Rat-a-tat-a-tat

Flushed Away (2006) voices Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet

With his owners away Roddy the pet rat has the run of the luxurious Kensington flat. But his peace and quiet is spoilt when Sid the sewer rat comes shooting up out of the sink and decides he is moving in. Causing Roddy an instant nightmare of what life will be like with the slovenly Sid moving in Roddy tries to lure him in to the whirlpool to flush him away but ends up falling foul of his own trap and flushed into the sewers below the city and into Ratropolis. Wanting to return home Roddy is forced to bargain with Rita, the captain of the Jammy Dodger who wants paying for her help. But there is more trouble afoot at Toad wants to rid Ratropolis of rats and mice and along with his henchmen is going to bring in his French cousin to do the job.

So Aardman gives us a CGI version of a clay-mation and it is both interesting and entertaining with that curved look of "Wallace & Gromit" but dare I say even more detail and tone which wouldn't be financially feasible doing it the model way. In fact there is more than a shade of "Wallace & Gromit" about "Flushed Away" with gizmos and gadgets as well as character movement which grounds it as being Aardman rather than just another CGI animation.

But beyond all those typical Aardman touches what "Flushed Away" has is something which is both formulaic and isn't. What isn't is a genuinely entertaining story which serves up quirky and comically feisty characters rather than just stereotypically cute. But alongside this fresh idea is the formula which is comical characters, plenty of colour, some music and all the other ingredients which will keep a young child happy. But "Flushed Away" adds another layer to this with plenty of amusement for grown ups from a Larry Grayson "Shut that Door" reference to a bit of animated slapstick featuring Roddy getting repeatedly hit in his crotch as he falls from a great height, it is diverse and imaginative which keeps you on your toes whilst you watch.

The one thing which I didn't like about "Flushed Away" is the voice work and it is something which has annoyed me about many modern animations. When they employ well known actors to voice characters I tend to want to recognize the actor's voice, I don't want it to end up anonymous as if they got anyone off of the street to do the voice work. As such whilst "Flushed Away" features the voices of Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet amongst many other famous names you wouldn't know it was them unless you were told.

What this all boils down to is that "Flushed Away" is on the whole a lot of fun for both children and adults but for me doesn't make the most of the actors voices for my liking. But anyway as some singing slugs might say "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

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