Flushed Away Movie Review
From the production company best known for stop-motion animated projects such as Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run comes Flushed Away, their first venture into full CGI. Flushed Away stars Hugh Jackman as Roddy, a spoiled, high-class pet rat who finds himself stuck in the sewer and in an underground community he never knew existed. Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Bill Nighy and Andy Serkis also lend their voices.
Flushed Away has pretty similar humor to the company's other projects, though the jokes here are are a little more mainstream and a little more dumbed down for us over in America. In addition, while the movie employs computer graphics over stop-motion animation (mainly due to the amount of water seen throughout the film), the characters still have a similar goofy look about them - buggy eyes, idiotic stares and toothy grins. The result is a surprisingly entertaining family film that keeps moving at a fast pace and features lots of fun characters.
The best part about Flushed Away is not necessarily its lead characters but all of the periphery characters and creatures that are found in the rather imaginative world that directors David Bowers and Sam Bell have created. While Roddy and Rita (Jackman and Winslet respectively) are quite good, it is the goofier villains and innocent slugs that really make the film work. There's an evil toad (The Toad) looking to annihilate the rats once and for all (he also has hundreds of piranha-like offspring waiting to take over), an insidious French frog sleuth/hit man - Le Frog - and hundreds of cute, frightened slugs that appear all over the place. The slugs, who scream at high pitches or who break into song every once in a while, are the true highlights.
While thoroughly entertaining and quite funny, the movie does lack a bit of its edge compared to some of the company's other products. There is something about claymation that adds another element of interest to the visuals, and in turn the imperfections make the characters look all the goofier - in a good way. While Flushed Away employs a technology that attempts to duplicate some of that, Flushed Away is a little too smooth for its own good, though if the movie weren't from the same people who did Chicken Run, for instance, I wouldn't even be bringing this argument up. From a humor standpoint, other movies have been smarter, though Flushed Away certainly stands above most of its competitors, including Cars. Flushed Away doesn't compare to Chicken Run, which is definitely one of the funniest animated movies I have ever seen, but, though I realize I may get panned for saying so, I found Flushed Away to be more entertaining than Wallace and Gromit: Cure of the Were Rabbit.
Flushed Away isn't perfect by any means, as the decision to go with computer effects over stop-motion animation hurts the movie a little bit, but it is one of the better animated movies of 2006, and should have received more recognition than it did.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.