Flushed Away

Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, and Ian McKellen star in a
film written by Sam Fell, Peter Lord, Dick Clement, and Ian La
Frenais and directed by Fell and David Bowers.

Reviewed by D.J. Palladino

Potty humor can be sophisticated, don’t you know. As proof,
consider Flushed Away, the new cartoon from the studio
that brought forth Wallace & Gromit. It stars a rat
named Roddy, who’s flushed down from his Kensington digs into
another London, a Ratropolis built near the golden waters of the
city sewer. Beside the malodorous microcosm — providing class
system satire — Flushed offers more gratuitous movie references
than a Tarantino film. In the first 10 minutes you’ll catch
Little Nemo, Caddyshack, James Bond, and
the X-Men represented. And these are only the most obvious
in-jokes, all there for jaded parents expecting the next
Shrek. Maybe kids won’t dig the inter-textualities, but
entering a sewer world via the family’s porcelain throne will
probably sustain them while the Shakespeare-like comedy develops.
May there always be a Britain, I say, for the sake of low global

Now some of your more circumspect animation devotees may want to
point out how this film relies on computers and not the
plasticine-model stop-action technology usually employed by
England’s great Aardman Animations studios. This is both true and
false. Aardman used computers in the past, and in fact, they
“discovered” the technology used for this film while making The
Curse of the Were-Rabbit
’s bunnies disappear into Wallace’s
Bun-O-Vac. Turns out, stop-action’s hard to do with water and this
film makes a lot of water.

The best part, though, is the way Flushed neatly skims
the surface of its absurdist plot, not avoiding the main poop, but
keeping it clean enough for you to take the dive. It’s blissfully
un-educational, too. In a world where animation features seem to be
secretly plotting to make ecologically responsible citizens from
our spawn, this film features singing slugs, soccer louts, and
power-hungry frogs all fighting for an easy life. It’s not The
Lion King
maybe, but then Disney would never turn this circle
of life into film, anyway.


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