I have two criterions when grading a kid’s movie. The first is simple. Would a child like to see it? If a kid’s film passes this test for youngsters (up to say age ten) then I won’t give it a failing grade. The intended audience is children and if they’d like it I’m not going to fully knock it. The second factor is your adult time. Will you be mad or bored? I can’t give a movie a great grade if only half the audience has a good time. There is a bonus factor too, is this something you should see even if you aren’t a parent or taking a smaller human to see it? These rare films, The Little Mermaid‘s of the world get the top rating but they only come around once a year or so. This isn’t in that rarified air but it is a solid film. How solid you ask? Well, if your going to press me I’d say…
Flushed Away will be enjoyed by children and liked by adults. No one will be angry about purchasing a ticket so that’s a victory for the guy who brought you Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The plot exists only to support the one-liners but here it is anyway; Roddy (Hugh Jackman) is an uptown classy style of mouse that gets flushed down the toilet by a bully mouse. Roddy meets lady mouse Rita (Kate Winslet) down in the sewer town and they seek to foil the evil plans of a giant toad. There you have it, nice and neat.
Now, on to the official reviewer style critique. I really liked the use of music in this one because they didn’t soften the lyrics to suit the younger theme. A prime example of this was The Dandy Warhols “Bohemian Like Me” which has a killer (and appropriate) refrain but lyrically wouldn’t seem to tie into a children’s film. Somehow the director was smart enough to know that the adults would appreciate a real song and the kids would be more interested in the on screen action anyway. That’s the first time I’ve noticed this type of brave choice, so I give kudos there. I also noticed an impressive level of detail in the comedy, there were tiny little jokes everywhere on screen and you really had to pay attention to get the full laughs. Again, these seemed to be aimed squarely at the adults. Getting a laugh every few minutes out of an animation is fantastic, instead of feeling like a death march (such as The Wild), it felt like a movie I’d actually enjoy on DVD.
So yeah, Flushed Away is a definite see for everyone involved. It doesn’t enter the pantheon of amazing children’s movies but it doesn’t embarrass itself either. It has laughs, it moves quickly, and it’s colorful. If you’re looking for more than that out of a movie perhaps you should consider leaving the little ones at home, eh?