The brilliant minds at Aardman films expand their repertoires with a branch into the world of CGI animation. Aardman first burst onto the scene with mainstream audiences with the now classic Chicken Run and the beloved Oscar-winning film, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Those two films were done with stop-motion clay animation and took years to perform. Because it takes so long to bring out a film using that technique, it was logical that Aardman would expand. And why not?
In their latest animated adventure, a uptown rat named Roddy (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is tricked by a street-smart rat named Sid (Shane Richie) and flushed down the toilet into the hidden sewer world of rats. While in the sewer world, Roddy meets Rita, a schooner captain who travels the sewer pipes scavenging. Rita is in trouble with the overlord of the sewer world, The Toad (Ian McKellan). The Toad wants a priceless ruby that Rita has stolen. All Roddy wants is to return to his pampered life above.
Can Rita and Roddy stick together long enough to fulfill both their dreams?
Flushed Away is a delightful little film that still captures the innocence and feeling that is Aardman. The film isn't as brilliant as the previous films before it, but it still is far superior to some of the animated fare we are seeing these days. Can anyone say Valiant or Barnyard?
I did get really tired of the toilet humor and crotch jokes quite quickly. But I loved the moments featuring Jean Reno's wildly hilarious super-spy Le Frog and the musical moments from the slugs. Ok, I like slapstick humor, I admit it, and I did laugh myself silly during some of the slug musical numbers. I guess this means I still love the kid inside me.
Aardman's CGI animation looks and feels like the claymation stuff they are famous for. From the locks of Roddy's hair to the character designs of Rita's more than a dozen brothers and sisters, the heart of Aardman still lives even if they have gone hi-tech. It's a whole new world for these guys and it will be interesting to see what worlds, characters, and films they can create with this expansion. I just hope that they don't lose their way in the process. (4 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.