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This pre-schooler-friendly, but somehow not sappy, animated feature is a French-Belgian production which has been seamlessly dubbed into English by a fine ensemble of British actors.The amusing dialogue in the first of this three-part package – a little trifle about a meddlesome duck (Bill Bailey), a controlling pig (Justin Edwards) and a dozy rabbit (Adrian Edmondson) who have various misadventures when they offer to deliver a human baby for an injured stork – probably wouldn’t be side-splitting if you read it on the page. But somehow the fusion of the performers’ droll delivery, the spare yet expressive character designs and well-observed movement creates a real warmth and wit.
The central tale, in which a fox (Giles New) accidentally adopts a brood of chicks who decide he is their mother, also induces chuckles and the odd guffaw, especially the bits involving the chicks’ real mum (Celia Imrie at her imperious best) who takes up self-defence.
The finale reteams the pig, duck and rabbit for a Christmas-themed romp that is the weakest segment in narrative terms, but does feature some choice lines by Phill Jupitus as a lazy farmyard hound.
Almost all the animals have big buggy eyes and rounded bodies. And, like the sweet film Ernest and Celestine (2012), on which the Big Bad Fox directors (Patrick Imbert and Benjamin Renner) worked previously, the graphics have a loose, hand-drawn quality, with hasty brushwork-style lines and watercolour splashes filling the spaces.
The look is cute, deceptively simple and suggestive of the illustrations in children’s books, however, the 2D minimalism is executed with a high degree of craft. It is hard to make something like this look so easy and effortless.
Source: The Guardian
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