01 May 2007

Ink Blots LXII - Flushed Away

Tis a nice month to feature Cheese Eaters.

Flushed Away was a bit of a disappointment for Dreamworks animation in 2006. Let me clarify though. In spite of what the poster says this was not from the creators of Shrek or Madagascar. Dreamworks distributed it, but it was made by Aardman animation, makers of Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit. Budgeted at a huge $149 million, this film mustered just $64 million. Wallace and Gromit had also generated subpar numbers the year before, and Dreamworks decided to bid adieu to their partnership with Aardman. As long as Aardman can still finance films, they may be better off creatively, its just a shame that American audiences haven't been more receptive to this cheeky British humor.

Flushed Away is a bit of an oddity. I suppose the reason it cost so much us that the studio had to develop CG tools for the film as they had traditionally used just clay animation. The decision to go 100% computer animated was explained as better fitting the watery theme of the film, but still, it seems odd to go so far away from your successful tradition. I have to say though, the computer did a marvelous job at replicating the clay effect, and was probably much less of a painstaking task to animate. Still, it would be a shame if Aardman abondoned clay in the future.

The film involves some rats in the London sewer and an evil Toad that is trying to get them. The general plot of the film is actually sort of straight forward and predictable, but a couple of things bring the film quality up a bit. First, the film is peppered with scenes of singing sewer slugs. These guys steal every scene they are in, and its too bad we didn't get more of them. Another scene I really enjoyed involved a frog mime and a cell phone. Quite funny. There were also a couple of clever references to Wolverine and Han Solo for the observant, but in all, this movie could have been funnier and less manic. The action is just going, going, going, and a little too crazy. Flushed Away is a good film that deserved a bigger audience, but with all the films released in 2006, it got overshadowed. While not quite classic, Flushed still gets a B.

Flushed Away (Widescreen Edition)

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