“Why did we see that, mummy?”, asked the young child in front of us on the way out of seeing Peppa Pig’s cinema debut. “I could have watched those at home”.
Said child was almost entirely on the money too. As we’ve reported before, Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots isn’t a Peppa Pig film. Instead, it’s an “experience”. If you’re one of those who treats anything described as an “experience” with a cautiously raised eyebrow, then we’re on your team.
Appreciating that it’s concession prices across the board for this one, what you thus get with Peppa Pig at the cinema is a 15 minute new, extended episode. That’d be The Golden Boots. You then get some favourite episodes of the show. And you also get some links from a trio of enthusiastic Channel Five presenters. And be prepared to sit through the opening credits of Peppa Pig several times. They have not lopped those off.
So let’s do the various assorted bits in turn.
I’ve made the comparison before, but the Shaun The Sheep movie managed to get an 80 minute story together, without even needing dialogue. The Golden Boots is fine, but it’s basically two episodes mashed together. So, you get the first part where Mrs Duck robs said boots, and people chase her. To the moon at one point. I shit you not. Lest anyone ask ‘why do you write about Peppa Pig at Den Of Geek’, it’s science fiction for a start.
Then, there’s a competition about jumping into muddy puddles, and making the biggest splash. In it, Daddy Pig proves he’s a bit useless.
Now: I like Peppa Pig. Genuinely. I took my 6-year old daughter to see this, and she thought it was okay. Notably though, it was the episodes we’ve long since had stored on our Sky+ box that got the biggest audience reaction. The individual episodes include the one where Miss Rabbit meets the Queen, the one where Useless Daddy Pig sets fire to something, the one where Useless Daddy Pig does something else, and the one where baby Alexander learns to say his first words. Which, surprisingly, weren’t “Daddy Pig, you’re such a tit”.
The loudest reaction was for the one that takes place in snow, and I’ve got to say, the five individual episodes were well chosen. At least if the anklebiters of the Empire Cinema in Rubery were anything to go by.
Bizarrely though, a reminder that this was some stuff off the telly plonked on the big screen was never far away though. I’ve never seen the kids’ TV extravaganza Milkshake, but three presenters of said show were kitted out in Peppa Pig T-shirts, and put together some links. It wasn’t like this in my day. We just had Andy Crane and Edd The Duck, and he did us fine. That was on a 14″ telly, too.
Anyway, these presenters did their best. It’s quite hard to generate audience interaction in pre-recorded material, but to their credit, they did get some mutterings of ‘Peppa’ when they asked the audience to shout out the pig’s name. Less successful were the moments where they tried to engage the grown-ups. We couldn’t hear the grown ups, they chastised us at one point. Damn straight you couldn’t. I was too busy working out how many Peppa Pig DVDs I could have got from the garden centre for the entry price of this charade.
One thing of note: there’s clearly a tip of the hat to Marvel too, in that there’s a post-credits sting here. Don’t go expecting Nick Fury, though. Nope: it’s the same three presenters, trying to get me to dance again.
Not a bloody chance.
The low-rent nature of the generally enthusiastic links was brought home when the happy trio of sugar-filled grinners were joined by Peppa. Only they weren’t. There was no attempt to, Roger Rabbit-like (and that was decades again, remember), weave animation in with live action. Nope, they just hired someone to wear a big, furry Peppa Pig costume. Think Disneyland, but with a tenth of the budget. Presumably, so keen were all concerned to make as much money out of this venture as possible, that they promptly flogged the Peppa costume to Pontins as soon as the cameras were packed away.
There is an upside to Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots, though. As a stepping stone to cinema for the very young, it’s a very easy place to start. You might not get the sense of wonder of a proper feature film, and I confess to still being dubious about the cash-in nature of the whole enterprise. But I did turn and look around at my fellow 10am patrons, and there was a whole bunch of people engaging with their kids, watching these mainly premium repeats. Not one of the parents was on their mobile phone, and it was a pretty full screening. That has to count for something, and it helps save Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots from one star.
I still don’t agree with what they’ve done here. I think it’s poor value, and the lowest amount of effort that could have been put in to get Peppa on the big screen (the whole thing still runs under an hour). But Peppa Pig is still fun, and the cartoons themselves are good to very good.
Yet this against Shaun The Sheep? Aardman bothered. The Peppa team pretty much just turned up.
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