Redubbed from its original French version, Benjamin Renner (the Oscar-nominated ‘Ernest & Celestine’) and Patrick Imbert’s animation is a beautiful, thoroughly charming anthology piece.
It begins in a theatre, with a group of animals panicking before their impending performance of three stories. They needn’t have worried, because the telling of each is very well done. In ‘A Baby To Deliver’, a pig, a rabbit and a duck make a terrible hash of uniting a baby with its intended parents, after a stork decides he can’t be bothered dropping it off. ‘The Big Bad Fox’ sees a fox stealing three chicks with the intention of eating them, but finding himself overcome by parental instincts. The unseasonal ‘Saving Christmas’ has the trio from the first story on another absurd quest, this time to fill in for Father Christmas, who they think they’ve killed in a decorating mishap.
Each of the stories is told with a casual wit, slipping in some very smart lines and plenty of nods to other movies (see if you can spot a wink to ‘My Neighbour Totoro’). A voice cast of British talent – Celia Imrie, Bill Bailey, Adrian Edmondson – nails the deadpan tone. The animation looks simple, but the artistry of it becomes clear after a few minutes, its hand-sketched look like the pages of a storybook coming to life (it directly imitates Renner’s source comic). It’s gentle, silly, not overly moralistic and absolutely lovely.