The original British stop-motion animation television show, Postman Pat, has been given an upgrade for its big-screen debut. Preschoolers can now watch in computer-generated 3D as their favourite postman and his adorable cat Jess deliver the mail, rescue sheep out of trees and generally help the people of Greendale.

As far as facelifts go it's rather modest, retaining the bright, bold colours and style of the original stop-motion. The plot is not exactly cutting-edge either, based around Pat becoming an overnight singing sensation after entering an X-Factor-style competition hosted by a grumpy judge called -- wait for it -- Simon Cowbell. As the competition takes more and more of Pat's time his family and friends feel neglected, and his job is taken over by look-a-like robots.

They're the brainchild of an ambitious boss at the Special Delivery Service, who considers the human touch overrated and robots to be more efficient delivering mail. It's a rather dark turn and somewhat at odds with the spirit of the TV series. It even made my 7-year-old suddenly sit up and pay attention.

Stephen Mangan takes on the role of Postman Pat, but when it comes to belting out a ballad the responsibility is passed to Ronan Keating -- possibly an attempt to convince mums of Pat's charm.

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There's a smattering of adult friendly humour, but Postman Pat: The Movie is aimed at the littlies. It's not an ambitious debut on the big screen, but the target audience won't notice this or the uneven tone, they'll be enjoying the colourful animation, (mostly) lovely characters and upbeat music.

Cast:

Stephen Mangan, Rupert Grint, David Tennant

Director:

Mike Disa

Running Time:

85 mins

Rating:

G

Verdict:

Half-hearted but harmless flick.

- TimeOut