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Warner Animation Group has form, of course, with "The Lego Movie" combining laugh-out-loud humour for the kids with a knowing, subversive quality to keep the Mums and Dads entertained. It also produced "Storks", a much more pedestrian effort. Thankfully, "Smallfoot" belongs in the former camp.
Boasting impressive CG animation courtesy of Sony Imageworks, "Smallfoot" takes a tale reminiscent of "Monsters Inc." -- two groups ignorant and fearful of the other, in this case yetis and humans -- and twists it with a clever, topical message about the perils of putting dogma and self-interest ahead of critical thinking and the greater good. Ignorance really isn't bliss. This adult-friendly message may elude kids too busy laughing at the many visual gags, including a fantastic sequence involving fraying rope that brings to mind classic Warner animations of yesteryear, but it elevates the movie above most of its peers and ensures that not-so-young audience members are entertained too.
The film isn't quite Disney/Pixar level -- the yeti character designs are a little odd, as though the animators were trying to avoid too close a resemblance to Pixar's Sully, and the featured songs are catchy rather than great (Zendaya's "Wonderful Life" being the stand-out).
Still, "Smallfoot" is a thoroughly entertaining family film that aspires to be different, backed by appealing protagonists, well-judged comic moments, a thought-provoking message, and a rewarding resolution that steers clear of being saccharine. Recommended.
Adapting from the book 'Yeti Tracks' by animator Sergio Pablos is Dreamworks Animation veteran Karey Kirkpatrick and his co-director Jason Reisig, and the duo fashion a lively, fast-paced and colourful action adventure that sees our hero Migo (Channing Tatum) venture below the clouds concealing their mountaintop habitat to find the smallfoot and prove that he isn't lying or delusional. But had the movie simply been about Migo confronting the ostensibly deceitful Stonekeeper, it would probably be no more than the stuff of Saturday-morning cartoons; instead, Kirkpatrick and co-writer Clare Sera find unexpected depth digging deeper into why the bigfoots had sequestered themselves in the first place, weaving in a poignant lesson on the dangers of fear and close-mindedness as well as the transformative power of communication.
Lest you think that the movie ends up being heavy-handed, we can reassure you that it never does, or for that matter turn preachy. On the contrary, there are plenty of amusing details along the way - like how the exuberant Migo is at first perfectly content to follow in his father's (Danny DeVito) footsteps to have himself catapulted headfirst towards a giant gong every morning in order to wake the sun up; or the band of rebel Yetis called the clandestine Smallfoot Evidentiary Society (or S.E.S. in short), led by the Stonekeeper's own daughter Meechee (Zendaya), who assist Migo on his quest; or how Migo first runs into Percy (James Corden), an animal TV show host whom he will become unlikely buddies with, when the latter in his desperation for clicks tries to convince a fellow reporter to dress up in a Yeti costume so he can pretend to have captured one on camera.
Just as worthy of mention are the couple of Looney Tunes-esque sequences that are clearly meant to hark back to its parent studio's golden era of animation. Migo's initial descent becomes an extended set-piece that includes a tangle with a rope-bridge and its two precipitous cliffs, as well as with the broken body of the propeller plane which Migo had seen the original smallfoot crash-land out of. Later on, a refuge from a blizzard inside a deep cave becomes the scene of a series of comic misunderstandings, including a warming up on top of a pile of burning firewood, an encounter with an irate mother bear who had just put her baby cubs to sleep, and a classic display of language barriers. There is inventiveness in each of these gags, and calibration in both pace and rhythm, so even though they are zippy and zany, they never get too hectic for their own good.
Kids will also love the couple of musical numbers, penned by Karey and his fellow Kirkpatrick brother Wayne, including the narration-and-song opening 'Perfection' by Channing Tatum, the inspirational 'Wonderful Life' by Zendaya, and the edgy rap 'Let It Lie' by Common. To be sure, none of these reach the heights of Disney's 'Frozen' or even 'Moana', but they are definitely catchy enough to sustain their own energetically animated diversions. They also give the off-the-beaten voice cast ample opportunity to demonstrate their lesser-seen (or heard?) talents, and we dare say that Tatum, Zendaya and Common pull off the singing parts beautifully. Those familiar with Corden's 'Carpool Karaoke' series will be glad to know he has a quirky number here too, that is based on Queen's 'Under Pressure'.
So even though 'Smallfoot' never hits the Pixar gold standard of feature animations, or perhaps even the subversive ingenuity of Warner Animation Group's own 'The Lego Movie', there is plenty of fun and laughs to be had in this fable on lies and 'myth-understandings', as well as on mis-communication and the lack thereof. Like we said, you'll be pleasantly surprised that its makers haven't opted for just another superficially glossy piece of kids' entertainment, and have instead decided to evolve the narrative in more complex and satisfying ways. It isn't small or unambitious by any measure, and is in fact big on both entertainment and emotion, so you'll find that there's something for every member of the family - big or small - in this delightfully joyous celebration of wonder, discovery and truth.
