Nightmarish Detour: SMALLFOOT (2018)

SMALLFOOT is the latest film from director/writer Karey Kirkpatrick (Imagine That) and Jason Reisig, in his first directorial debut, where Bigfoot’s come in contact with the urban legend’s of Smallfoot, aka humans. The film stars Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), James Corden (Into the Woods), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming), and Common (Suicide Squad).

SMALLFOOT is an animated adventure that flips the Bigfoot narrative on its head when a young Yeti named Migo (Channing Tatum) discover the existence of humans. Upon his discovery, Migo immediately returns to his Yeti village to spread the news that “smallfoots” exists; however, when the Stonekeeper (Common) banishes him for questioning the prophecy that indicates smallfoots don’t exist, it’s up to Migo and a group of Yeti outsiders to find the location of the smallfoot and bring him back as proof. What unfolds is a story about friendship, courage, and individuality that will leave you smiling long after the film ends.

As someone who has a fascination with cryptozoology, I loved the idea that this film was focusing on humans being the mythical creature and not Bigfoot. Diving in even deeper than that, the film as a whole really is about individuality and the freedom to openly question ideas. I’ve been struggling with deciding how I wanted to write this review because on one hand, it’s a cute animated feature that kids will definitely enjoy and love, but on the other hand, there are major themes pertaining to authority, racism, and beliefs that I think a lot of adults will be able to relate to. With that said, I do think it was interesting to have a film that encapsulated both an enjoyable animated film for children as well as one that is topical to events that are going on in the world.

As a huge fan of the art of animation, I really liked the overall look and feel of SMALLFOOT. Though my heart will always belong to Pixar, I think Warner Animation Group did a fantastic job of creating a Yeti creature that resembled the familiarity of Bigfoot while still adding their own unique touch. I also really appreciated how not all of the Bigfoot’s looked the same – some were tall, some were fat, some were skinny, some were purple, some were white, some were yellow, some were blue, the list goes on. Colors were another huge factor in the film outside of how the Yeti’s looked, especially when we saw where the “smallfoots” lived. Though the film as a whole relies on a blue tint to give the movie that feeling of being in a cold environment, I really liked when we got to where the townsfolk lived so that we could see all the neon colors come to life.

My biggest takeaway from this film, other than thinking it was cute and relating way too hard to one of the goat characters, was that we should always be comfortable questioning our beliefs – whether it be religious, authoritarian, etc. I know this topic is a bit heavy for a review of a kid’s film but I think it’s important to bring up because it’s so blatantly exposed in the film. I’m not saying we should break down into total anarchy, but I think it’s healthy to be able to question ideas and live in a world where we have that freedom. The biggest challenge that these Yeti’s face is that all the prophecy’s in which they are to follow are transcribed on stone to be dealt with by the Stonekeeper. Though we learn that his reason for making certain decisions was based off of trying to do the right thing for his community, it showed that the harder you try to institute a way of life that is based off of secrets and lies, the bigger the impact it has on the community at large.

Overall, SMALLFOOT was a fun-filled adventure that will be enjoyable for kids and adults while still tackling topical issues that are prevalent in today’s society. As I mentioned before, I loved that the legend of Bigfoot was swapped so that we could see it through the eyes of the Yeti. I also enjoyed how the story showcased the Yeti’s and humans learning how to communicate with each other due to not speaking the same language. In the end, there is a lot to enjoy with SMALLFOOT, and even if you don’t want to dive into the more deeper themes of the movies, it’s a film that you can easily turn your brain off and enjoy with the family. SMALLFOOT opens in theaters Friday, September 28, 2018.

Migo voiced by Channing Tatum in the new animated adventure SMALLFOOT, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group | Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Shannon McGrew
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