Starring: Channing Tatum (KINGSMAN 2 , HAIL, CAESAR! , MAGIC MIKE XXL , THE LEGO MOVIE , G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA  and RETALIATION , and upcoming films THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART  and GAMBIT ), James Corden (OCEAN’S 8 , EMOJI MOVIE , TROLLS , BEGIN AGAIN , and upcoming films CATS  and SUPERINTELLIGENCE ), Zendaya (GREATEST SHOWMAN , and the upcoming SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME ), and Common (GIRLS TRIP , SUICIDE SQUAD , TERMINATOR SALVATION , and upcoming films THE HATE U GIVE  and HUNTER KILLER )
Support: LeBron James (TRAINWRECK ), Gina Rodriguez (ANNIHILATION , FERDINAND , DEEPWATER HORIZON , and upcoming films MISS BALA  and SOMEONE GUEST ), Danny DeVito (THE COMEDIAN , and the upcoming DUMBO ), Patricia Heaton (THE STAR ), and Jack Quaid (RAMPAGE  and LOGAN LUCKY )
Directors: Karey Kirkpatrick (OVER THE HEDGE ) and Jason Reisig (directorial debut)
Writers: Karey Kirkpatrick (CHICKEN RUN  and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH ) and Clare Sera (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Composer: Heitor Pereira (SHOW DOGS , DESPICABLE ME 3 , ANGRY BIRDS , MINIONS , and the upcoming THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 )
Editor: Peter Ettinger (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
This is my honest opinion of: SMALLFOOT
Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum) is a Yeti living high in a mountain top above the clouds where no human has ventured. However, the Yetis believe that there are no such things as humans, or Smallfoots, and that there’s nothing below the clouds, as told by the Stonekeeper (voiced by Common) and Migo is perfectly content with this way of life. In fact, he’s quite looking forward to becoming the next in line as a Gong Ringer, which the Yetis are told allow the sun to rise, so everyone can begin their day, and can only be rung by slingshoting and headbutting directly on it. In fact, Migo has been granted permission by the Stonekeeper to practice ringing the gong. However, Migo misses and is flung out of he village. Before long, he encounters an airplane and his first mythical Smallfoot encounter. However, no one believes what he saw and is banished from the village. But there’s a small group of Yetis, headed by the Stonekeeper’s daughter, Meechee (voiced by Zendaya) and convince Migo to venture below the clouds to prove the existence of the Smallfoot.
Jeez, talk about not judging a book by its cover. Have you seen the taglines for this thing? “Get Yeti”? “There’s been a big myth-understanding”? Are you serious? Ugh, groan, am I right? This movie was supposed to be bad. But… it’s actually not that bad. In fact, dare I say, it’s pretty clever and pretty fun. I said it and I’m not taking it back.
To be fair, I’ve always thought that the premise had potential. Yetis that actually think that humans are mythical creatures, just like it’s the other way around. But I sort of enjoy the lies that they’ve told themselves. The Yetis live at the top of this mountain, and there’s this huge ring of fog that covers the limits of their home. They’re told that their entire mountain is actually being carried on the backs of giant mammoths and that they have to be given these giant ice balls that the Yetis make and push down a tube, all in order to keep them hydrated, or something like that. They also refer to the sun as a giant snail because their only source of light in their homes are these snails that glow. It’s all a load of fun to explore their world and the way they do things, which is completely dictated by the Stonekeeper, who literally wears a cloak made of small stones woven together that dictate what they believe and what they don’t. I love the touch later on when Migo questions how heavy it is and the Stonekeeper says that it is and it requires a strong back to carry it. Won’t lie, got a laugh out of me.
The first thing that I was ready to hate was James Corden. I know, he’s popular and people mostly love him, but I gotta say, I’m not one of those people. I can’t comment on his stand-up or his various shows or skits, but his transition into film has been ANNOYING to me. There are very few times when he’s made me laugh, or even when he’s been tolerable. I have nothing against the man himself, he’s said some dumb things in the past, people say dumb things, I’m over it, but he’s never been that funny to me. I’m not saying that he’s funny here, but Percy is written in a way that Corden’s lack of comedy is subverted by how well-written the character is. Percy is sort of like a Steve Irwin character, nature show type stuff. But his show is on the decline and he wants to at least act like he’s discovered “Big Foot,” which is basically a costume that his director wears, all in the name of getting higher ratings and put him back in the spotlight. What I appreciate about Percy is that he doesn’t believe in exploitation. When he and Migo meet for the first time, he certainly records what he’s discovered and sends it to his director, but he eventually decides that the Yetis deserve to live in peace without humans interfering. Well, okay, there’s a little more to it than that, but he doesn’t see the Yetis as monsters and doesn’t want them to be perceived as monsters. It takes time to that conclusion, but Percy’s story arch makes sense for the circumstances. Again, Corden isn’t all that funny, but Percy isn’t written to be all that funny either, and it works to everyone’s benefit.
I definitely enjoy the idea that Yetis hear human speech as little rapid squeaks, and humans hear Yetis as growlers. It’s like a problem that could easily be resolved if you recorded Yeti-language, sped it up, and then you could understand them. Little touches like that went a long way in this story. Oh, and how many people got a laugh out of the conspiracy theorists that exist in the Yeti world? Sorry, I need to go to Wikipedia for this… *one Wikipedia search later* the “Smallfoot Evidentiary Society” or the S.E.S. I enjoy the human parallels that must exist in the real world.
However, I have to be honest, there’s a few problems that I have.
I had a horrible experience with a very specific part of this movie, so can anyone tell me that they shared a similar experience? I saw this in a standard screening (not IMAX or Dolby Atmos), but did anyone else have an awful experience with the song and dance portions? I felt like the music overpowering the lyrics in an embarrassing way. Like, this is something you’d find on Youtube from someone who didn’t know what they were doing. Maybe I just need to see this movie again in a different auditorium, but I couldn’t make out a single lyric over the instruments and sound effects. I wager that’s the case, but… I have to put that out there. I had a… really bad experience with the musical portions. And it wasn’t just one song and dance, it was literally every single one that the movie presented.
I do have to say, certain character reactions make no sense. When Migo tries to show the village the Smallfoot plane and everything, he literally sees the Smallfoot blow away from the wind when his parachute is out, and literally sees the Smallfoot plane fall off a cliff. But he speaks in a way that this happened days ago. Like, “I swear, it was right here!” kind of dialog, you know? It was really weird in that sense.
Overall, the majority of this movie is pretty enjoyable. It ain’t perfect, but what they get right, they get right. It’s fun, it’s funny when it needs to be, and for an idea that could easily be a cynical product just to shut kids up for an hour and a half, it’s surprisingly better than the marketing makes it out to be. As a recommendation, yeah, I say families will enjoy this. Kids will definitely like it and I think even adults will get something out of it. Fine, not a whole lot, but it’s not something that will annoy them.
My honest rating for SMALLFOOT: 4/5
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