Postman Pat: The Movie
A serviceable kids film undermined by grating tribute to Simon Cowell and idyllic Royal Mail nostalgia
Turning classic children's TV shows into full-length features appears to be all the rage at the moment, what with a big screen outing for Paddington due in November and this adaptation of Postman Pat out in May. Created by children's author John Cunliffe, Pat made his first TV appearance in 1981, with revamped versions of the show being produced in 1996 and 2004. Predictably enough, the film replaces the charming stop-motion animation of the TV series with CGI, but at least they have the good grace to make a joke about it.
The plot sees kind-hearted Postman Pat (voiced by Stephen Mangan) entering a Britain's Got Talent-style competition in order to win a holiday for his wife Sara (Susan Duerden). After wowing judge Simon Cowbell (Robin Atkin Downes) with an unexpected belter of a singing voice (courtesy of Ronan Keating), Pat finds himself whisked away to London for promotional duties, leaving scheming post office manager Mr Carbunkle (Peter Woodward) to replace Pat with a super-efficient (but not as nice to his customers) robot called the PatBot 3000. Naturally, this turns out to be phase one of Carbunkle's evil plot to take over the world (the details aren't clear), but with Pat's head turned by his newfound celebrity, will he wise up and save the day before it's too late?
To be fair, this is a perfectly serviceable kids' film that delivers a strong central message and should play fairly well to its target audience of very young children. There are even a couple of decent jokes for dragged-along adults (notably the robot test footage sequence and a meta-gag about the TV series), though the kow-towing to Simon Cowell grates a bit and the idyllic image of the Royal Mail is likely to provoke snorts of bitter irony, given its current treatment by the government.
General release from Fri 23 May.