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Flushed Away

Someone's Going Down. 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC U Cert – Universal 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Flushed Away

Director: David Bowers & Sam Fell

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslett, Ian McKellan, Jean Reno

Aardman Productions (of Wallace and Gromit fame) team up with Dreamworks Animation and an all-star vocal cast to offer a charmingly enjoyable excursion into the realm of CGI.

Flushed Away sets itself up as a typical quest-to-find-home narrative. Roddy (voiced by Hugh Jackman) lives comfortably as a domesticated pet rat before his owners leave on holiday. Its World Cup Finals time of year, and soon Sid the Sewer Rat ascends from his subterranean underworld in search of a TV and a house all to himself. Finding Roddy in the way, Sid dispatches of him using the only means he knows how – he flushes Roddy down the toilet.

Soon our furry protagonist has made a deal with the boat-owning hippy-rat Rita (Winslet) – she gets him home, and he gives her treasures. However, it is here where the movie departs from its initial narrative coda. Roddy is hardly prepared for life ‘down-under’, as it were, and the hapless pair soon become embroiled in the murky world of the mafia-esque (and aptly named) Boss Toad (McKellan). Having – inevitably – run afoul of his dealings, the characters’ journey becomes as much one of escape from the comic henchmen Spike and Whitey, and attempt to free the sewers from Boss Toad’s scheming and search for Roddy’s home.

An interesting trend of the CGI films since their inception has been their ability to combine effective, child-orientated narratives with a brand of savvy comedy that saddles both the younger and mature audiences. Flushed Away is no exception. The humour in general is perfectly pitched, and whilst it mainly resists the whimsicality of the Wallace and Gromit features, Bill Nighy’s wonderfully droll voice is at hand to give the film a definably British lilt. The animation itself suggests a happy medium between the all-purpose possibilities of computer graphics, and the more limiting yet visually interesting stop-movement mode hitherto fundamental to Aardman. As such, the characters retain a cheeky edge that was so noticeably lacking in Monsters Inc, where the need to render the figures as fluffy and appealing as possible clearly illustrated the inability of CGI to do just so.

Overall, Flushed Away is an elegant and stylish production that will sit nicely next to the Wallace and Gromit movies in Aardman’s portfolio.

Jonathon Cooper

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)