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Smallfoot – A Fun Yet Familiar Family Tale (Early Guest Review)

Family friendly animated films tend to be some of the least ambitious modes of storytelling. They use a redone story, chosen from a handful of lighthearted, but strong messaged ideas, and infuse their own brand of humour related to the characters and location the story is set in. This film is no different, but it’s in its uniqueness that this story shines.

Synopsis: Migo is a friendly Yeti whose world gets turned upside down when he discovers something that he didn’t know existed — a human. He soon faces banishment from his snowy home when the rest of the villagers refuse to believe his fantastic tale. Hoping to prove them wrong, Migo embarks on an epic journey to find the mysterious creature that can put him back in good graces with his simple community. (Warner Bros.)

Starring: Channing Tatum, James Corden and 

Writers: Karey Kirkpatrick and Clare Sera

Directors: Karey Kirkpatrick and Jason Reisig

Rating: G (Canada)/PG (United States)

Running Time: 96mins

Trailer:

Smallfoot follows the story of Migo (Tatum), an inquisitive Yeti who is the son and apprentice of village gong ringer Dorgie (Danny DeVito). One day, the village leader Stonekeeper (Common) passes the torch to Migo, entrusting him with this sacred duty, but he misses the gong and discovers something previously unheard of: the Smallfoot. With no evidence to back him, Migo is banished and brought in by the town’s group of outcasts who pledge to help him find this mysterious creature.

This film’s story is a very familiar one. It looks at two groups ignorant of each other with one living by a set of old rules to protect their way of life. Think Monsters, Inc. meets Moana. While it is a very overdone idea, the message is still delivered. The truth sets you free, accept and embrace difference because ignorance isn’t bliss. These ideas mixed with the paralleled human story or self-interest versus the greater good might go over the younger audience’s head, but it gives the adults something more to do.

Although it has a formulaic story, the premise manages to bring enough uniqueness to this film to make it interesting. It takes the assumed interaction of humans and yetis and flips it onto its own head in a hilarious way that highlights some of the best parts of the film.

The film does take some time to set itself up by building this unique world, but when it gets into the heart of the story everything falls into place. Speaking of falling into place, the story is full of genuine laughs with many playing homage to classic Warner Bros. scenes. It goes to show that this timeless humour works for any audience.

Beyond these aspects, the film is elevated by its cast and the musical numbers. The cast of characters are fun, flawed and three-dimensional as we watch their perceived worlds crash in front of their eyes. This is complemented by various songs through the film that are catchy, but manage to each sound unique thanks to their respective singer. And yes, Channing Tatum does sing a few times.

Smallfoot is a lighthearted animated comedy that lands firmly on its big feet. While the story is formulaic with no new themes, the cast and premise manage to send a strong message with some genuine laughs along the way. It is a fun yet familiar family tale.

Score: 7/10

*Smallfoot opens in theatres on September 28th*

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