What’s it all about?
Fungus is one of the breed of subterranean bogeymen – green troll-like, wilfully filthy creatures who try to scare humans by breaking into their homes at night and dirtying the furniture.
What to say if you liked it
A glorious adaptation of the Raymond Briggs classic brought to vivid life through computer graphics.
What to say if you didn’t like it
A cumbersome retelling of an already dull and stale children’s story that fails to spark into life.
What was good about it?
• The strong human cast – frustrated journalist George was played by Martin Clunes, his obsessively cleaning wife by Fay Ripley while promising newcomer Clare Thomas impressed as their daughter Jessica.
• Seeing that former EastEnders actress Anna Wing is still alive.
• The CGI that animates Fungus and his fellow bogymen, which is also used to illustrate the Bogeymen’s subterranean world – an ailing working class town of grim terraced houses, thick foggy streets where the inhabitants wear soiled unfashionable clothes.
• The subtle characterisation of Fungus and his family, where son Mucus rebels through his inappropriate impulse to be clean, and the humorous way they refer to humans as Dry Cleaners. Also, when bully Mould teases Mucus that in the world of Dry Cleaners he’ll be captured and “forced to watch films where everyone has white teeth”.
What was bad about it?
• The representation of the Bogymen, and their relationship to humans, seems to be an allegory of the working classes and the middle classes (which is also reflected in their respective environments), which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing were it not forthe explicit assertion that the Bogeymen can never belong “up top” and that they are satisfied in their unkempt, dim universe.
• Despite the general success of the CGI, there has still yet to be any animated film or programme that wasn’t blighted by the inherent vapidity of artificial characters where they are awarded incidental body language, such as shrugging of the shoulders, that appears contrived, awkward and overstated.
• The human working class duality of the Bogeymen’s world, complete with children going to school and doing exams, means it lacks a sense of a real alien environment like Harry Potter.