I must admit to never having read American author Francesca Simon’s very British-flavoured ‘Horrid Henry’ series, but I did recently flick through a book or two, and can see several reasons why Simon’s amusing characters and Tony Ross’s accompanying illustrations are so popular. So why on earth make a live-action 3D film with a cast who bear no resemblance to the illustrated characters in the books? Still, anyone unaware of the film’s roots will remain none the wiser and will probably find some semblance of entertainment in the film’s rascally pranks, the primary-colour palette and some of the more imaginative visual effects.
It’s unclear which particular book the film was inspired by, suffice to say it involves prankster Henry (Theo Stevenson) disrupting the day of Anjelica Huston’s caricatured Miss Battle-Axe and foiling a corrupt school takeover bid by Richard E Grant’s dastardly Vic Van Wrinkle. ‘Horrid Henry’ is indelibly flawed and disorderly in tone but not devoid of rambunctious charm.