Movie Review: Smallfoot

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If you’re looking for a subtle, nuanced animation adventure to take the kids to these school holidays then Smallfoot definitely isn’t it! This film is big, bold and in your face like a Yeti — a curious, hairy Yeti and his hapless friends, on a quest to prove he wasn’t lying about seeing the mythical smallfoot monster.

Smallfoot will leave a giant footprint on your heart.This film knows the animation formula and exactly what buttons to push for a hit. The creators have a deep pedigree that shows in every frame.

First time director, Jason Reisig, is well known for being lead animator on Shrek 1 and 3 as well as Kung Fu Panda 1 and 3. While writer and co-director, Kary Kirkpatrick, has top writing credits for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Charlotte’s Web and Chicken Run 2.

If you liked those, you’ll love this. Smallfoot will doubtlessly spawn a new franchise of movies to follow. It’s a comedy with a handful of crowd-pleasing, toe-tapping original songs showcasing beautiful set pieces that will become classics fast. It’s weirdly familiar — part Monster’s Inc. and part Moama.

There’s a splash of Happy Feet in honoring new ideas, and the sparkling icy landscape of Ice Age and even a dash of Incredibles 2 in decrying the hazards of modern media.

The familiar story follows the heroic adventures of Migo (Channing Tatum), an initially contented and lovable Yeti, and human Percy Patterson (James Corden), a kids’ show Attenborough whose lost his mojo and is ready to ‘fake news’ his docos to survive in an age of Youtube and gaming.

Like Transformers, this film plays perfectly with visual scale: First we experience the small and sneaky human in the giant, magical and frozen Yeti world and then we see the enormous but harmless Yeti amongst the neon-lit human village. Much farce and physical comedy ensue.This movie is all modern animation trope, but in the skillful hands of the creators it barely registers that we’ve seen all this before. There’s Meechee (Zendaya), the super smart but overlooked head daughter, the benevolent chief who refuses to change, the dumb brutish son that’s next in line, the bumbling comic-relief entourage, there’s even a courageous and sensible woman of colour with natural hair.

There’s nothing new and yet that just leaves you space to feast your eyes on the complex scenery, fall in love with the characters and the Yeti world-building, and freely wallow in the endless fish-out-of-water gags when Migo meets Percy and Percy meets all the Yetis.

There’s also the usual mish-mash of moral lessons around tolerance, curiosity, wisdom over ignorance, democracy and doing what’s right despite society pressure.They’re laid on pretty thick but in this era of alt-right and despot politics it’s nice to spend a couple of hours in a world where honesty and integrity triumph over ignorance and lies. Smallfoot is an earnest bright spot in a cynical world.

If you’re looking for a subtle, nuanced animation adventure to take the kids to these school holidays then Smallfoot definitely isn’t it! This film is big, bold and in your face like a Yeti — a curious, hairy Yeti and his hapless friends, on a quest to prove he wasn’t lying about seeing the mythical smallfoot monster.Smallfoot will leave a giant footprint on your heart.

This film knows the animation formula and exactly what buttons to push for a hit. The creators have a deep pedigree that shows in every frame. First time director, Jason Reisig, is well known for being lead animator on Shrek 1 and 3 as well as Kung Fu Panda 1 and 3. While writer and co-director, Kary Kirkpatrick, has top writing credits for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Charlotte’s Web and Chicken Run 2. If you liked those, you’ll love this.Smallfoot will doubtlessly spawn a new franchise.

It’s a comedy with a handful of crowd-pleasing, toe-tapping original songs showcasing beautiful setpieces that will become classics fast. It’s weirdly familiar — part Monster’s Inc. and part Moama. There’s a splash of Happy Feet in honouring new ideas, and the sparkling icy landscape of Ice Age and even a dash of Incredibles 2 in decrying the hazards of modern media.The familiar story follows the heroic adventures of Migo (Channing Tatum), an initially contented and lovable Yeti, and human Percy Patterson (James Corden), a kids’ show Attenborough whose lost his mojo and is ready to ‘fake news’ his docos to survive in an age of Youtube and gaming.

Like Transformers, this film plays perfectly with visual scale: First we experience the small and sneaky human in the giant, magical and frozen Yeti world and then we see the enormous but harmless Yeti among the neon-lit human village. Much farce and physical comedy ensue.

This movie is all modern animation trope, but in the skillful hands of the creators it barely registers that we’ve seen all this before. There’s Meechee (Zendaya), the super smart but overlooked head daughter, the benevolent chief who refuses to change, the dumb brutish son that’s next in line, the bumbling comic-relief entourage, there’s even a courageous and sensible woman of colour with natural hair.

There’s nothing new and yet that just leaves you space to feast your eyes on the complex scenery, fall in love with the characters and the Yeti world-building, and freely wallow in the endless fish-out-of-water gags when Migo meets Percy and Percy meets all the Yetis.There’s also the usual mish-mash of moral lessons around tolerance, curiosity, wisdom over ignorance, democracy and doing what’s right despite society pressure.They’re laid on pretty thick but in this era of alt-right and despot politics it’s nice to spend a couple of hours in a world where honesty and integrity triumph over ignorance and lies. Smallfoot is an earnest bright spot in a cynical world.

Words by  Irena Bee