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Smallfoot (2018)

Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film as original, charming, and funny as Smallfoot. But what do you expect from the creative team behind a gem like Storks, another story that successfully makes you laugh and cry at the same time? Over the years, the Warner Brothers Animation Group (WAG) has finally started to gain more steam as it battles against some big-name animation houses in the film industry. Honestly, if the rest of their films are anything like Smallfoot, I can easily see WAG giving the House of Mouse a run for its money.

So, for this Christmas season, let’s take a closer look at a modern gem of animation. This is my official AFA review for Smallfoot (2018).

Mythology Meets Reality

Okay, so we have seen a TON of films where a human meets magical creatures and set off on an amazing journey to learn more about them. Heck, even J.K. Rowling developed a story centered on this concept with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

However, in a really funny and creative twist, Smallfoot is not about a human discovering a mythical creature. Instead, this movie focuses on how two species discover each other. And that’s not only refreshing but also pretty innovative. We not only get to see how the characters interact with each other but also witness how they grow as individuals. Talk about a good story for kids and adults. In a way, a fantasy film like Smallfoot helps us understand the real world better than some live action films.
Inspired by the story “Yeti Tracks,” Smallfoot takes place in (where else?) the Himalayan mountains and tells the story of a Yeti named Migo, who is desperate to prove the existence of the legendary Smallfoot (e.g. you, me, and all humans). Teaming up with a group of adorable outcasts, Migo discovers there is more to his people’s history and the humans than he originally thought. And if I say more, the movie will be spoiled. The twist is really great

A Landscape of Color 

I really can’t talk about this film without discussing the color. The first time I watched Smallfoot, I was immediately drawn to the amazing palette of blues, pinks, orange, and purple. While peaceful, this mix of colors is an effective contrast to the stark, harsh, bright colors of the human world. Likewise, I also love how the filmmakers used a bright scale and sepia tones to distinguish between happy moments and sad moments. That…is actually amazing. I have rarely seen films where the color also serves as a narrator.

Memorable Characters

Another high point for this film is its larger-than-life cast of characters, brought to life by some amazingly talented people. With all their flaws, each Yeti and human is unforgettably funny and immensely entertaining. Even the side characters are memorable and get a few laughs.

Migo (Channing Tatum) is your average happy-go-lucky guy whose world does a complete 180 after he finds a human friend. Still, his innocence mixed with his confidence is surprisingly refreshing. I love male characters with a childlike curiosity who are also very intimidating. It’s a really fun combo.

Meechee (Zendaya) is a lovely female lead and the love interest of Migo. So, what makes her so great? Simply put, she is not a confrontational girl and prefers to live a peaceful, adventurous life. Plus, she’s beautiful, elegant, and delightfully childlike. And the little girl in me loved her braid. (So cute!)

Percy (James Corden) is a pompous but loveable celebrity who runs a nature program (with a nod to Steve Irwin, Jeff Corwin, and other Animal Planet greats). Rather than coming across as scared all the time, Percy actually makes an effort to befriend the Yetis.

Meanwhile, we get some really funny and charming side characters. Migo’s friends include the eccentric and pudgy Gwangi (LeBron James), the boisterous and kind Kolka (Gina Rodriguez), and the fast-talking and arrogant Fleem (Ely Henry). Plus, we have Meechee’s father the Stonekeeper (Common), the wise but overly stern leader of the village, and her brother Thorp (Jimmy Tatro), two more roles that definitely add a nice touch to the film.

Surprise Musical 

I will admit it. During my first viewing for the trailer for Smallfoot, I would never…EVER in a million years think it was a musical. But let me tell you, from the first moment these songs start playing in the first quarter of the film, you are hooked. This is some of the most charming, catchy, and creative music I have heard in a long time. Each song perfectly complements a scene. And believe me when I tell you that you’ll be humming the opening tune for hours and hours after you hear it.

Final Thoughts on Smallfoot

What else can I say about Smallfoot? It’s charming, funny, and absolutely hilarious in all the right ways. Fans of Looney Tunes cartoons will love this movie, and I recommend it to anyone (young and old) who absolutely adores brilliant slapstick and excellent voice acting. While not an epic, complex film, it is definitely on my list for the best of 2018.