Flushed Away (2006)

(In theaters, December 2006) Aardman’s studio first CGI film is a smashing delight: While it doesn’t have the classic status of Wallace and Gromit, Flushed Away has learned all the good lessons from its more famous sibling: the action sequences are furious, the world-building is inventive, the sight gags are numerous and the entire production has a charm that makes it impossible to resist. The characters are realized in typical Aardman-clay style, with intentional surface texture defects and the characteristic eyes we’ve come to associate with the studio. The humour may be a bit more juvenile, but one of the surprises of the film is how successful it is even when it’s using naive gags: One gets the sense that the writers are almost apologizing for the clichés even as they milk them for all they’re worth. Visually busy and not one minute too long, Flushed Away is a solid hit: not a classic, but a title well-worth revisiting. Who would have thought that slugs could be such a hoot?

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