After falling in love with Wallace and Gromit back in high school, I was hooked on Aardman Studios. After watching A Grand Day Out, A Close Shave, and The Wrong Trousers, I absolutely loved the wit and charm of the studio's style and humor. Now that Aardman has gone Hollywood, three films later, they may have just gotten a bit better.
After an uptown rat named Roddy (Hugh Jackman) is flushed down the toilet, he finds himself far away from home and in a whole new world underneath the city. After running into the city's crime boss, The Toad (Ian McKellen), Roddy will need more help than he anticipated to get back to his home. He is directed to find a streetwise rat named Rita (Kate Winslet) who knows the sewers well. What follows is a journey to the surface and back as each character tries to find what it is that they are looking for.
When I first got a chance to see Wallace & Gromit In Three Amazing Adventures, I was truly amazed. The charm and humor of the films was indescribable. After Aardman took their show to Hollywood and won a few Oscars, films like Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit graced the general public. With the third collaboration between Dreamworks and Aardman studios, we now have Flushed Away.
After speaking with the directors of the film, David Bowers and Sam Fell, I felt quite optimistic about the film. I can't say that I was disappointed. There was the Aardman charm I have come to love, and a host of brilliant little jokes that laced the film. I have to say, while it may not have been the most brilliant piece of artwork, it doesn't need to be for children to laugh. While some jokes may have been cheap pranks that always get laughs, they still got laughs. The children in the audience loved it, and that feeling was contagious.
The film was as beautiful as I could have hoped for from a Dreamworks picture, while maintaining the Aardman style. The voice acting was done very well, especially from Ian McKellen. There were some really brilliant things in the film, and I would say that most of them deal with slugs. I had a good time and, even though it didn't feature my favorite characters, it still had a style and invention that brought something fresh to the screen. Sadly, my only complaint is that the characters did not create enough of a compelling story to make me fall in love with the film. The same way that a child will always call an orange fish Nemo or an elephant Dumbo, I doubt they will be calling rats Roddy or Rita.
Release Date: November 3, 2006
The Upside: A fun and humorous animated film.
The Downside: Not spectacular, not too much to fall in love with.
On the Side: According to Peter Lord, co-founder of Aardman, this film's original concept involved pirates, and was pitched to Dreamworks soon after the release of Chicken Run (2000). However, Aardman were told that there was no market for pirate films (this was before Pirates of the Caribbean was made), and were told to modernize the concept. By the time the writers had done this, the project was temporarily shelved to make way for the production of Wallace & Gromit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Overall Grade: C+
Brian Gibson is the Associate Editor of Film School Rejects.Powered by Sidelines