out of Five
Running time: 85
Beautifully animated, superbly written comedy with an extremely high gag rate and great characters.
What's it all about?
Roddy St James (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is a pampered pet mouse who lives a life of luxury in a Kensington mansion. However, when his owners go away and a sewer rat named Sid (Shane Ritchie) moves in, Roddy's plan to get rid of him backfires badly and he ends up flushed down the toilet and into the London sewer system.
Once underground, Roddy discovers a vast underground city (looking exactly like London), where he meets feisty rodent, Rita a street-wise mouse with her own mission. Roddy and Rita uncover a sinister plot by the mouse-hating Toad (Ian McKellen) and set out to foil his schemes, all the time staying one step ahead of his villainous henchrats (Andy Serkis and Bill Nighy), as well as hired mercenary Le Frog (Jean Reno).
Although Flushed Away is digitally animated, it's modelled on the style and characterisations of Aardman's stop-motion movies (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run). This works surprisingly well, allowing for huge, imaginatively designed sets and impressive water effects that would have been impossible with stop-motion.
The animation is terrific throughout, whether in the wealth of background detail (jam-packed with gags you'll need a second viewing to catch properly) or the exciting action sequences, particularly a nail-biting riverboat chase.
Jackman and Winslet make a superb pair of leads, but the show is roundly stolen by the frog contingent. McKellen's evil laugh is wonderful and he relishes every line, whilst Jean Reno is hilarious as the deadly Le Frog.
If there's one thing you can count on with Aardman it's a high gag rate and Flushed Away doesn't disappoint. The jokes come thick and fast in both verbal and visual form, so you're never more than a few seconds away from a decent laugh.
A treat for adults and children alike. Highly recommended.