Film Review: 'Postman Pat: The Movie'

★☆☆☆☆
After more than three decades entertaining children on TV, Postman Pat makes the transition to the big-screen in Postman Pat: The Movie (2014). The result is a lacklustre offering that comes as a far cry to the charming stop-motion TV series fostered by original creators John Cunliffe and Ivor Wood. Desperate to treat his loyal wife to a romantic holiday, Pat (Stephen Mangan) is forced to enter an X Factor-style talent competition when his bonus is scrapped. An overnight sensation, Pat is whisked away to London, where he immediately settles into his newfound celebrity status, leaving Carbunkle (Peter Woodward) - the postal service's evil new recruit - to replace him with hundreds of automatons.

It's thus up to Pat and his trusty black and white cat, Jess, to realise his true calling and save his family and friends before it's too late. Postman Pat: The Movie is a miscalculated, elaborate and decidedly unsettling outing for everyone's favourite postman than the average pre-schooler will be used to, who are - arguably - Postman Pat's target audience. The script, which hails from Annika Bluhm, Nicole Dubuc and Kim Fuller, is unnecessarily overcomplicated and not favourable in the slightest. It's essentially more an ode to Simon Cowell (here Simon Cowbell) and his brand of Saturday night 'entertainment' than a film of charm. In fact, all the series' and wholesomeness has been sucked dry not only by the script's lifelessness, but also by the shift from traditional stop-motion animation to cost-effective CGI.

Instead of feeling warm and lived-in, the film is too clean-cut in its presentation, with the characters reeking of the dead-eye effect that renders them expressionless and creepy. It's disheartening, as the movie features a range of talented actors - from Green Wing star Mangan as Pat himself to Harry Potter's Rupert Grint as Pat's competition in the talent show - who do their utmost to bring some heart and soul to the table. Ultimately, it simply isn't enough. Bar a neat tracking shot through Greendale as Pat carries out his typical morning routine and the odd Easter egg planted here and there, Postman Pat: The Movie is a disappointment; a modern-day reinvention of a traditional, much-loved classic that differs so far from its comfort zone that it'll have a difficult time winning audiences, let alone maintaining there attention.

Jamie Neish

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