Rodents run riot
movie review >> christine langtree
IN Flushed Away, this holiday season’s offering from Aardman in association with Dreamworks, we find ourselves squarely in the kind of movie that parents love.
You can take your kids along and leave without a sore jaw from grinding your teeth in irritation at the lame jokes and the earnest sentimentality of most featurelength cartoons.
Aardman is the team that has brought us Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run.
In Flushed Away, they have changed the medium from plasticine stop-motion animation to CGI (computer-generated imagery) but the charm remains the same.
Retaining the trademark look of the Wallace and Gromit animation, they have also managed to hold on to the understated British humour despite the subject matter of rodents in a sewer and the never-ending opportunity for toilet humour it brings with it.
From the opening scenes, where Roddy the pampered house mouse, disco dances and parties hard in his palatial gilded cage, to the later scenes, where an underground city of rodents stops to watch the World Cup final, this is a fun and involving story.
Roddy is cast out of his palatial home when Syd the sewer rat finds his way up through the pipes into the world Up Top and decides he wants to stay.
The animated creatures, quirky as they are, have real personalities and you can’t help but want Roddy to win through his many trials and tribulations, even though what he wants in the beginning of the story is obviously not what he needs.
I always find it amusing the all-star casts they can pull together for these shows. You won’t get much better than this one. Hugh Jackman voices Roddy the house mouse with great charm.
Kate Winslet is fantastic as Rita the tomboyish sewer mouse. Sir Ian McKellen brings us the yucky villain The Toad, a bitter cast-off pet of the British royals.
Dreamworks is the studio that brought us the Shrek franchise and while Flushed Away isn’t as consistently good as Shrek, it is very good and well worth a look.
>> Flushed Away, rated G, is screening at all cinemas.
Right: Roddy, voiced by Hugh Jackman, in a scene from the animated holiday flick Flushed Away