Don’t judge this movie by its trailer. Smallfoot (film) is far more than another inane animated comedy targeting the young and excitable.
Smallfoot (Film) Synopsis
A large village of Yetis lives near the summit of a soaring mounting, with every aspect of their lives regulated by laws written on stones. When young Migo is unable to prove his encounter with a “smallfoot” i.e. a human, he is banished from the village for challenging the laws, which explicitly state that smallfoots do not exist. Despondent, Migo is then approached by the Smallfoot Evidentiary Society, a gang of misfit Yetis out to prove that the stones are wrong. A subsequent expedition that goes terribly wrong thereafter sends Migo plummeting down the mountain. He lands near a human settlement, following which he meets a down-and-out documentary maker named Percy Patterson. Desperate for sensational material to revitalise his dying career, Patterson proposes an audacious collaboration with the stranded Migo.
Ever had this experience?
There’s nothing at the cinemas you’re genuinely interested in, but you have to “go” because your friend/partner insists on watching something. Or like me, you need to write something about anything for a blog. Or, well, for something.
Scroll through the “Now Showing” list. Scrolling … Oh, there’s an animated comedy that’s on. Oh … It’s yet another classic monster as adorable hero thingy. But oh well, at least it’s a comedy. Apart from the fact it wouldn’t be heavy, at a little under a hundred minutes, you should be free of the chore before you know it. You’d be back home snuggling in your bed in no time.
Watching, watching … Eyes roll. How silly does it get? And what’s with all the ridiculous song and dance? Watching … Hey, something more than the usual inane jokes seems to be going on here.
Wait a minute, was that a brutal condemnation of social media sensationalism tactics you just heard? And the whole thing about ancient laws written in stone being inviolable, even when they sound absurd. Isn’t that … eerily akin to the culture of certain organisations you keep a mile away from?
Suddenly, so suddenly, you can’t tear your eyes off the screen.
This was what happened to me yesterday. I entered the cinema with low to no expectations for Smallfoot (Film). I left thoroughly impressed by the intelligent and crafty story. While the beginning third of the movie is juvenile, every bit of silliness is then efficiently whipped into stark examples of how and why people divide themselves.
By the midpoint of the story, I was actually wondering, is Smallfoot really an animated comedy meant for kids? Or is it more appropriate to consider it as social satire, albeit one still light-hearted enough to be suitable for children?
There are also the sly characterizations. For example, how every character is in one way or another, dependent on dishonesty in the name of the greater good. In our real world, how often does that happen? How often will that continue to happen!
For an animated comedy to be able to work in such analytical depths, I think Smallfoot is truly a wonderful accomplishment in storytelling. The ending, as I highlighted in my visual summary above, trends towards the over-optimistic, but overall, the emphatic message of the movie is not lost.
I’m keeping fingers crossed that the kids who guffawed and giggled beside me will bring home a lesson that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.