Monday, December 11, 2006

Flushed Away

We stayed in town on Friday night, had an Italian and then headed for the movies. Since Happy Feet was out at last, we thought it'd be fun to go and see it but, given that it had just hit the streets here, it was full. That left us with Flushed Away or Pan's Labyrinth and since the latter didn't start till much later, we opted for Flushed Away.

To be honest, I didn't fancy this at all. It just seemed too "English" and all that London oriented patriotism just doesn't hit any fun buttons with me at all and it sounded like it'd be like an animated Hugh Grant movie. Still, Wallace & Gromit are brilliant so it seemed worth a try…
Roddy (Hugh Jackman) is a rat, a pet rat and a pampered one at that, living in a grand house in the plush London Borough of Kensington. All's well until a sewer rat called Sid (Shane Richie) finds his way into the mansion and Roddy finds himself flushed down the toilet and into the underworld of the sewers below called Ratropolis.

Of course, Roddy wants to get back home as soon as he can but, as luck would have it, he falls into bad company right away when he's caught up in the theft of a valuable ruby from The Toad (Ian McKellen), the leader of the Ratropolis crime gang. He also meets Rita (Kate Winslet), an enterprising rat scavenging the sewers in her little boat the Jammy Dodger, and both of them manage to escape The Toad's clutches along with the master cable for the sewage workings.

The Toad needs that cable for his dastardly master plan, which is to open the flood gates during the half-time interval of the world cup final and so drown the entire population of rodents, whom he despises. So the pair soon find themselves hunted by The Toad's buffoonish henchrats Spike (Andy Serkis) and Whitey (Bill Nighy) and, when they fail to capture them or the cable, he sends for his cousin Le Frog (Jean Reno) and his team of ninja frogs.

Well, I was wrong and it was actually quite entertaining once I'd turned off my "hate all English toff gits" mode. Why Hugh Jackman was cast as an English rat goodness only knows but he does carry off the stupid accent quite well and I expect he had a bit of fun doing it too. The characterizations from Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen and Jean Reno are all top notch and they really carry the comedy pieces while Jackman and Winslet pretty much stroll through as the hero and heroine of the movie.

The singing slugs are of course the real stars here and if you don't laugh at the antics of the ninja frogs and the one doing a Marcel Marceaux spoof while The Toad is on the phone, then you're from a different planet. There's loads of humour in there for all ages and like its predecessors, The Curse Of The Were Rabbit and Chicken Run, this is full of little homàges and references to other movies and it'll take few viewings to catch all of them.

Aardman have a had a great reputation as claymation artists and I suppose this was the inevitable move to progress to more modern methods. However, while they've moved to 3D digital animation, the movie has retained the look of a claymation production and I'm not sure it works like that. Better if they'd just moved on and embraced the new technology altogether and given us a visual treat like Shrek or Ice Age.

Stiil, it's worth seeing if you like animated comedies and I'm sure most kids will love it.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
My Rating: 7/10

No comments: