Smallfoot movie review
Starring: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya
DirectorS: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
RUNTIME: 96 Mins
OK, I’ll own up. I’m a bit of a fan of James Corden and have been for years. It makes me smile inwardly that our American friends only know him as the host of a major TV network chat show when I remember him as Smithy highlighting the plight of sharing an Indian takeaway.
Smithy was the best mate of the male lead character in Gavin and Stacey which introduced us to some of the most genius characters and catch phrases.
The show was a British phenomenon that launched the careers of its actors, and it kind of pains me to admit that the first episode was aired 11 years ago. It was the TV series in which the idea for Carpool Karaoke first begun, an internet sharing sensation in which James sings along in fun style with the stars.
Now he’s the perfect voice of fading TV nature show host, Percy, who bumps into a pilot who crashed into a mountain and met a Yeti called Migo, voiced by American actor Channing Tatum (Magic Mike & Jump Street), the first ‘Small Foot’ to prove to the mountaintop dwellers that humans really do exist.
There’s a neat version of Queen’s Under Pressure, almost as good as Corden’s American Boy rap memorably performed on an episode of the classic English TV series.
This charming, animated musical adventure with meaning has been directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, a writer and producer, known for Over the Hedge, Chicken Run and James and the Giant Peach. And judging from the appreciative packed house at the opening showing at the VOX screening at The Avenues, Bahrain, last Saturday Warner Bros has a box office smash on its hands.
You know where’s it is going. Does Percy give up his scruples to help improve his rating with a little fake news or will reality bite? And, perhaps the TV man’s moral dilemma is nothing like as big as that facing the Abominable Snowman … without giving the plot away!
The movie strongly promotes the ideas of appreciating traditions but questioning the status quo, thinking outside the box, staying true to your ideals, and giving those unlike you a chance – in other words, curiosity, communication, integrity, such as staying true to your friends, and celebrating our uniqueness – even if the newcomers are different in appearance and don’t speak the same language.
The flashback story highlights fear of the unknown, echoing so many current day concerns, but it’s covered beneath an avalanche of pure slapstick, including numerous falls from great heights, all of which are survived, of course.
The primitive yeti society believe they were pooped from the butt of the great sky yak, that their mountain sits on the backs of many woolly mammoths, below which there is only nothing and that the sun is a giant glowing snail that travels across the sky, rising only when awakened by a giant gong and allowing the audience to enjoy Migo’s headstrong flap at a family tradition.
It may sound a bit common, but it made my inner-child chuckle. These rules and many others are set in stone and worn around the neck of a wise man known as the Stonekeeper, voiced by American rapper, actor and poet, Common, who enforces such ignorance by banishing our hero.
Later we will learn that this ‘myth-information’ campaign was designed to protect the yeti population from the dangers of humankind, who live at the base of the mountain, according to the view that it is in our nature to hunt, kill, or torture any animal we don’t understand, which some film critics have suggested is a ‘pretty cynical view of humanity’ to push in a movie, but unfortunately bears a fair resemblance to the truth.
There’s tension, peril and destruction of property but no one is seriously hurt, in keeping with the genre, because remember, it’s for kids and one the parents will enjoy too, especially us James Corden fans!
Now showing in: VOX Cinema The Avenues, Bahrain and in all cinemas from tomorrow.
Stan’s verdict: 5/5
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Stanley Louis Szecowka
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