Jan Lachauer & Max Lang | 25 mins | TV (HD) | 16:9 | UK / English | U
This one concerns a witch, her broom, and all the creatures that want to ride on it. It’s a simple story with simple rhyme for little kids, of course, but that’s where its joy lies. Pre-schoolers are treated to far better poetry (because, ultimately, that’s what it is) than the dreary stuff us adults are meant to engage with. Along the way there’s moral lessons and whatnot too, which even if you can see coming, are freshly presented.
The animation retains the claymation-esque style employed for the previous two films, and consequently looks just as good. The creatures are all imbued with acres of character, mainly thanks to the animators — there’s an all-star voice cast, but as each has about two lines to deliver (literally, with the exception of the narrator), it’s in their actions and reactions that most of the character comes through, and consequently that most of the story is told. For what it’s worth, voice work is provided by Simon Pegg (narrating) with Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon, Timothy Spall, Martin Clunes, Sally Hawkins and David Walliams.
Those seeking adult-aimed sophistication must look elsewhere, but for a family audience — or anyone who’s a bit of a child at heart — I think this is charming fare, more or less the equal of any short film Pixar has to offer. If these adaptations are to become a regular Christmas Day treat, you’ll hear no complaints from me.