“Smallfoot” stars Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, LeBron James, Gina Rodriguez, Danny DeVito, Yara Shahidi, Ely Henry, and Jimmy Tatro. Released on September 28, 2018, the film is about a yeti who sets out to prove the existence of humans.
The film is directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, who also directed “Over the Hedge” and “Imagine That”, and it is based on the book, Yeti Tracks, by Sergio Pablos. Everyone knows that urban legends are just…well, legends. Make-believe stories that people tell to either scare or inspire others. But what if the urban legends feel the same away about us? This new animated film seeks to answer that question while also attempting to provide some unique qualities that’ll delight the young kids and their parents. Aside from “The Lego Movie” and “The Lego Batman Movie”, the films by Warner Animation Group (WAG, for short) haven’t really put that much of a dent on the other animation studios in terms of box office despite receiving some mixed to positive reviews from critics. Even last year’s “The Lego Ninjago Movie” didn’t earn as much money as the last two Lego movies, and that is based on an existing Lego property. So hopefully their latest original film will freeze that trend for good. If not, then we’ll just see whether the film is good or not.
On paper, the film’s plot involving a monster encountering a human is nothing different when it comes to the world of animation since we have the likes of “Monsters Inc.” and “Hotel Transylvania” in our minds. They even have a plot element that has the monsters fearing the humans, not just the other way around. However, they also have a sense of charm that adults can appreciate and a bunch of cartoonish antics that’ll keep kids attached to the screens like moths to a flame. Fortunately, that’s exactly what this film offered. While its energetic and predictable storytelling won’t win a lot of big-time critics over, it’s smart enough to fully appreciate its main theme about integrity that will resonate with kids as well as the adults. Ranging from Channing Tatum as Migo to former Disney Channel star Zendaya as Meechee, the all-star cast not only did a suitable job voicing their respectable and relatable characters, but they were also very talented with their singing, especially Tatum. I mean, wow! Who knew that guy can sing? Oh yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, the film is also a musical. I guess the folks at Warner Brothers are still trying to compete with Disney to see who makes the best animated musicals. The songs were written by the film’s director, Karey Kirkpatrick and his brother, Wayne Kirkpatrick, and despite the fact that they won’t get stuck in your head even after the film is over, they’re about as upbeat and toe-tapping as you’ve come to expect from an animated musical. That would explain why they got Zendaya and Common to do this film. Similar to Warner Animation Group’s other original film, “Storks”, the animation has its usual slapstick shenanigans, but it never lost sight in showcasing its colorful landscapes and the character designs, mostly the yetis. If there’s one thing that I should know after watching some of the recent films from Warner Animation Group, it’s that they certainly know how to make their cartoons irresistibly beautiful. Even the humor works pretty well, in my opinion. Most of the jokes were filled with slapstick humor as usual, but the film succeeds in balancing that type of humor with its story without wandering into annoyance territory. I was a bit concerned that one of the yetis, Flem (Ely Henry), might get on somebody’s nerves throughout the entire film due to his personality. Luckily, the film managed to make that character tolerable by knowing when to play the “annoying comic relief” card.
Overall, “Smallfoot” marks another successful addition to the Warner Animation Group collection. Thanks to its voice cast, colorful animation, and a message that inspires both kids and adults, the film is a thoughtful and fun frozen treat that will fill your taste buds with sweetness and delight without causing a massive brain freeze. It doesn’t beat out “The Lego Movie” as my favorite film from WAG, but I will say that this is the most enjoyable WAG film that’s not based on a Lego property. I will gladly recommend it to kids of all ages as well as some adults who enjoy these types of films.