Christmas 2013: best films on TV today, Sunday 29 December

Happy Feet, Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides, Fantastic Mr Fox, Scott of the Antarctic, Shirley Valentine

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Monsters vs Aliens – 1:55pm, BBC1

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Five freaks of nature, not unlike those classic science-fiction icons Mothra, the Blob, the 50 Foot Woman, the Fly and the Gillman, are released from US government security to stave off an alien invasion in this charming, funny and ingeniously detailed cartoon caper from DreamWorks. 

Happy Feet – 2.15pm, 5*

It combines jaw-dropping computer animation with contemporary and classic tunes to bring to life a simple but eloquent story of an outcast emperor penguin’s struggle for acceptance. Cutie Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) hatches without the ability to sing. What he can do however is tap dance brilliantly, leading to social rejection that prompts him to embark on an exciting quest to prove his worth. The voice talent is also seriously classy, with Robin Williams (in dual roles) a highlight in a cast that also includes Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman as Mumble’s parents.

Fantastic Mr Fox – 6:10pm, More4

Mr Fox (George Clooney) promises his wife that he’ll mend his wily chicken-thieving ways, only for temptation to get the better of him. There’s sterling voice work from Michael Gambon as one of Mr Fox’s farmer adversaries, and Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson provide strong support. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides – 8:00pm, BBC1

Penélope Cruz brings Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow on board to find the Fountain of Youth and save her dad from a prophesied fate. Ian McShane is a welcome addition as Blackbeard, bringing grizzled charm even while committing acts of great evil.

Scott of the Antarctic – 9:00pm, BBC4

Murderously cold weather and a rival batch of explorers conspire to stop British Explorer Robert Falcon Scott on his expedition to discover the South Pole. This is a thrilling tale based on a true story. 

Shirley Valentine – 11:05pm, Channel 5

A long-suffering housewife decamps to a Greek island to find what’s missing in her life. A romantic comedy that’ll warm the heart as Shirley discovers what she, and life, is all about.


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