Flushed Away Review
Flushed Away is a 2006 animated comedy adventure film made by Aardman and DreamWorks Animation. It has its strengths, but is nonetheless very disappointing.
It follows Roddy the rat who is accidentally flushed in the toilet and in the sewers meets a girl named Rita and, without spoiling more, the two are off on an adventure. This is the kind of film that I liked quite a bit when I first saw it back in 2010. But watching it now, I was disappointed. And it was mainly because of the story which is too predictable and overall way too familiar and uninspired. And it doesn’t work that much as a comedy nor as adventure. Yes, it does have a nice adventurous spirit and a great setting, but it isn’t used nearly as well and it of course is never particularly funny with just a couple of good jokes, the rest being typical. The first act is good and I also liked the third act with a satisfying conclusion, but the whole middle part is lacking and is just never as good or as interesting as it could have been. That is also a big problem – it is never particularly engaging.
As for its characters, they are quite solid, albeit frankly forgettable. Roddy is a fairly good protagonist and his story and emotional troubles are well realized. His relationship with Rita is also really well developed and she is quite a good and realistic character. The toad characters are all pretty good and as comedy goes, they are the highlights with many funny moments. And the rest of the characters are all forgettable with the exception of Sid who is really good and quite a contrast to our protagonist.
The voice acting is definitely very good. Yes, it once again consists of too many celebrities, but they are at least well put to use this time around with Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet being particularly good in the lead roles as they blended in these characters and were never a distraction. Ian McKellen is also superb and all of the other actors gave fine performances.
As for its animation, it is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, I liked the character design which is definitely more on the stop-motion than CGI side. And the overall animation is pleasant and the world-building is really good. But on the other hand, that character design doesn’t blend well in this computer-animated world and I don’t understand why they mixed it up and why Aardman didn’t just make a stop-motion film as they are the best at it. That is why the animation is never as good as in other Aardman films which is a real shame as this was perfect for their treatment.
I liked the chemistry between the two lead characters and their relationship is the highlight as well as the development of their characters. The tone is well handled as it is an adventure with some comedy present at times and although it isn’t that funny, there were a couple of really funny moments. Some are typical, but some are really good, mostly the jokes with the frogs and the snails who are superb. I disliked the film references as I always do. They were too on-the-nose and never particularly funny or memorable.
Flushed Away is well directed and definitely well acted, but it is a very weakly paced movie with the overdrawn middle act and some too fast-paced sequences. The score is also forgettable, but it is a somewhat original movie, mostly in its setting which is well depicted due to great world-building. But it is still way too predictable to be enjoyed more. It is definitely an enjoyable trip, but a lacking one nonetheless.
As for its place on the list, I would say that it is a middling effort for DreamWorks Animation, one that is never too good, but also never too bad. It is definitely better than some of their earlier and most of their later movies, but it is still much inferior to their most underrated and much more enjoyable film from the same year which is ‘Over the Hedge‘. But it is still a solid movie that has a lot of good stuff to offer.
Flushed Away has quite good characters, excellent acting, great setting and it is overall a good adventure with some fine jokes, but it is still never as good as it could have been due to a typical and predictable plot, forgettable animation and it is overall a disappointing and not particularly engaging movie.
My Rating – 3.5