Christopher Robin is a new type of film for Disney: A live-action sequel to a beloved cartoon instead of a remake. This is partly born of necessity, the first three Winnie the Pooh films were all shorts, and the feature-length film in 1977 a series of vignettes rather than a single plot. But fans who fret a new story will lose the spirit of Pooh have nothing to worry about. The film and the Christopher Robin post-credit scene both capture the essence of the silly old bear and his friends in the 100 Acre Wood.
Yes, there is a post-credits sequence to Christopher Robin, and no, it doesn’t feature Nick Fury asking Hayley Atwell (who plays Christopher’s wife) if she is interested in founding S.H.I.E.L.D. along with her husband and armload of stuffed friends. Instead, it’s a tribute to the history of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh franchise, as well as Disney’s quirky musical genre.
The only issue is it’s a bit of a deep cut for Disney fans. Casual viewers will think it cute. Here are our friends, taking a relaxing breather on the beach in the late summer heat, cooling off after their crazy adventures. One assumes they traveled to this vacation spot in their own set of Winslow matched luggage.
But the real star of the 45-second sequence is an elderly man at a piano, joyfully playing a song called "Busy Doing Nothing." Around him, the beachgoers begin dancing to the infectious and very Disney sounding song, until nearly everyone in the crowd has joined in. Meanwhile, our stuffed friends chill in their beach chairs nearby.
That man at the piano is none other than Richard M. Sherman, of the Sherman Brothers fame. Richard and his late brother Robert were responsible for writing every single Winnie the Pooh song, from the opening "Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff" theme to Tigger’s classic number. They also wrote all the songs for Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Parent Trap, The Absent Minded Professor, The Sword In The Stone, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Aristocats… I could go on.
They’re also responsible for the earworm that’s going to get stuck in your head the moment you read the next words: “It’s a Small World.”
(Sorry. Here, this will help.)
As a film, Christopher Robin works as a nostalgic tribute to the decades of Winnie the Pooh cartoons without actually having to remake the original material shot for shot like the live action Beauty and the Beast did last year. The end credits sequence is a tribute to the men who gave the Pooh world all their songs.
Robert Sherman passed away back in 2012, but Richard is 90-year-young and counting. He’s still spry enough he can write songs and perform them in a movie that’s a tribute to the Pooh legacy. (Along with "Busy Doing Nothing," Sherman also wrote the film’s theme song "Christopher Robin.") Here’s to the men who made wonderful somethings out of just playing around busy doing nothing.
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