vfx, it becomes clear that Pooh’s eyes are composed of a hard plastic-like material, and the filmmakers have chosen to respect the integrity of that material by keeping it rigid throughout. Pooh certainly feels less emotive than the traditional Disney versions, but has gained a new, almost Zen-like quality resulting from his lack of facial mobility. It’s a creative choice that is executed effectively here.
Forster directs from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder, and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne and originally illustrated by E.H. Shepard.
Framestore and Method Studios are leading the animation production, under overall vfx supervisor Chris Lawrence (cg supervisor at Framestore for Edge of Tomorrow and Gravity) and animation supervisor Michael Eames (animation supervisor, Where the Wild Things Are, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr produce, and Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns executive produce.
The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin, Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn, Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline, and Mark Gatiss as Giles Winslow, Robin’s boss. Character voices are Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Toby Jones as Owl, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit, and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.