Our Son Weighs In:
Dad: What did you think of the movie?
Son: It was so cool and crazy silly!
Mom: What did you find funny?
Son: The goofball! (Fleem)
Dad: What did you like?
Son: When everyone was being nice.
Dad: Was there anything you didn’t like?
Son: When everyone wasn’t being nice.
He Says: Tonight was family movie night (thanks Papa!) and we were excited to take our son to see the movie: Smallfoot.
Smallfoot is an animated fantasy comedy produced by the Warner Animation Group. Featuring the voices of Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common and most noticeably, Danny DeVito, this film directed by Karey Kirkpatrick (Over the Hedge) deals with some heavy content in a light-hearted way.
Channing Tatum is the voice of Migo, a young Yeti who has his world turned upside down when he has a chance encounter with a human, or Smallfoot, that leads to his exile from the close-knit Yeti community he loves dearly. The film follows Migo’s efforts as he tries to find a way to vindicate himself so that he can return home.
But, as with much in life, it’s more complicated than that simple synopsis sounds. Migo is exiled because he defies his community’s stones and challenges the “Stonekeeper”, essentially the religious head of the patriarchal Yeti society. Faith is presented as ignorance and foolishness which came across as a very heavy and slightly one-sided bias within the film. Not having read the book Yeti Tracks by Sergio Pablos, I can’t comment on whether this is true to the spirit of the book or not, but this message was laid on like an all-peanut butter sandwich…thick and hard to swallow/ignore. Nevertheless the film is worth seeing and discussing because of the questions it brings to the surface. In fact, questions are at the centre of this film. Some might consider this movie an attack on conservative faith, but I didn’t because these questions come up and I’ve had these conversations with friends before. Is blind, unquestioning faith something of value? Is a belief held by someone, on any topic, best left unexamined? What is produced when we are open to unravelling the threads of Truth to discover what lay beneath? Pretty deep for a children’s movie.
Aside from the obvious message, the film features some slapstick humour that made my son lean forward in his booster seat and laugh with glee and made my wife roll her eyes. I laughed too. I’m as big a kid as he is most of the time. The artist in me enjoyed the art direction Warner Brothers took with the movie, though it threw me that yetis have no noses. The secondary characters were extremely flat and the resolution of the movie seemed a bit contrived/simplistic, but it was a happy resolution that allowed me to walk out feeling like I hadn’t totally wasted money on it. Overall, I didn’t love the movie, so I’d give it 3 small feet out of five.
She Says: This movie had me very excited before seeing it. The previews definitely peaked my interest. We took our 5-year-old with us for this movie (less embarrassing to see a kids movie with a kid). So First thoughts sitting in the theatre the movie starts and so does a musical type song. I know it’s a kids movie but I like my movies and music separate. Sorry musical lovers. (there are of course some exceptions to this rule).
The graphics were really clear and fun for an animated film. The characters were fluffy and cute but not too much, they weren’t supposed to look like pets. I liked that it was from the viewpoint of a yeti because it’s more unique that way. I also like that there was a community of yetis’ or a “sass squad” as one car acted calls it.
There was a little bit of humour to keep the adults’ attention but no innuendo. There were a couple of life lessons watermarked throughout the film which is always a good thing.
The songs weren’t as catchy as I would have liked except the song done to the beat of “Under Pressure”. That had my toe tapping a little.
Overall It was a feel-good movie. Great even for families with smaller children (not too scary) It’s not likely to replace any of my favourites though. My son enjoyed it and overall that’s what matters most.
Watch the Trailer Below: