Postman Pat: The Movie (2014)

Postman PatFearing that his wife (Susan Duerden) might have finally tired of their mind-numbing existence together, and knowing that the one thing she truly wants out of life is to be able to say that she has visited Italy, Pat Clifton (Stephen Mangan), Greendale’s most popular postie, decides to enter a talent show that just happens to be offering as its prize two plane tickets to her destination of choice. Happily, he just happens to have the voice of Ronan Keating, and becomes something of a singing sensation as he proceeds through the competition, where his only real rival is Josh (Rupert Grint) — or rather Josh’s manager (David Tennant) — who will do just about anything to win. Back at Greendale’s Post Office, a new manager is laying off staff, replacing them with a fleet of Patbot 3000 robots. Carbuncle (Peter Woodward) plans to use them to take over the world, but with Pat beginning to miss his friends and family time is running out.

The beautiful thing about animation — particularly 3D computer animation — is that the possibilities are limitless. Thanks to Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks we have in recent years seen an ice princess freeze a fjord, found robot love in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and even learnt how to train a dragon. Animated films often rank among the most popular, highest-grossing and indeed best films of the year, enchanting children and adults alike with their vivid characters, witty scripts and luscious visuals. It takes the latest technologies, hundreds of animators and thousands of working hours to produce an animated film, and this passion and dedication is more often than not visible in each strand of hair, each blade of grass and each block of LEGO.

There is sadly nothing beautiful about Postman Pat: The Movie, a new British animated movie from Classic Media, the studio behind Guess With Jess, an interactive television series featuring Pat’s cat of the same name. Rather than embrace the quaint charm of the classic stop-motion series and follow in the footsteps of LAIKA or Aardman Animations, Classic Media have instead opted for what is essentially a feature-length episode of the more recent but infinitely less inspiring spin-off, only with a redundant 3D makeover and B-list “celebrity” voices. Postman Pat: The Movie starts with an eye-wateringly lurid panning shot, which follows an ugly little train through an garish little countryside to the gaudy little town of Pencaster. There is no wonderment, no artistry, no dynamism, just a cast of crude characters and a cat that is more likely to grace your nightmares than your Happy Meal.

While far from exciting, at least this sense of mild triviality is in keeping with the institution that — along with Fireman Sam — grew to define many a Brit’s childhood. However, even director Mike Disa seems to have his doubt’s about the character’s ability to entertain (read: make money) in the 21st Century, as he conspires to get Pat out of the dales as soon as is physically possible. The results are incredibly cynical (and silly), as Pat auditions for a talent show (Britain’s Got Talent in all but name), lets fame go to his head and simply fails to notice while a series of laser-eyed robots modelled on himself and Jess threaten to take over the world, one letter at a time. It’s also a little ambitious, at least for Disa’s team, who would struggle to produce an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse let alone a motion picture people might willingly pay for.

Maybe the audience are at fault for coming to expect so much from animated films — breathtaking visuals, big laughs and adventure for all of the family — but Postman Pat: The Movie seems completely incapable of delivering anything but mail. Inane, misguided and just a little bit insulting (“don’t ever work with children, animals or Scotsmen” is the film’s only attempt at a joke), Disa’s film isn’t just an eyesore but an affront to sense in general.





About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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