With this new addition from WBA (Warner Bros. Animation) to the animation game, this clever little spin on the BigFoot/Smallfoot switch-a-roo works fairly well in getting it’s message across. With an all-star voice over cast, that adds a wonderfully sequenced soundtrack with everyone from Channing Tatum, James Cordon, and Common & Zendaya adding their own spin of musical genres. “Smallfoot” cleverly inverts the point-of-view tale of how human and Yetis is to be told, but behind every animation movie, there is a message, and for me this one got a bit dark toned for a moment before it luckily lighted up into a nice, easily understood ending for the kids.
‘SMALLFOOT’ follows the tales of a clan of bigfoots living high up in the Himalayan mountains whose peaceful and orderly lives are disrupted when one of their own Migo(Channing Tatum), stumbles upon a a plane crash in the path of the young Yeti when he was flung off-course during gong target practice. See in Yeti mythology banging the gong raises the sun every day, to follow in his father Dorgle (Danny DeVito), footsteps. It means every morning he catapults himself headfirst towards a giant gong in order to wake the sun up. While investigating the airplane wreckage, Migo discovers a ‘smallfoot’ – a human – who is just as startled to come across the ‘mythical’ being as is the bigfoot itself. It isn’t just that these smallfoots (pssst smallfoots are humans ) have thus far been the stuff of myth in fact, it’s that their very existence goes against the community’s long-held beliefs, which are literally set in stone and worn around the neck of the high and mighty Stonekeeper (Common). So as you can probably expect, that very individual is told to either rescind his account or face banishment from the community, but by bravely choosing the latter, opens up a whole new path of knowledge, understanding and enlightenment for his fellow 18-foot hairy denizens.
Lest you think that the movie ends up being too heavy-handed, I can reassure you that it never goes to dark for kids, or for that matter turn preachy. On the contrary, there are plenty of amusing details along the way – like how the fun-loving Migo is at first perfectly content to follow what is told, or the finding out about the S.E.S. (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society) a rebel band of Yetis led by the Stonekeeper’s own daughter Meechee (Zendaya), who assists Migo on his quest to find the Smallfoot and prove once and for all, they aren’t lying or delusional. or how Migo first runs into Percy, an animal TV show host whom is not only desperate to save his show and become famous, but he will become unlikely best buddies with Migo – who in his desperation for clicks tries to convince a fellow reporter to dress up in a Yeti costume so he can pretend to have captured one on camera.
So even though ‘Smallfoot’ never hits the gold standard of feature animations, there is plenty of fun and laughs to be had in this fable on lies and ‘myth-understandings’, as well as on mis-communication and the lack thereof. Like I said, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that its makers haven’t opted for just another superficially glossy piece of kids’ entertainment, and have instead decided to evolve the narrative in more complex and satisfying ways. I brought a 5 year old who loved it and completely understood all of it and that’s a big plus in kids movies today as not all have the younger kids in mind when made. It isn’t small or unambitious by any measure, and is in fact big on both entertainment and emotion, so you’ll find that there’s something for every member of the family – big or small – in this delightful celebration of wonder, discovery and truth.
Media Review Screening: Saturday, September 22, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros.
“SMALLFOOT IS OUT NATIONWIDE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 // WORLDWIDE RELEASE FOLLOWING IN OCTOBER 2018