As is usual every time of year — at least in the UK — once the slew of yearly horror movies are out of the way from the Halloween season, we are then treated to a barrage of a different genre of movies: Christmas! We know, it’s not even December yet, but what brings the family together more closer than a nice family-friendly Christmas movie?
Amongst the first to be released for the season is NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY? Yes, I did just type, “Dude, where’s my donkey?” Believe me, my eyes rolled too when I saw the first TV spot on evening television, especially with a title like that.
The pupils of St. Bernadette’s and the madcap Mr. Poppy are back! When their new teacher Mr. Shepherd loses his memory as well as Archie the Donkey, it’s up to them to save the day and reunite him with his fiancée Sophie in New York. Prepare for a race against time, fantastic flashmobs and plenty of Christmas fun on their greatest adventure yet.
The synopsis above really does explain the movie in a nutshell; there really isn’t any need to expand any more on it. The only returning characters are some of the children, Jason Watkins as ‘Gordon Shakespeare’ and Marc Wootton as ‘Mr. Poppy’. Each movie has had a different main star with the first having Martin Freeman, the sequel having David Tennant and the third outing seeing Martin Clunes take the lead. Supporting cast include Celia Imrie replacing the role played by Pam Ferris in the first two movies as the new head teacher of the school, ‘Mrs. Keen’, and also adding in Catherine Tate as ‘Sophie’. A lot of these names probably won’t mean too much to those outside of the UK, but to those who do recognise the names, the cast for a British movie isn’t too bad at all.
I must admit, I’m very surprised that the NATIVITY franchise has managed to churn out three movies now. A British-made franchise, I’m not too sure on how popular the movies are outside of the UK, but they have seemed to have fared well during their theatrical runs. Now, admittedly, when I sat down to begrudgingly watch the first movie back in 2009, I wasn’t the least bit interested in it, but I have to secretly admit that I ended up enjoying it. Needless to say that I made a further cinema trip to watch the sequel NATIVTY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER and of course with the third one released, I had to see the latest instalment on the big screen and immediately thought I have the joy of sharing my opinion with all you lucky readers at Hi-Def Ninja.
NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY? is nothing new nor does it break any boundaries in the world of filmmaking. There are times when I sat there rolling my eyes and the movie is predictable, but overall it is quite the heart-warming family comedy that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. The film’s real star, as was in the first and more-so in the second, is Marc Wootton as ‘Mr. Poppy’. His silly, childlike character with his slapstick comedy will not fail to make you laugh out loud not once, but plenty of times. Any time I found myself getting slightly distracted with the movie, I was soon brought back into it by ‘Mr. Poppy’. NATIVITY 3 is not the strongest movie in the series, but it’s enjoyable to say the least and worth a watch, especially if you like the first two entries in the franchise. I also guarantee you’ll be singing the credits song afterwards, too.