By Guest Reviewer ultranow
Flushed Away taught me so many things: Hugh Jackman is still cute even when in the form of an animated rat; Sir Ian McKellen still brings forth gay even when in the form of a villainous toad named, actually, Toad; Kate Winslet, who once again puts in some boat time, can bring believability to even the most improbable circumstances; and claymation, the look of which is sporadically utilized, most notably with a doo-wop chorus of slugs, is always impressive, putting even the most high tech animation to shame, even if ironically it’s that high tech animation which created the claymation look.
Hugh Jackman stars as Roddy, who goes from living in a mansion, or most pointedly in a cage within that mansion, to being flushed down the toilet by an interloper and down pipes and down the sewer and down down down to Ratropolis, bizarrely a fun, happening place, literally a bizarre bazaar. From capitalism to barter, and he’s got nothing to offer, except saving the whole darn place.
Going from a living in an exclusive zip code to being flushed down the toilet - it’s the animated equivalent of Shannon Doherty’s career, and based on disappointing grosses is also the equivalent of her movie career. Should have been called Ratropolis, which would have simplified matters and brought in at least an extra $25 million. Or possibly just Charming Mini Hugh Jackman in a Tuxedo. I adore movies with that title and so would the world.
Hugh Jackman’s Roddy, though decidedly heterosexual, does at the beginning of the flick count dolls as his only companions. This is not so much gay as pathetic. He is also in possession of a wardrobe which includes Elvis, the Vegas Years, and Wolverine, the kind of inside joke I hate.
Why does Sir Ian McKellen’s Toad read as gay? Purple and pink paisley robe, yellow ascot, pinkie rings, excellent manners, general fastidiousness, and most of all, hatred of rats. When he does change to a suit, it’s similarly purple, with a yellow tie, pink shirt and pink pocket square. He possesses what he perceives as fine collectibles, building on the film’s theme of perspective. What can each tiny object in the lives of humans be utilized/seen as from a rat’s or frog’s or other small creature’s point of view. What is more important, fine objects or family? He also possesses maniacal genocidal plans, making him Joan Crawford gay.
This picture was heavier on child-friendly slapstick and puns than on the tricky multi-layered dialogue found in many animated pictures seeking to capture adult and youth markets. That said, a fair bit of the slapstick was ingenious, and puns don’t hurt as badly when delivered by a Sir. The slapstick involving Toad and his hapless assistants was particularly engrossing. Who knew tongues could stretch so far?
Kate Winslet’s Rita is the heart of the picture, offering companionship that dolls can’t, offering family that Roddy needs. Plucky female on boat. Consider her Keira Knightley in pants, with the must have belt of the moment, at least as far as Toad’s evil plans are concerned.
This is jaunty fun. The best part is how Robin Williams isn’t in it.
Flushed Away will be released on DVD on February 20.