‘Smallfoot’ film review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Smallfoot is woke. The film (directed by Karey Kirkpatrick) is a children’s movie; however, it is suitable for all ages. The premise of the movie is unlike any other I have seen before—yet the messages are startlingly relevant to our lives off screen.
The plot centres around Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum), a lovable and cheery yeti. Migo’s set to take his father’s job to ring the daily sun gong, as per tradition, to call for the sun to rise. After a goofy miss, Migo finds himself on the other side of his village’s mountain.
A plane crash occurs and suddenly Migo is faced with… a human! However, traditions in Migo’s yeti civilization are written on stones, which are carried by the village leader, called the Stonekeeper. One of the stone’s rules is that there is no such thing as a “Smallfoot” (human). Migo goes back to the village to tell everyone what he saw, but nobody believes him except a small group of rebels. In a desperate effort to prove himself, Migo and his friends set off to challenge everything they’ve ever known to be true, even if the rules were set in place to keep them safe.
There are many unique voice actors in Smallfoot, including: Zendaya voicing Meechee, Migo’s friend and love interest; Migo’s dad Dorgle, voiced by Danny DeVito; Migo’s unlikely human friend Percy, voiced by James Corden; and Migo’s friend Gwangi, voiced by LeBron James. These recognizable voices alone make Smallfoot very fun to watch.
The animation is simple but cute, with a style that looks like a cross between Wreck-It Ralph and Monsters Inc., regarding the fluffy creatures and the pink, chubby-cheeked humans.
Migo, curious as ever, goes to great lengths to prove that the Smallfoot is real. He goes down into a human village and meets Percy, a wildlife TV show host. Though neither of them can communicate with each other at first, and though they both have been taught to fear each other, they surpass what has been expected of them and become friends instead. Together, they work to change stereotypes about each other’s species by introducing one another as friendly races. They even bond over playing Candy Crush.
The musical bits are forgettable, sounding just like any other cheery song from an animated film. The plot itself does a good job keeping the underlying messages subtle but obvious enough that children can derive the point and take it home.
Smallfoot urges people to challenge traditions and the status quo, to challenge authority, to never stop asking questions, and to fight for the truth. The message is a model for anyone watching. It is an unexpectedly bold movie which could be making statements about many things, particularly government and/or religion. I am excited for more movies directed at children that fight social constructs—this will be a remarkable feat in fighting all stereotypes that keep humans divided.