Fri | Nov 16, 2018

'Smallfoot' : A snow-filled snoozefest

Published:Monday | October 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Migo from the animated film "Smallfoot."

When I first heard of Smallfoot the animated picture about a yeti named Migo that has his world turned upside down at the sighting of a human, or as he calls it, a 'smallfoot', I was admittedly intrigued. It seemed the type of premise the very best animated films were made of. Taking a concept we know the myth of the Abominable Snowman - and turning it on its head.

Then, much like it is with any myth, the deeper I dug into the film, the less appealing it became. Its star-studded cast did nothing but inspire dread. Its pop-heavy soundtrack, evoked nausea, and at the end of the day, I just hoped the film's unique premise would win out against all odds.

 

Doesn't reach the heights

 

Sadly, Smallfoot never quite reaches the gargantuan heights it could.

The film isn't a thoughtless beast, but it's not a particularly clever one either. Its message of inclusion, fostering critical thinking, and embracing the unknown, is a welcome one. But a film like this could really benefit from just a touch of irony about itself.

In fact, the film shines when it feels at odds with what it is. The best parts of the movie come in scenes where the characters act unpredictably. Unfortunately, Smallfoot wants to play everything so safe that it just comes off as dull.

The characters didn't need to be bitter, sarcastic, or have an edge. What they did need to be is something different from the cast of characters in every animated film that came before it characters that are certainly designed to be packaged and sold come this Christmas. Smallfoot feels like the pilot for a television series more than it does its own film.

One of the biggest selling points of Smallfoot is its cast: Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Danny DeVito, and a few unexpected names like Common and LeBron James.

Trouble is, you can tell who doesn't have that much experience in acting and voice work and who does. In one camp, you have Common, who sounds like he's being fed his dialogue line by line, Eazy-E style, and then you have Danny DeVito, who can outclass a movie like this in his sleep. Then you have Channing Tatum, who might fit in with either, but I've been trying to figure that one out since Step Up.

Rating: Catch It On Cable