The Gruffalo’s Child (2011)

2011 #94a
Johannes Weiland & Uwe Heidschötter | 26 mins | TV | 16:9 | UK / English | U

The Gruffalo's ChildShown on BBC One over Christmas, this animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo’s Child is the sequel to the Oscar-nominated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo (of course). For my money, it’s every bit as good as the first film.

Indeed, you could re-read my review of the first film and apply the same comments here. The pace is still considered — or, to be less polite, slow; but beautifully so. Though this time they’ve thrown some action sequences into the mix (yes, action sequences) to help round out the short picture book to a full half-hour film. Perhaps surprisingly, they work. The voice cast are the same, with the addition of Shirley Henderson as the titular girl-beast, and she fits in perfectly.

The CG animation retains the original’s “is it claymation?” feel, though the wintry setting allows the animators to really show off with some truly stunning snow. Most of the film goes for an appropriately cartoony style, but the various types of frozen water on display could pass for the real thing.

Lovely stuff, then, and thankfully every bit the equal of the first (which, in my opinion, the book isn’t). There was no nomination forthcoming at this year’s Oscars, but then with their complicatedly specific eligibility rules maybe it wasn’t released soon enough to qualify. Maybe next year.

4 out of 5

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