Smallfoot, the latest film from Warner Animation Group (WAG) who most recently produced the LEGO movies and Storks, a film I highly enjoyed. Something has to be said for the studio, more so the parent company of Warner Bros. because I feel we forget that Warner Bros. alongside Disney, was very much a key player during the golden age of American animation giving us the Looney Tunes with characters like Bugs Bunny, Duffy Duck and Porky Pig rivalling Walt Disney and enveloping the Hanna-Barbera creations.
The story of Smallfoot is supposedly based on a book penned by Sergio Pablos, a screenwriter and animator who’s the creator of Despicable Me. I say supposedly because it’s impossible to find any evidence or footprints of said book which is either fitting or ironic being about the mythical yeti. It’s most likely to be a conceptual idea written down somewhere with the intention of being a book but morphed into this instead.
It’s about an isolated society of Yeti that live peacefully up high in the mountains away from humankind and harmful ways, protected by ancient myth and ritual that’s governed by symbols literally written in stone that is respected as law of the land. This law being practised and guarded by the village chief, The Stonekeeper (Common). Their entire culture and way of life is firmly based on silly but funny creational myths that parody common folklore in scripture today, like their mountain being carried on the backs on massive wooly mammoths and that the sun is a ginormous shining snail that crawls across the sky.
It’s actually a cute and clever story of polarising the myth of big-footed yetis reversing the conception that humans are actually a thing of Sasquatch legend and that smallfoots, humans, don’t exist because no yeti has ever seen one; until a loyal, joyful yet honest, Migo (Tatum) accidentally sees one, inciting curiosity and panic among his entire community. Though this displeases the Stonekeeper and Migo is quickly banished from the village until he disavows his encounter and deny any existence of Smallfoots which leads him on an adventure to prove his discovery and inadvertently shake the foundations of his own safe and secret society.
The animation is really impressive with some great comical sequences that are reminiscent of the haphazardly and painful Looney Tune comedy that families should find entertaining and funny. The design of the Yetis are stunning with their pastel glowing vibrancy, being like a softer, comfier version of Trolls and for a story set in the unforgiving, bleak coldness of the Himalayas it’s gloriously bright, warm and neon-toned in places.
The voice talents works perfectly with what I found to be an unrecognised Tatum leading with Common and Zendaya offering great support. Corden portrays the Smallfoot Migo awkwardly bonds with with some clever, funny language barriers. There’s a few, and just a few, catchy tracks with a great opening with Tatum’s poppy “Perfection” and Zendaya’s “Wonderful Life”, with a darker rap-piece “Let it Lie” from Common and a surprisingly half decent rendition of Queen and Bowie’s “Under Pressure/Percy’s Pressure” from Corden. I love the backing vocals of the snails especially on Common’s and Corden’s tracks. Accompanying is Heitor Pereira suitable score though it’s forgettable when outplayed by the soundtrack.
As with all family films, there should a moral theme and there’s actually more than one good lesson to be shown here about questioning traditional doctrine and truth but also providing a good rational understanding as to why some things are in place which leads to a greater message without attacking either opposites of the debate. And there’s also the misconceptions between the species which has subtle parallels in today society.
In all honesty, I just wanted to see this film for the screaming goat, and I certainly got my screaming goat fix plus way more than what I expected. It’s Ironically heart warming and great fun for the whole family.
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 8
The Extra Bonus Point: 0