When I asked the Mertmas, who was sitting in his “Godzilla” pyjamas playing with a toy Toothless the dragon what he’d like to see at the cinema, I thought I was onto a sure thing. Imagine my surprise when he adamantly and unswervingly decided he wanted to see “Postman Pat The Movie”.
When Postman Pat (Stephen Mangan) enters a talent show in order to win a trip to Italy for himself and his wife, wowing the world with his singing voice, his sudden fame starts to take over his life and provides an opportunity for Edwin Carbunkle (Peter Woodward),an unscrupulous executive at the Special Delivery Service to put his plans for radical automation into action.
There are really two separate stories at work during the film and it feels like the writers couldn’t come up with a plot to sustain a feature length movie so they picked the two best ones they’d come up with and jam them together, papering over the joins to hide the clumsy stitching job. The talent contest aspect in particular feels crass and out of place in a Postman Pat story, cynically designed to allow the recruitment of some low-voltage star power in the shape of Ronan Keating who plays Pat’s singing voice. The other plot, as the unfeasibly well-resourced postal service of the tiny village of Greendale is mechanised and automated by an army of robopostmen is stronger and feels more like a natural fit as a Postman Pat movie but the whole thing is still a huge, clumsy leap from the gently bucolic, simple stories of the original Cbeebies series and it makes you wonder exactly who was the target audience for this?
The voice cast are as good as the material allows them to be, although Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint and especially David Tennant are wasted in small, almost superfluous roles. There are a few witty moments and in-jokes for the parents and older siblings who may get dragged along to this, such as the parade of potential delivery robots and the meta treatment of the Postman Pat theme and merchandise. Towards the end, there’s an amusing and unexpected nod to “The Terminator” with an unstoppable and relentless robo-Jess but there’s no escaping that the simple computer animation used here makes the movie look cheaper and more basic than the TV series which spawned it.
The unfortunately underweight production values coupled with convoluted plot results in a poor straight-to-video standard movie too complex and noisy for the tiny tots who watch the TV show and not interesting or engaging enough for older children. It’s safe to say “The Mertmas” ended up wishing he’d gone to see “Godzilla”. Far from being a special delivery, “Postman Pat: The Movie” feels decidedly second class.