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Once Upon A Forest Review

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A young badger is left in a coma after being poisoned by some toxic waste that killed her parents. Three of her friends - a mouse, a mole and a hedgehog - agree to set out and find the cure. Along the way they must learn to work together and overcome many obstacles to help save their friend.

★★★★

Down in Dapplewood forest, things are mighty frolicsome and cuddle-happy as Cornelius, a wise old badger stuck with Michael Crawford's voice, educates three ickle "furlings" in the ways of nature. When a nasty old chemical truck overturns and pollutes the whole place with poison gas, snuffing Michelle the Badger's parents and putting her in a coma, Cornelius sends his three best pupils — Abigail the wood mouse, Edgar the myopic mole and Russell the fat hedgehog — on a perilous journey to pluck some herbs which can bring the badger back to life.

On the way, the heroic junior vermin encounter a one-eyed, malevolent bird and narrowly escape being turned into owl pellets before bumping into a bunch of African-American grebes who do a New Orleans funeral number that stands out like a turd in a fruit bowl. Some ominous construction equipment suggests a motorway is about to plough through this rustic paradise, but the plot skitters on to happier problems.

Finally, with the help of a rickety flying-machine, mission is accomplished and everyone ends up okay, except for Michelle's parents (who are still dead). With songs flatter than one of Russell's siblings under a two-ton lorry, eco-smarm even more excessive than Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, a dose of the cutes calculated to make even youngsters throw up, and anthropomorphic heroes who have no character traits bar those cribbed from other cartoons, this is, fundamentally, an ordeal.

Tale of how humans are killing the environment and not thinking of our little forest friends. Sounds good in practice but with a plot where very little happens and songs that really shouldn't have been included, sticking the kids in front of David Attenborough sounds much more appealing.