REVIEW: ‘Smallfoot’ is a funny, vibrant animation despite a climax that falls short



Alex Novak

Entering theaters as a potential awards season sleeper, “Smallfoot” is a lighthearted, family friendly animated film that explores a wide range of themes through a creative storyline.

The film does a prominent job of telling a story that is timely and important — one that encourages curiosity to grasp core components of misunderstanding and remedy them, which is evident in society today more than ever, especially in politics.

From the interesting characters and the depth they add to the unique setting in the Himalayan Mountains, the film aims to examine how sometimes our perceptions of distance can sometimes be false.

The yetis, oblivious to the humans living below them, are stuck with their heads in the clouds, where their mountain home is located.

And more importantly, the film illustrates no matter how different people are, they can find things to unite them and overcome barriers that may seem uncrossable.

“Smallfoot” tells the story of a yeti who discovers it has been living above a whole world of humans, or smallfoots, while learning to find beauty in the unknown.

The film is full of heartwarming plot devices and a unique portrayal of human interaction with fear.

The work by the animation team is stunning with tremendous attention to detail and motion flow that looks especially wondrous in 3-D, particularly in the yeti village at the top of the Himalayan Mountains.

Adding to the many great technical aspects of the movie, the soundtrack incorporates its scored themes and musical numbers very well, which further builds the impact of the story by reminding viewers of the theme during its dramatic moments.

A few of the songs will likely draw comparisons to some favorite classics, but the film particularly gives off a similar sound to recent animated musicals, such as “Frozen” or “Moana.” “Wonderful Life,” sung by Zendaya, “Perfection” by Channing Tatum and a mashup later in the film, called “Wonderful Questions,” — a duet between the two — are all notable music highlights.

The only drawbacks of the film are its noticeable tendency to abruptly change from scene to scene for most of its run time, although it becomes slightly better toward the end, and a somewhat underwhelming climax — a chase between a fearful group of humans following the discovery of yeti existence.

Overall, the action scenes in “Smallfoot” are successful, but the climax falls short.

Ultimately, “Smallfoot” is a terrific animated movie that undoubtedly delivers a strong message and includes some really great dialogue in doing so, provided from great voice acting by a cast of stars in Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, LeBron James, Common and Danny DeVito. It will likely be one of the top animated films of the year.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].