The songs mostly didn't blow me away, although Common was pretty incredible (uncommon?). There were a lot of big laughs from both me and my daughter.
Gets a 10 because anything that is that funny that combines a great message in a way that both children and adults can relate to is extremely rare to encounter.
the songs were the highlight for me and i loved how they played with music genres instead of giving the same pop songs that you usually find in animation movies. I highly recommend this movie for the families, but i doubt the impact it's going to make with so many animation movies being released recently.
On a brief note of WTF??? The song that rips of "Under Pressure" by Queen/Bowie is quite possibly the worst song my ears have ever been subjected to. How in the world was that approved by those artists? And for god's sake, why did James Corden agree to sing it? If you think Vanilla Ice ruined that song, you have no idea. I wish, wish, wish that Khan, from Star Trek 2, would get another Ceti Eel and put it in my ear to nest and release its eggs into my brain. I then wish the baby eels would eat up all the parts of my brain where the memory of that song exists - no matter how much devouring that took. Honestly, it's that bad. And it's on Spotify. wow...
Now Common's song, that was awesome!!!!
1. Always tell the truth no matter what. With emphasis on "no matter what".
2. Intergrity over money and fame. Dont deceive people just for money and fame.
3. Love over money and fame.
Percy was famous when he got back from the mountains because of the video. He gave up all of that by saving Migo.
This is the movie i want my kids to watch. Nom of those Disney immoral characters.
Movie: Small Foot (2018)
Directors: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig (co-director) Writers: Karey Kirkpatrick (screenplay by), Clare Sera (screenplay by) Stars: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya
Cute: Animated movies often take this approach, but Small Foot especially took the reins of selling the terrifying yeti as a cute, cuddly, anthropomorphized group that look fluffy and stylish at the same time. It's characters have that adorable round face, big shining eyes, and a happy, peppy attitude that feeds positivity to the audience around. As such, hearts will melt and smiles will shine bright as they watch the group come to life.
Animation: No surprise here, a big budget production from WB has fluid movement and articulated sequences that show off their computer work. Small Foot's design is also colorful, vibrant, and somehow a tribute to the fashion/culture of multiple ethnicities that represent their voice actors. I myself loved the styles of the yeti's and how chique their fur was structured to make them unique. Definitely not the most realistic, but it works.
Strong Messages: What would a kid's movie be without important life lessons and adult politics present to provide a double layered story? Small Foot is just that, working to teach the audience the importance of trust, the questioning of theories to pursue truth and make life better, bringing cultures together to make for peace, and a variety of other messages that the world can stand to learn. It's powerfully done, with all the magic thrown in to help bring the message to full light and let it fully settle in. Where other films are a little more subtle, Small Foot decides to just blare it full blast to get the message across, even promoting a few songs to teach the lessons.
Funny at times: I think this states it enough, but Small Foot attempts a lot of comedic styles to entertain all ages. Many of the running jokes are tributes to vine and internet videos that should be familiar to the modern era. Some are brilliantly timed, and others are included haphazardly, there to be funny for the kids alone. I myself like the cleverer references or clever wordplay, which there is actually a decent amount, so kudos to them.
Songs: While it seems the modern trend is to turn everything animated into a musical to get soundtracks out and money in. While that trend gets annoying at times, have to say that the music of Small Foot was very entertaining and fitting to the scenes that were designed with them. Beautiful, passionate songs led by Zendaya gave me the goosebumps and held such emotional fire to motivate your desire to learn new things, while the Corben's twist on Pressure was clever, fun, and humorous to break things up. Nevertheless, this would be a fun setlist to play in the car and one worth investing in.
Lacking The Disney Magic: We know there are plenty of reasons why this is the case, but for me Small Foot is lacking the same power that bigger budget productions hold. Small Foot may be cute, but it didn't push the boundaries of creativity, character cultivation or design. It's not bad by any means, and while there is some originality, all the pieces don't quite line up.
The Overdone Comedy: Again, I like many of the things this movie offers in terms of laughs, but Small Foot has difficulties with finding that balance between too much and too little. The movie loves beating running joke horses to death, while skimping on jokes that were more diverse and bridged multiple ages.
More Songs: Can't believe I'm saying this, but in truth, the movie actually needed a few more songs to round out the experience. Zendaya's song is amazing, but for me not so much to fashion most of the screen time songs around it. At least three different renditions were played during the film, plenty of opportunity for some of those more humorous songs to fill instead.
Character Usage/Development: Lots of voices, means lots of time management needs, and Small Foot does okay to some degree. The problem is, that they just don't integrate the characters as well as I think they could have done. So many potential plot points, hindrances, and obstacles could have been introduced to add more to the story, but musical theatrics and cuteness took over. Much more was needed on many fronts to really tie all the characters together and launch more stories to the mix. This is probably due to lower run time, which was appreciated, but perhaps will set up for some type of Netflix series.
Overall, Small Foot is a fun ride that will appease the target audience easily enough. Music is fun, the jokes are a variety of references to get on board with, and it has that cute atmosphere you got from the trailers. And if you've got the little ones enjoy it with them, but realize this one doesn't quite have the magic behind it like it wanted. It's a little off balance, did not take the potential of developing characters, and needed more of the gimmicks to help give it that push it needed. So overall, most are going to either avoid or reserve this one for NetFlix/Redbox.
My scores are:
Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 7.0 Movie Overall: 6.0
Silly highjinks and bodily function humor.
I couldn't have been off by any more.
The kids will laugh.
They'll oh and ah at the fancifully world.
And us lucky adults get a story about friendship (natch) and what it means to be a part of your tribe. How do you best protect your loved ones.
And when is it best to be a trailblazer and when to two the line.
All this and cute character designs and smart plotting.
Definitely not to be missed.
Add in some slightly religious undertones with the stones and how they can never be wrong and you get - meh. Went to a birthday party with seven kids aged 5-9. None of them liked this. None of the parents liked it past a couple laughs.
Danny Divito was really the only high point in this.
Wait for Redbox
The story is not entertaining. The only funny part was shown in the trailer. The writing is simplistic and has no depth and fails to engage its target audience.
Really a poor attempt. I won't even bother watching it on tv when it airs for free on local channels
The film is about a yeti named Migo. One day he encounters a human (who his clan of yeti call "Smallfoot"). When he goes back to his group and tells them what he saw they banish him and accuse him of telling lies. Determined to show the yetis the truth he heads below the mountains and befriends a TV reporter and attempts to bring him back to the yetis. The problem that arises is acceptance, on both ends. The voice actors involved include Channing Tatum, Zendaya, James Corden, and LeBron James.
I'm not a animation expert but I thought the film looked nice, just about standard as modern day animation goes. I wonder what they did to Tatum's voice because Migo didn't sound like him at all. The film has a few laughs here and there, some that are cheeky. Other than that, the plot feels weak and stretched out. There's a lack of real consequences and even for an animated film, it feels too safe. Its a harmless film but just forgettable on all accords.
I drew a message of acceptance of those we don't get along with and making peace with people we have differences with. Kind of like with Zootopia. Overall, its fun for the kids as it should be but I struggled to find a decent amount of enjoyment in this film. It also gets lost in being a musical, at least that's how I felt. No harm no foul thanks to AMC A-List though.
Today's monster that we're focusing on happens to be the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. Said to be a giant hairy monster in the Himalayas, I can see how this legend can be an interesting one; a hulking humanoid that can easily disappear within the mountains or snow. He's even the main monster within the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland. So in the case for a lot of family films, we get a story from the yeti's point of view in Smallfoot.
On top of a large mountain, it's shown that a whole society of yetis live and work just as people do. The only difference is that the leader of the yetis Stonekeeper (played by Common) enforces everyone to keep doing what they do, never question the rules, and to never go down the mountains, below the clouds where no humans have climbed before. One such yeti, Migo (played by Channing Tatum) seems to be okay with this, simply hoping that he'll take his dad Dorgle's (played by Danny DeVito) job soon. This changes when Migo not only witnesses a plane crash, but a human, or a "smallfoot" fly away on a parachute.
Migo tries to tell the rest of the village about the "smallfoot", but is instead banished for not providing proof. While walking around the mountain, a group of outcast yetis including MeeChee (played by Zendaya), Gwangi (played by LaBron James) and Kolka (played by Gina Rodriguez) believes that "smallfoots" exists and convince Migo to venture down. He finds himself outside of a Tibet town when he bumps into a TV personality human Percy Patterson (played by James Cordon). When Migo takes him home, we get a glimpse of who the savage is, who the real monsters are, and all that jazz.
On paper, Smallfoot seems like your basic family film with it's premise and even moral of "don't judge a book by it's cover". I'll say from the top that it's better then I expected, though I don't know if's its anything great. To start with, the animation is really good. Not only are there a lot of gorgeous looking scenes of the mountains, snow covered landscapes, and it's towns, but the designs have the right balance of goofy and likable. You can tell this is a Warner Brothers cartoon, because the slapstick is where the animation really shines. I won't spoil it, but the movie uses it not just for the effect of humor, but with it's overall movement.
The story works fine. At first I thought the traditional route of these animated movies about outcasts was where Smallfoot was going. It does, but it does also allow a deeper insight into this yeti society. We do find out what the yetis are doing with their jobs, how that affects the mountain and what they do to keep the rest of the world closed off. Without giving anything away, I'll admit that things go forward with little surprise. Had the final act gone more outside of the box, I may have phrased it more.
One thing that did surprise me however is that this movie is also a musical. Not just that, but the songs are actually not that bad. I guess this is why Zendaya was put in a large role. In fact, with most characters interesting, why couldn't they have given Channing Tatum a more in depth personality? Overall, this is a film that was definitely geared towards kids more then the adults. This isn't for me, but for kids that want a story that may be typical, but is at least made well.
I'll give this sven yeti snowprints out of five. While this film is certainly not for me, I can see a lot of families getting into this. If something like The House with a Clock in it's Walls proves too scary for kids, this may suffice as a proper substitute. Go explore and see if this suits your discovery.