Sunday, September 30, 2018

Movie Review: Smallfoot


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Some good laughs, good morals, creative premise
Cons: Story and laughs could be stronger overall
The Bottom Line:
Yeti, humans meet
Creative premise, some laughs
Mostly for the kids




Uncover the Legend of…Us

I probably would have skipped Smallfoot entirely if I hadn’t spent so much time in the theaters this year already.  The previews actually made me laugh and made me think this animated movie might be fun.  While it isn’t as much fun as it looked like it might be, it is a film kids will enjoy.

As the film opens, we are introduced to a village high in the mountains above the clouds.  Our guide to this village is Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum), who is thrilled to be living another day in this wonderful place.  And everything runs smoothly because everyone follows the laws set in stone – pieces of stone that is.  Migo has a crush on Meechee (Zandaya), their leader’s daughter, but he keeps his distance.  Oh, and did I mention that this is a village of Yeti?

Things change when Migo accidentally finds himself outside the village and encounters a smallfoot – you know, a human.  When he returns to the village, no one believes he’s seen one.  Well, almost no one.  The village weirdos happen to believe him, and with their encouragements, he sets off to prove he’s right.  And that’s when his path crosses with Percy (James Corden), a human nature documentary maker who has fallen on hard times and needs to make money any way he can.  What will happen when the two of them meet?

There are some fun moments in the film that snuck up on me and made me laugh out loud.  I wish there had been more of them.  There are some moments that younger audiences, including the kids in the theater when I saw this movie, will enjoy, but they don’t translate as well to adults.  There was one particular running gag that I enjoyed, and they used it to great effect for both laughs and storytelling numerous times, and the classic video gamer in me loved one site gag near the end.

The story is good, but not as epic as I thought it might be.  I was often a step or two ahead of the plot, but I was mostly having fun, so I didn’t mind.  This may not follow up the brilliant original idea with as brilliant a story, but it will keep the target audience entertained.

The songs fall into the same category.  They are catchy and fun, but they don’t really stand out in a way that makes me want to buy any of them.

The actors all do great in their rolls.  They allowed me to get completely caught up in the story.  The animation is fairly stylized, but it works for this film.  There aren’t any breathtaking shots, but what we get is fun.

A strong theme in the movie is about asking questions instead of just believing what you’ve been told.  I liked how this theme played out as well as the final scene.  That last scene is a powerful reminder that we as humans could always use, but seems especially appropriate right now.

I think Smallfoot is best for kids, and they will love it.  Adults won’t find it quite as much fun, but I think they will enjoy watching it once or twice.

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