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Flushed Away

Year: 2006
Production Co: Aardman
Studio: Dreamworks Animation
Director: David Bowers/Sam Fell
Writer: Sam Fell
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Bill Nighy, Andy Serkis
In the hands of market-aware Dreamworks as they watched the figures for computer animated cartoons go through the roof, co-producers Aardman sell out big time as they leave plasticine behind for CGI..

They'd probably tell you the whole Pixar bullshit about how it's about the story and the technology is just a tool to tell it, and to the untrained eye this would indeed look just like the stop motion plasticine animation of Wallace and Gromit.

But it's another nail in the coffin of the cell drawn and plasticine moulded art of animation as the server farms in Bangalore and The Philippines take a bit more work away from artisans.

Coddled pet mouse Roddy (Jackman) is flushed down the dunny by the crude interloper into his domain and finds a faux London in the sewers populated by the same cockey thugs, good-natured working class, crime lords and opportunistic drifters as the human version above.

He falls in with feisty Rita (Winslet) who's trying to make off with a precious ruby and on the run from the cruel overlord of the underworld, The Toad (McKellen).

It's not the ruby The Toad wants however, it's the key to flood the entire sewer wiping away all rat life and leaving the way clear for a toad takeover.

Classic chase scenes and character arcs ensue, along with the shopworn he's-rich-but-has-no-family-so-has-to-learn-what's-really-impotant premise. There's an amazing level of detail - maybe more than could be achieved with plasticine models, plenty of blink and you'll miss them in-jokes worthy of Dreamworks canon, and lots of laughs for all ages. Good but unoriginal.

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