Film Review – Smallfoot (2018)

This hectic and visually charming Warner Bros animation looks, like a glass Hercules under a toffee hammer, to do a bit of myth-shattering. A table-turning story about an isolated community of yetis high in the Himalayas, Karey Kirkpatrick, and Clare Sera’s screenplay provides young audiences with a valuable message about questioning authority and kicking against the status quo. It’s full of interesting ideas about blind faith, curiosity, and empathy to stimulate young minds. It’s also full of dreary quips, mundane songs, and irritant scatterbrain characters to annoy any adults unlucky enough to have been roped into chaperoning a team of sugar-hyped kids on a wet weekend morning.

Optimistic young yeti Migo (Channing Tatum) approaches every day in the same way: gets on with his job, is thankful for is place among his community, never rocks the boat and never questions the wisdom of the town sage – an elderly yeti decked-out in stone tablets upon which have been carved the yeti commandments. An on-the-job cock-up sees him catapulted out of the yeti village just in time to see a plane crash and the human pilot bail out. Inspired by his run-in with the mythical “Smallfoot” creature, he takes the news of his discovery back to the village, only to be branded an apostate and cast out. With the help of an underground group of yeti skeptics, he ventures further down the mountain to clear his name and prove the dogmatic yeti hierarchy wrong.

The message, loud and clear, that you did not always trust everything you are told is a welcome one. It’s a smart script that implores its young audience to question authority, investigate matters for themselves and draw their own conclusions based on evidence. Less well realised are the musical or comedic elements: a handful of forgettable tunes about friendship or destiny or something equally inspiring, none of which I can recall with even a tiny level of detail.

The comedy consists mainly of yetis pulling pained expressions and the irksome inclusion of James Corden as a TV naturalist, down on his luck and determined to prove yetis exist to save his sinking career. It should just about amuse under-tens and with its walloping physical comedy and generally raucous tone, but it’s likely to aggravate with anyone who is not bowled over by the site of a goat chewing a tennis shoe.

Clever and with an intriguing message that should be celebrated, this nevertheless manages to outstay its welcome.

Chris Banks | [rating=2]

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

Check out Chris and Harry’s Video Review…

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