Film Review – Smallfoot (2018)

Who hasn’t wanted to meet a real-life Yeti and wondered if they really, truly exist among us? The stuff of fantasy and fairy tales, the abominable snowman had fascinated us for thousands of years as to whether or not they prowl the snowy mountain tops of the Himalayas and, finally, we have our answer. Well, in all-singing, all-dancing animated form that is as the big-footed dudes are the subject of Smallfoot, the latest film from Warner Bros Animation and like some of their previous adventures, this one is a whole heap of fun.

Up in the clouds and hidden away from sight live the Yeti’s, high above the mountain tops detached from the rest of the world which to them is the stuff of legends. Led by ancient stones that have shown the way for them for thousands of years, the Yeti’s live peacefully together with each having their own assigned task that keeps their way of life on an even keel. Migo (Channing Tatum) lives with his father Dorgle (Danny DeVito) who is the town’s gong ringer, trusted with waking the community every morning as the sun begins to pass over head.

As curious as he is tempestuous, Migo is keen to succeed his father one day but is struck (quite literally) but things falling from the sky – he lays eyes on a legendary smallfoot, thought to be the stuff of legends. Smallfoots, of course, being humans and Migo, together with the Smallfoot Evidentiary Society, led by Stonekeeper’s own daughter, MeeChee (Zendaya), set out into the unknown world of the those below and soon stumble upon out-of-luck wildlife documentarian Percy Patterson (James Corden, the film’s only real bum-note) who is desperate to get his show back on track that he will believe anything he sees – even if that thing is a 10ft tall mythological creature.

Given the sheer amount of titles that come through an ever-increasing marketplace but the simple reason is that animation is a lucrative business: relatively cheap to make with plenty of pennies to be made in return but to stand-out is quite a skill but thankfully Smallfoot is one of the more impressive features of 2018. Taking its cue from the classic stylings of Mel Blanc and the Looney Tunes with some dashings of Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, the film is a rambunctious little gem that is both very funny (there’s a couple of brilliant sight gags to get the gut busting) and touching. And while it may not have quite enough to lure in adults as much as it does youngsters, there are enough lessons about family, legacy and the real monsters of the world for audiences to learn from.

Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, who delivered the equally brilliant Over The Hedge over a decade ago, with gusto and panache that illuminates the screen that overflows with colour and wonder, while some catchy songs – two showstoppers from Tatum and Zendaya will stick in everyone’s head – help it along its way. It may not be the very best that animation has to offer but it does offer up an enjoyable and lively adventure that is sure to have many fans.

Scott J.Davis| [rating=3]

Animation, Adventure | USA, 2018 | PG | 12th October 2018 | Warner Bros Pictures | Dir.Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig | Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, Danny Devito

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