Warner Bros. Pictures’ newest animated feature Smallfoot is a delightful family film that will definitely please the vast majority of its target audience but does not have as much in store for its adult viewers.
One day, a young yeti named Migo (voice of Channing Tatum) encounters a human being on a mountainside that he calls a “smallfoot”. In his yeti village, nobody believes that smallfoots exist. After Migo explains his shocking discovery to the Stonekeeper (Common) he is quickly dismissed as being a liar, and is banished from his yeti village where his friends and family reside. Now, he sets out on a mission to prove that smallfoots exist so that he can go back to the yeti village and live a happy, peaceful life.
Ever since watching the first trailer for Smallfoot, my curiosity was peaked, as its production company was Warner Animation Group – they made some remarkably good animated features in the past such as 2014’s The Lego Movie, 2016’s Storks, and 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie. All of those films were packed with charming family fun and adventure. Although Smallfoot never quite reaches the heights as some of the aforementioned animated pictures, it is still a fun and relatively humorous film for the whole family to enjoy.
Something that every single Warner Animation Group film has had thus far is stunning animation, and Smallfoot is no exception. The attention to detail in the film is extraordinary, and everything looks greatly crafted. It must have taken hard and long hours for the animation team behind the film to create all the visuals and ensure they look the best.
When we are introduced to Tatum’s character Migo, we see him as an extremely charismatic yeti who has plenty of friends in his village and is overall seen as good throughout the village. He goes out of his way to help the other yetis whenever they need help. That’s why whenever he gets banished in the opening few minutes of the film, it is an emotional moment. We feel bad for Migo as he did nothing wrong, but nobody believes he saw a smallfoot as they are about as mythical as unicorns are to humans. Whenever Migo started to set out on his journey to prove that he saw a smallfoot, there was genuine sympathy that stuck with me through it all.
Another great addition to the voice cast is Zendaya as Meechee, one of the many yetis present in the film. Her character is greatly charming, and is often on screen with Tatum’s Migo, which can occasionally create for some comedic moments. Other great additions to the film’s all-star voice cast include Danny DeVito as Dorgle, James Corden as Percy Patterson, and LeBron James as Gwangi.
The film can feel a little bit long, however. Smallfoot is only ninety six minutes in length, but does feel remarkably longer than that. In fact, when leaving the theatre, somebody was talking to their friend after seeing the film as well, and said “So, did you like it”?, to which the friend replied “Yeah, but it was just too long”. Those were my thoughts exactly after leaving the film. Even though the running time was actually short, it felt as if the picture was two hours or more.
Something that surprised me when watching the film was that it practically is a musical. There are several instances in Smallfoot where a character goes from talking to singing randomly and it just did not work for the type of film this was. Not to mention, one of the earlier musical numbers in the film was a bit cringe-worthy and hard to sit through.
An element of the film that is to be appreciated however, is the message it has towards kids – treat the environment and wildlife with care and respect. Seeing this in Smallfoot was excellent, and will definitely leave a positive impact on kids. It is always delightful to see a family film deliver powerful messages to children, and Smallfoot does.
For the most part, the humour in the film is just mediocre. There were a couple of comedic scenes that made me chuckle, but that’s about it – just a chuckle. It would have been great to have laughed really hard during some moments, but the film relies on surface level jokes. Being an adult, some of the humor that was directed towards young children just did not make me laugh, unfortunately. Adults that watch the film will be entertained by some of the chemistry between the voice cast, the likeable characters, and its story, but can be a bit dull during some moments.
Smallfoot is a charming film with a great voice cast and likeable characters, even if it falls behind on its humor and musical numbers.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action, rude humor, and thematic elements
Cast: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common
Directed by: Karey Kirkpatrick
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 96 minutes