Small foot is a 2018 American animated comedy-adventure movie directed by Karey Kirkpatrick. Based on a book called ‘Yeti Tracks’ by Sergio Pablos, the plot follows the adventures of Migo (Channing Tatum) one of the many high altitude creatures called Yetis who pursues to prove the existence of the human race to his own uncivilized kind.
The animation movie genre is not something you can immediately associate with an actor like Channing Tatum but judging by his performance on here, you’d think he was born to do these kinds of roles more than the roles we know him for. Migo, the character he plays, is one that I knew I was going to like from the get-go because the movie does a great job of summarizing what his purpose in the story is all about within the first 20 minutes or so and I like it when it’s done like that; no dilly-dalling whatsoever.
Migo is your typical movie protagonist; a character who in the beginning is has it all going for him up until the main conflict, which he is majorly a part of, comes about and thus from then on it’s the creature trying to solve the apparent conflict. The latter is not a smooth-sailing task for him, not in the very least. He does face a fair few physical, psychological and emotional bumps along the way which go on to define the kind of character he becomes by the time the end credits roll.
Additionally, however subtle it might have been, I thought there was great symbolism in Migo’s broken horn. For me, it symbolized that in spite of the attractive demeanour of Tatum’s character and how beloved he was to friends and family, he still had his own flaws which are explored at various points in the movie’s runtime. I don’t know if you read into it as much I did but I hope this easter-egg explanation makes sense to you.
The other characters were equally as good I must say. It’s quite evident that ‘The Late Late Show’ host James Corden is not intent on missing any beat as far as his voice-work performances in animation films are concerned since the flop that was ‘The Emoji Movie’. Much like Migo, Corden’s character Percy is a wildlife documentary film-maker who has a point to prove not just to himself but also to the society he that he is part of and hence you’ll tend to connect with his own personal journey throughout the motion-picture.
Zendaya as the female Yeti Meechee was fantastic as well; despite her connection to the stern and lawful ruling elite in the Yeti community, she does have her own stand that she is not afraid to take and I liked that aspect to her. The star-studded performances don’t end there; we also have Common, Lebron James, Danny DeVito, Gina Rodriguez, Jimmy Tatro and Yara Shahidi who exquisitely play The Stonekeeper, Gwangi, Dorgie, Kolka, Thorp and Brenda respectively and who also have a hand in bringing out the best in the main character Migo.
The Plot, Merits and Demerits.
It’s safe to say that the production team of this movie must have been on cloud nine in relation to how expressive they could be with this fresh and rarely done story at least from an animation point of view. A story about two different races who think of each other as myths and occasionally as enemies and both of which have representatives who are intent on not only proving the opposite race’s existence but also debunking the negative attributes associated with them. The latter can be a huge plus for a movie such as this because there is no pressure to outperform other successful movies that might have employed something similar in their storytelling; at least the movies that I know of.
Small Foot as a flick addresses a number of things quite well in a manner that I found quite fascinating. First off, I like how the film addresses the dynamic between the human species and the Yetis; it tried to be as realistic as possible with this. On one hand we have humans who don’t believe in the existence of the creatures and vice versa as I previously mentioned and also we have the communication barrier aspect; the variant species can barely understand one another when trying to converse and I found that aspect rather clever considering the fact that other animation movies are pretty much oblivious to it.
Furthermore, I enjoyed how the movie addresses the fact that the high in society can at times impose themselves too much on their subjects both physically and emotionally so as to prevent the discovery and eventual revelation of particular hidden aspects of the same society. This is an element that is best expressed through Common’s character Stonekeeper who is the supreme leader of the Yeti community. Lastly, I was interested how the film addresses the fact that the Yeti community is so backward they don’t understand how gravity works which would ideally be the case all things considered. I found it funny how they played around with this element as well.
Speaking of funny, the comedic moments are genuinely laughable; I got a whole lot of laughs out of Smallfoot than I thought I would and that is largely thanks to the character of Thorp (Jimmy Tatro). He is a slow-witted Yeti who happens to be the Stonekeeper’s son and Meechee’s brother as well.
The voice acting was top-notch; I did not come into this movie expecting any less considering how star-studded and seasoned the members of the leading cast are. The characters that the latter play were superbly written as well; both in dialogue and the individual purposes that they serve in the plot. The C.G visuals were generally as much of a character as the main ones were; they had a heavy presence in the flick and brought the best out of the various scenes where they were employed. To sum up the merits, I’d say the film is really good at balancing the comedic and more serious tones very well; neither of them seemed more dominant than the other and I was pleased by that.
Notwithstanding, there are a few things that I was displeased with; this film is not flawless. I didn’t like how obvious the movie made the love-story between two of the main characters seem; characters who I duly won’t mention for obvious spoiler-related reasons. Moreover, the music moments were one too many for a 1 ½ hour film and it substantially dragged the pacing; yes, they are quite enjoyable nonetheless some of them were either needless or went on for too long case. A good example is the rap performance by Common’s character in the climax which by the way, I should have seen coming.
There’s not much that I can say at this point in my review to emphasize on how good this motion-picture is and why you should watch it whether in theatres or when it’s DVD version is released. In spite of its imperfections, Smallfoot is family-friendly, has an enticing story, has awesome voice acting performances and even though I did not mention it earlier, Karey Kirkpatrick is an unsung hero in all this; his stewardship played a major role in making this animation movie as good as it turned out to be.