Netflix UK film review: Postman Pat: The Movie
Jokes for the film fans in the audience6
Appropriateness for its target audience5
Ian Loring | On 10, Jan 2015
Director: Mike Disa
Cast: Stephen Mangan, Ronan Keating, Jim Broadbent, David Tennant
Watch Postman Pat online in the UK: Netflix UK / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Any parent who has young kids is probably aware of the modern TV version of Postman Pat with its frequent showings on CBeebies. Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service has seen Pat move on from just delivering letters and small packages to essentially becoming a courier and occasionally using a helicopter to get around, complete with a diverse range of supporting characters taking in different ethnicities and people with disabilities. It is a harmless enough show, which still retains the quaint charm of the original. Postman Pat: The Movie takes the world of Special Delivery Service but adds evil robots and X-Factor-esque singing contests. To top it all off, Pat has now acquired the ability to sound like Ronan Keating when singing, but nothing like him when talking. Forget Under The Skin: if you want one of the weirder films of recent memory, this is for you.
It is not so much the story of Postman Pat: The Movie that is odd. It is your usual, mid-range animated fare, with a simple moral about not forgetting where you come from and how family is important. The problem is what surrounds it.
Pat being played by Stephen Mangan when talking but by Ronan Keating when singing is baffling – Keating does little to hide his Irish singing voice and, to add to the distraction, he also plays himself in a cameo on the same programme Pat finds himself on. The inter-textual oddities don’t stop there, however: there are references made to such inappropriate fare such as Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! and 2001: A Space Odyssey and even a homage to notorious Hollywood blog site Deadline Hollywood. The filmmakers are obviously fans of cinema and this type “jokes for the parents” fare is common in films such as these, but it is particularly weird in a movie aimed at the youngest members of the audience.
From an adult point of view, it does contain a couple of laughs, most notably a test for a new line of postal workers, which culminates in a familiar-looking robot demanding an old lady accept his fruit basket. (It’s funnier than it sounds.) But Postman Pat has its small screen place in CBeebies and a U classification to match. Most of the time, there is material in here which could be upsetting to kids.
(The film had bright colours and fun music aplenty for the one-year old in this reviewer’s house but one moment made her visibly upset with the image of a Terminator-esque robot cat moving towards the screen. She is young, obviously, but this, along with the image of an army of Robo-Pats marching around, is a touch full-on in an otherwise fairly gentle film.)
Postman Pat: The Movie also has trouble with announcing itself as a cinematic proposition. The animation looks exactly the same as the TV series, which is a shame. 2007’s The Simpsons Movie heralded a new look and that alone made it more filmic. Here, we get the most basic of textures and a flat, oddly bare feel, where nothing feels particularly lived in – the climax of the film takes place at the drabbest TV show you’ve ever seen.
Postman Pat: The Movie is not a film you feel anyone could particularly hate, but it is painfully average in concept and execution. For the younger kids, some moments may be a bit too much, but if you have six to eight year olds who will still sit through it, parents will get an hour and a half of peace well enough.
Postman Pat: The Movie is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.