Flushed Away is essentially one of those films that came out of nowhere, it had little to no marketing that went into it and it was honestly a sleeper release in one of the toughest years for animation due to the release of films such as Cars, Paprika, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Monster House and even Happy Feet. Honestly, a year in which Disney is releasing a film is always going to be a tough challenge, and this was one of those years.
Flushed Away went on to become a massive flop and the reason why Dreamworks cut ties with Aardman Animation. Yet somehow, the film is still quite entertaining, and even well made!
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Flushed Away Review
Directed by David Bowers and Sam Fell, the film would be the one and only collaboration they had together as directors. Honestly, the collaboration felt like a success, as the story is outright funny, and the pacing is super-well done.
The story follows Roddy, a luxurious rat who lives a life of excess in a fantastically furnished flat. However, the problem is that he gets flushed. His flat now destroyed and completely overtaken by water, and his life turned upside down, he’s thrown into the dark underbellies of the London sewerage system where a new life awaits him, one that he’s not very accustomed to.
Flushed Away features some fantastic characters, that particularly bring a huge amount of charm to the film. However, the characters aren’t utilized to their fullest potential in my opinion.
Although, that doesn’t make these characters any less fun to watch on screen, especially because of the well-done voice acting by the brilliant cast members. Hugh Jackman as Roddy is absolutely enigmatic in this film, giving a performance that actually feels quirky and fun to watch on screen.
Kate Winslet as Rita is also an amazing character, often underutilized but the screen presence is still there. The best character though is by far Ian Mckellan as The Toad.
Animation wise though, this film isn’t very unique. It tries to follow the Claymation art style of Wallace and Gromit, but it fails tremendously at that. That particular art style only works when the film itself is Claymation, but this wasn’t Claymation and it is completely computer-animated.
That takes away from a lot of the charm in this film and does make it feel a little more bloated. The pacing is fantastic though, the film doesn’t stop at any moment and continuously remains fun even through the dialogues which are genuinely hilarious.
The one thing that could have saved this film from being borderline bland is a better soundtrack, which isn’t the case here. The music by Harry Gregson-Williams does feature some stellar tracks, but most of the time it feels as if it’s just background noise and doesn’t add much to the overall plot of the film. In fact, it fails to elevate any of the moments in the film, which makes the soundtrack seem redundant.
It feels as if the collaboration between the directors was well thought out, yet the film itself wasn’t well thought out much. It lacks a distinctive art style for one, secondly, it also features a lot of character development issues which arise especially in the second half and a lot of the characters start to get more screen time period you don’t feel connected to them, nor can you empathize or even sympathize with their cause.
All in all, Flushed Away is a decent entertainer with a ton of fun for the whole family.
However, if you’re looking for something distinctive, something unique, or refreshing, this isn’t the way to go. The film is often a bloated and boring endeavor when it comes to its characters, which are fantastic for the most part yet still underdeveloped and lack screen time so the audience would feel connected to them. It also lacks a stellar soundtrack, which is a rare misstep in Harry Gregson-Williams’ long-running career.
- Fun characters
- Fast and well-paced story with lots of entertainment value
- Really good voice acting
- Underutilized and underdeveloped characters
- Often times bloated narrative, with stakes being formed from random plot devices
- Bland music