Sunday, 2 December 2012

228, Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger

Although I saw this movie last week I could not bear to write anything 'Christmassy' until at least December, hence the delay in getting this blog out there - but now the silly season has well and truly began, my own decorations are up and I'm already counting down the doors on my advent calender what better way to kick of the festive season with what could possible be the best Christmas kids movie..................EVER!

Okay, so its a sequel - harping right back to Nativity! (Blog 9 - 2009) where Martin Freeman (Hobbit) planned on getting a Hollywood studio in on his annual School Nativity play with the fantastic Mr Poppy offering childlike support and capturing the total essence of Christmas, as well as every laugh in the script.  Well, Freeman has gone and in his place - replacement teacher Mr Peterson (David Tennant) who's sullen take on teaching is somewhat thwarted by the over eager antics of the still hilarious Mr Poppy (Mark Wootton) who's back (thankfully) and this time is eager to enter his class into A Song for Christmas

A Christmas Number 1 beckons as does potential fame and fortune and with quite a catchy little number up his sleeve, and against the permission of the Headmistress manages to make off to the Welsh countryside with a herd of excitable albeit kidnapped kiddies and a baby!

Pam Ferris returns as the Headmistress and Tennant's wife, played Joanna Page both add great elements of sanity to the script which is completely and brilliantly ruled by Mr Poppy.  I challenge the most straight laced of you to watch this without cracking a smile or indeed - full blown guffaw to his antics that see everything from a London Duck Tour Bus ride through the Welsh valleys to the most unbelievable abseiling scene ever captured on film!

The most heartwarming feature in this though is the kids.  With recognisable faces from TV adverts and a few returning (I think) from part 1 these natural comedic talents really make the movie.  From the sublime to the ridiculous you will laugh along to shoddy auditions, bad dancing and even feel terrible laughing at the slightly chubby kid who keeps doing back spins but none of that matters - together they are a collection of lovable rogues - specifically chosen to make the movie a real pleasure to watch.

As the film unravels we get to meet once again - competitive music teacher Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) who as in part 1, is intent on walking away with the prize in one of the most ambitious song sketches ever carried out by school kids but this time, as well as Poppy's ensemble of slightly less professional students (although the X-factor style auditions will have you belly laughing in the isles) he has Mr Peterson's over achieving twin brother Roderick to contend with (also played by Tennant of course!) and it becomes a three way battle, not only of the songs but of the brothers own prowess to see who walks away with the crown.

The Nativity plot comes spattered throughout with the pregnancy of Mr Peterson's wife and a resulting stable birth, complete with shining star and Donkey that is set up brilliantly throughout the entire movie and as it pieces itself together it doesn't take long to realise whats unfolding in front of you.

If I had one criticism its that the other songs, played out at the end as we await the arrival of Poppy's troop did seem to go on a bit too long with every perceivable genre of music being acted out and after 4 or 5, did become tedious but that aside - I loved every minute of it.

You cant really go wrong with this - in a world overtaken by kids animation its fun to see real actors in a kids film and being Christmas - this could possibly be the best one out in 2012.  Yes, there is the visually brilliant Rise of the Guardians and the kiddies favourite Tinkerbell movies alongside and for the rest of us, December is really all about the release of Peter Jackson's first part of The Hobbit but before then, make sure you don't miss out on this comedy masterpiece that's as inspiring as it is silly and I dare you now to walk away wishing Mr Poppy was YOUR teacher when you were 6!