So of course we went to see the Peppa Pig Movie (sorry, “cinematic experience”) because we love our daughter and that means occasionally sacrificing one’s sanity for said love. We went to our local Picturehouse because they serve craft beer and artisanal popcorn and there are nice comfy sofas in the actual cinema screen and these things make the experience much more bearable. Other cinema chains are available, all of them full of animated pigs this Easter.
The following is not a rant about all my narrative, ideological and plain logical issues with Peppa Pig. That rant is here. This is a new and original polemic strictly limited to the cinematic experience.
1. The live action sections are totally wack
So, to make this thing marketable as a “cinematic experience” and not just the latest series of Peppa Pig shown on a really big screen with popcorn available in the foyer (nom) the makers have interspersed the animated episodes with live-action film segments hosted by a preternaturally perky blonde woman called Daisy and costumed characters purporting to be Peppa and George. Daisy is a standard-issue children’s presenter type and therefore filled with levels of bright-eyed pep that are completely intolerable to anyone over the age of six. Peppa and George wear freakishly immobile costumes with eyes that don’t blink and arms that remain stuck to the sides, and we found that actually quite unnerving.
The live-action segments are designed to add an element of interactivity to the proceedings by encouraging the kids (and the Mums and Dads! Come on, Mums and Dads!) to sing and do actions and roar like a dinosaur and whatnot. In our case they did the absolute opposite: Scarlett was fully engaged with the animated episodes, oinking along and identifying all the animals in the zoo and under the sea; the moment Daisy and the freaky puppets returned to the screen she lost all interest. Further back in the cinema we heard voices of more active dissent: “Shall we sing Row Row Row Your Boat?” suggests Daisy. “No,” came the firm reply.
2. The narrator tells us “When the Queen tells you to do something, you must do it” and I have issues with this
Peppa may accept this monarchist nonsense blindly, but I do not.
3. David Mitchell voices Policeman Panda and this made me want to see the late-night adult version of the same episode
This is less a criticism than a game of wish-fulfilment, really. But somebody should get onto scripting and animating that.
4. They go to Australia (spoiler) to stay with Kylie Kangaroo and apparently the budget could not accommodate the most obvious choice of celebrity for the voice role
Macy Danger does a perfectly adequate job, but this omission has “missed trick” written all over it.
5. The live action sections are totally wack (reprise)
What do you mean, “You do the pirate jig and you turn around/That’s what it’s all about?” My own Daddy Pig and I exchanged Hard Glances at that point. Emma Grace Arends is probably a lovely young lady, but she really needs to have a firm chat with her agent. And don’t get me started on why we first encounter her watering plastic flowers in a psychedelic garden that turns out to belong to Peppa and George. Why are you doing their gardening, woman? You’re not their housemaid.
Good things about the Peppa Pig film: while completely unbothered about the live action bits, Scarlett obviously loved all the animated episodes; the art direction is great and the colours look really good on a large screen; the episode where they all go to the zoo features a lot of hilarious lampshading of those in-universe questions about who’s a person and who’s a pet; and George turns out to be a natural at surfing. Good for George. Also popcorn is a delicious and appropriate form of lunch and cinemas containing sofas are excellent.
Seen the Peppa Pig movie and lived to tell the tale? Send your thoughts on the back of a slice of bacon, or in the comments below.