It’s been seven years since Disney’s last big-screen feature with the animated movie simply titled Winnie the Pooh. The silly old bear finally returns but this time as a CG creation in the live-action feature Christopher Robin. Finding Neverland director Marc Forster tackles the material with an earnest and nostalgic take, staying true to the beloved characters with a simple by the numbers movie. It’s a more somber take on the franchise but never forgets its whimsy. Christopher Robin is a surprisingly well-crafted family movie that is as funny as it is heartfelt.

Christopher Robin’s plot is sort of like the movie Hook; an adult Christopher Robin must return to the 100 Acre wood after he loses his sense of fun and imagination. The boy who was once full of creativity and joy is now a middle-aged man engulfed in his work. His wife and daughter are put on the backburner as he puts his job first. Having to skip a family trip to his childhood home with the family, he stays behind in London to budget crunch for an important meeting. Suddenly his old childhood pal Winnie the Pooh comes into his world asking for his help to find his friends. Christopher Robin and the stuffed bear embark on an adventure back to his childhood landscape in hopes of helping his old friends.

Ewan McGregor stars as the adult titular character but the biggest stars in the movie are the CG creations of the 100 Acre Woods. Winnie the Pooh has never been more adorable in his raggedy fur and round warm eyes. It’s a great look exchanging the bright, perfect colors of the animated show to a more realistic used, stuffed animal with darker imperfect shades.

But even more impressive than the CG, is that the movie doesn’t sway from the classic characters we know and love. From pessimistic Eyore to worrisome Piglet, the characters stay true in all their innocence and humility. Their characteristics are timeless and the story embraces the nostalgia of each one of them. Winnie the Pooh is almost like a walking talking fortune cookie spouting lines like “Doing nothing often leads to the best kind of something.” He is a sweet and lovable character that is a friend/child/mentor to Christopher Robin.

Marc Forester brings a warmth to the big screen even if gets into the cliché territory. What is particularly impressive is how much detail into the sets and costumes this movie puts on display. The mid-20th century backdrop is a creative touch that gives the movie a timeless feel. And the majestic sweeping musical score should get some attention come awards season. It’s really some top notch crafts material for a family movie.

The movie takes a while to actually get in motion unsure of the tone or pacing. It’s a bit bloated at the start-even slow, but once Winnie the Pooh makes his way into the picture the movie soars.  It’s unapologetic ally idealistic, shedding all cynicism, allowing its message of kindness to shine. Sure, it’s beat by beat predictable but the humor and heart go a long way.  Compared to other cartoon creatures turned live action, Christopher Robin is luckily more Paddington than the Chipmunks. The movie doesn’t talk down to children and it’s not afraid to venture into sorrow. It’s pure, simple, and full of heart- just like Pooh Bear.