Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in the company of a preschooler has cursed Peppa Pig. Flipping the pig the bird is pretty much a parental right of passage. Along with indelibly imprinting every word of The Gruffalo on your long term memory and continuing to prefix farm animal names with the sound they make, irrespective of whether children are in earshot. Happily, for the former at least, revenge is within your grasp…
Illustrator Ted Sieger’s Molly Monster comes to the big screen this weekend with a monstrously sweet and refreshingly simple story to tell. Molly’s primary coloured, clockwork world is about to be rocked by the arrival of a brand new sibling. The sensible sister-to-be sets to work knitting a cosy hat to help her process the big news and welcome the new baby. Her wind-up pal Edison is not to be so easily won over. What if Molly loves the baby more?
Exploring accessible themes of sibling rivalry, insecurity and familial love, Molly Monster takes young viewers on a gentle emotional journey. One which will be familiar to any child who has awaited a birth with mixed feelings. Molly’s parents – Popo and Etna Monster – must travel to Egg Island where Popo will sit and hatch the egg Etna has laid. Little Molly needs to be brave, say goodbye and entrust her whacky uncles with her wellbeing until her mummy and daddy return.
Molly Monster is undeniably and unashamedly a feature for young audiences only. The ingenuity of the Richard Scarry-esque character renderings and landscapes may raise a smile of recognition, and even pleasure, in grown-up escorts but there are no winks of script or narrative to soften the babyish blow. Your mind will wander and the modest 72 minute runtime (ideal as a cinematic dress rehearsal or training wheels to build tolerance for longer films) does drag.
When Molly realises her gift has been left behind in the bustle of farewells she and Edison set off in hot pursuit of the egg, determined to hat it before it can hatch. Traversing extraordinary landscapes and relying upon the kindness of a series of extremely strange strangers, Molly and her reluctant sidekick have an invaluable opportunity to bond. Can their friendship recover recent hurts? Will they find Etna and Popo in time? Is Molly’s heart big enough to love Edison AND a brother?
Naturally everyone lives happily ever after. John Chambers’ carefully mild screenplay and Ted Sieger’s charming visuals reassure and signpost towards this every step of the way. Sophie Rois lends Molly a peculiarly pitched vocal but keeps the tone dynamic enough to engage. For children under the age of 7 there is much to enjoy. While adults can relax safe in the knowledge that there will be no merchandise demands in the aftermath. One in the eye for that puddle bothering pig!
Molly Monster is out in cinemas now!