In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario's attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists' find that their lives will never be the same.
A yeti named Migo is convinced that a human known only as "Small Foot" is real and has to prove to his tribe that it does exist with the help of Meechee and the S.E.S - Smallfoot Evidentiary Society.Written by
Mark Mason Robledo
You never know what you're going to get with non-Disney/Pixar animation. It might be an Illumination Entertainment-style effort -- lacking in substance but lots of wise cracks and kid-friendly touches (think "Minions" or "Sing") -- or a Laika-style affair, with depth and darkness to boot ("Kubo and The Two Strings").
Warner Animation Group has form, of course, with "The Lego Movie" combining laugh-out-loud humour for the kids with a knowing, subversive quality to keep the Mums and Dads entertained. It also produced "Storks", a much more pedestrian effort. Thankfully, "Smallfoot" belongs in the former camp.
Boasting impressive CG animation courtesy of Sony Imageworks, "Smallfoot" takes a tale reminiscent of "Monsters Inc." -- two groups ignorant and fearful of the other, in this case yetis and humans -- and twists it with a clever, topical message about the perils of putting dogma and self-interest ahead of critical thinking and the greater good. Ignorance really isn't bliss. This adult-friendly message may elude kids too busy laughing at the many visual gags, including a fantastic sequence involving fraying rope that brings to mind classic Warner animations of yesteryear, but it elevates the movie above most of its peers and ensures that not-so-young audience members are entertained too.
The film isn't quite Disney/Pixar level -- the yeti character designs are a little odd, as though the animators were trying to avoid too close a resemblance to Pixar's Sully, and the featured songs are catchy rather than great (Zendaya's "Wonderful Life" being the stand-out).
Still, "Smallfoot" is a thoroughly entertaining family film that aspires to be different, backed by appealing protagonists, well-judged comic moments, a thought-provoking message, and a rewarding resolution that steers clear of being saccharine. Recommended.
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