Flushed Away

Brimming with visual and verbal wit, “Flushed Away” isn’t just in a different league to cookie-cutter animated adventures like “Open Season” or “Barnyard” – it’s playing a completely different sport.


Voices of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno

The latest animated entertainment from the talented folks at Aardman, the production house behind “Chicken Run” and the enchanting exploits of “Wallace and Gromit”, sees them foregoing their traditional claymation approach in favour of the computer-generated cartoon look made famous by the likes of the “Shrek” and “Toy Story” movies.

Don’t go thinking, however, that “Flushed Away” marks the end of an era or – even worse – is something of a sell-out.

Because while it may not have the endearingly hand-made feel of the company’s previous work, “Flushed Away” retains the spirit, sweet nature and good nature that has become an Aardman trademark.

Besides that, this tale of a pampered rat who finds himself sucked into a subterranean adventure when he’s sucked down a drain and into the London sewers is so jam-packed with stuff that rending it in clay would probably result in a megabucks budget and a production schedule of 10 years or more.

Posh Roddy (voiced by Hugh Jackman, hitting just the right foppish note) lives a luxurious but lonely existence as a rich little girl’s pet, but he’s rudely removed from the high life when a lowlife rodent moves into his home and flushes him down the toilet into a world teeming with colourful characters.

Trying to get home to Kensington, Roddy runs afoul of an amphibian crime lord called The Toad (Ian McKellen, whose mellifluous voice is always a treat), who’s hatching a horrible plan to rid the sewers of rats once and for all.

Teaming up with feisty working-class rat Rita (Kate Winslet, who’s capable of making even vermin spunky), Roddy finds himself facing multiple forms of menace as he tries to halt the Toad’s terrible scheme and find his way home.

Brimming with visual and verbal wit, “Flushed Away” isn’t just in a different league to cookie-cutter animated adventures like “Open Season” or “Barnyard” – it’s playing a completely different sport.

The young audiences at which it’s aimed will certainly get a kick out of the cute characters and action-packed antics, but adults are likely to find themselves equally entertained (The Toad’s dim-witted henchmen, voiced by Bill Nighy and Andy Serkis, are responsible for many of the movie’s belly laughs).

So fear not that digital pixels have replaced clay in the Aardman world this time around – it’s not a permanent change, for one thing. And based on “Flushed Away”, the company has clearly retained its knack for producing light, lovable and family-friendly flicks.

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Reviewer : Guy Davis