Stick Man is a charming children’s tale from the pen of Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson. Despite the spin that Stick Man is part of the world of the Gruffalo, the character really isn’t anything to do with those books. It’s much simpler than that; this is the simple story about a man who happens to be a stick. This animated adaptation of the best-selling book attempts to capture the simplicity and joy of the book and almost succeeds.
This is a beautifully animated kids tale about a sentient stick that gets torn away from its stick family due to bad luck. Stick Man’s life is a disaster, because he’s a stick that keeps getting played with. Each encounter has a repetitive and memorable little ditty that accompanies it, of course.
The whole thing is brought to life mostly due to the vocal talents of Martin Freeman as the Stick, Jennifer Saunders as The Narrator and Hugh Bonneville as Santa. They bring warmth to this wintery, Christmassy tale, which is welcome and required for it to work.
The DVD extras are rather lovely. We get the expected ‘Making of’ style documentary that talks about the entire process of making the whole thing. From the author’s original idea, to the way the animators changed the story to make it suitably dramatic for the small screen, we get a rough and ready idea of how the process works. It’s also a pleasure to be introduced to actors. We also get a brief recording of story time at children’s literature festival; it’s hard to see how this really connects with The Stickman, as it’s a different children’s story, but it’s pleasing none the less.
Overall, Stick Man is a DVD that you can safely put on the TV and keep the small people in your life blessedly quiet for just under half an hour. For adults, it’s visual equivalent of a warm mug of cocoa. Charming British animation at its best.
Special Features: Making Of, Storytime Recording
STICK MAN / CERT: U / DIRECTORS: JEROEN JASPAERT, DANIEL SNADDON / SCREENPLAY: JEROEN JASPAERT, MAX LANG / STARRING: MARTIN FREEMAN, JENNIFER SAUNDERS, RUSSELL TOYEY, HUGH BONNEVILLE, SALLY HAWKINS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW