Flushed Away

 
Directed by: David Bowers, Sam Fell
Written by:Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Chris Lloyd, Joe Keenan, William Davies
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellan, Jean Reno, Bill Nighy, Andy Serkis
Released: December 21, 2006
Grade: B-

Dreamworks Animation has put together two animated flicks in 2006 – Over The Hedge (released in June) and now Flushed Away.  The quality of computer animation has improved greatly over the years but it sure has come at a cost.  Flushed Away cost a staggering $149m to produce.  How could a film with no live performances cost so much?

It’s a question that kids won’t care about.  They’ll be more interested in seeing the tale of Roddy St James, a loveable rat who lives his life as a pet.  With plenty of food and lots of space to play, Roddy’s existence is one of luxury.  Unfortunately, it is also one of loneliness.  There are no fellow rats to talk to.

That soon changes with the arrival of Sid, a sewer rat who has been unexpectedly shot up the garbage disposal.  Sid makes himself at home but his lack of hygiene and etiquette has left Roddy disgusted.  Looking to get rid of the new guest, Roddy suggests that Sid go for a swim in the toilet.  His plan is to pull the lever and watch Sid disappear.  It all backfires however and it’s Roddy who finds himself being flushed away.

At the end of his journey down the pipes, Roddy discovers a world he never knew existed.  Thousands of rats, slugs, toads and other creatures have created their own city deep in the sewer.  They go about their business just like humans do on the surface.  It’s all a bit scary for Roddy who just wants to go home.  Is there anyone who will be able to help?

The film has its moments but is it memorable enough to see a second time?  No.  I’ve said this about so many films of late.  My apathy is becoming monotonous.  A post by a viewer on the Internet Movie Database sums up my thoughts – “if we see one more CGI animal who has found himself placed outside of his usual circumstances with hilarious consequences we are all going to vomit to death.”

The best characters in the film are a band of shy slugs with a knack for good singing.  Also amusing is a team of French frogs who try to prevent Roddy from returning to the surface.  Sadly, the main players in the story don’t have the same humour and charm.  I smiled a couple of times but that’s about it.  Call me a cynic.

There’s an obvious message to the story which children should pick up on.  Those with a keener eye might also detect hidden references to other popular films.  There’s no denying that much effort has gone into Flushed Away but it lacks the originality and wit that I am craving.  Those judging the film on a different basis may find it more to their liking.