- Eddie Harrison
- 8 October 2018
Channing Tatum lends his voice to a gently entertaining animation that should satisfy the whole family
The title is a cute reversal on Bigfoot, the mythical yeti, but in an isolated community of such creatures, it is the existence of smallfoots – or humans – that is the stuff of legend. Director Karey Kirkpatrick's musical animation (co-directed by Jason Reisig) plays amusingly with this inverted universe, as one brave soul sets out to prove the existence of humankind.
Migo (Channing Tatum) rejects social pressure to be the village gong-banger like his father (Danny DeVito) and finds a reason to leave friends and family behind when he encounters the human pilot of a crashed plane. Joining the SES (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society), a cheerful group of outcasts, Migo ends up in the sights of Percy Patterson (James Corden), a television journalist fallen on hard times, who recognises the lucrative financial implications of discovering Bigfoot. With yetis and humans suffering from a long history of division, can Migo and Percy forge a path for these two wary species to get along?
Executive producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ripped up the rule-book on children's animations with The Lego Movie. Smallfoot is a more conventional prospect, but offers many gentle pleasures. The songs, including a forceful opener from Tatum, are fun and drive the story forward, although Corden's inability to sing with any conviction sucks the life out of his cover of the David Bowie / Queen anthem 'Under Pressure'.
Child-pleasing slapstick is ably mixed with a thoughtful consideration of how a community's philosophy might evolve through being challenged. In this way, Smallfoot aims to widen the worldview of the fake-news generation, while throwaway gags, like the toilet roll which the yetis call the 'Scroll of Invisible Wisdom' should entertain most ages. If the setting and characters seem familiar, the film's warm and fuzzy message should stave off the winter blues.
General release from Fri 12 Oct.