Cast: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common
Director: Karey Kirkpatrick
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, Smallfoot turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist — a human. News of this Smallfoot throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.
Since Disney has created a stranglehold on the animated movies industry, it is very difficult for any other studio no matter how large to compete with the films that Disney releases either critically or commercially. For maybe the first time this year, we get an animated film that could compete with Disney. While not the greatest animated movie of all time, the incredible message helps elevate Smallfoot from a forgettable children’s movie to one that lays the foundation for a post-Disney world and one that most children should see for the message.
The film follows Migo (voiced by Tatum), a yeti that lives in the Himalayan mountains that stumbles upon a human named Percy (voiced by Corden), which in yeti community are known as, “smallfoot.” When The Stonekeeper (Common), the village leader, rebuffs Migo’s claim and banishes him from the village until he admits that his story is a lie, Migo teams up with a group of yetis that believe his story led by The Stonekeeper’s daughter Meechee (voiced by Zendaya) and help Migo get in contact with Percy and deal with the fallout that happens when these two worlds collide. The thing that really makes this movie stand out is just how deep and impactful the message is. I was absolutely stunned with just how multi-layered and complex the message of this movie was, but at the same time it is a message that is easily explained and can be adopted by any of the children watching. Whether you take away the message of people should not be judged by the group they are born in or that we should not just blindly follow the stories we are told and to find the truth that exists in life, I applaud the film for going to such depths to spread a message that can be taken home and applied to the audience’s real lives. Kirkpatrick started his career writing on insightful films like James and the Giant Peach and Chicken Run, so it is no surprise that the script is the strongest part of this film. Outside of the narrative, the film is pretty much your standard harmless, fun animated film. The animation is well-done, the voice acting is good, and overall it is a very enjoyable film. At no point did I ever find myself bored or waiting for the film to move on, and for the most part this film is exactly what you think it is going to be. Smallfoot is a generally pleasant experience, and with a film designed to interact predominantly with younger audiences, what more can you ask for? Any time an animation studio outside of Disney or Pixar makes a movie that really connects with a general audience instead of a target demographic, it gives me hope that one day we will see a world where smaller studios can rise up and take a fair share of an otherwise monopolized industry. While Warner Brothers is by no means a small studio, maybe Disney should take notice of the multiple successful films they have released in recent years and how Smallfoot is one of the best in the many years to come.
Overall, Smallfoot is a perfectly acceptable film with a great message that drives it over-the-top and into the next tier of animated films released this year. The cast is stacked, the songs are fun if not a tad forgettable, and the moral is one that will stick with you for a long time. Regardless of your age or your opinion on animated films, anyone who watches Smallfoot will walk away from it with a warm, good feeling inside, and that is all I ever really ask from a film like this.
Overall Score: 7/10