Big day for my daughters — Flushed Away finally gets released on DVD. This marks the first movie they have waited for with breathless anticipation. I'm sure we'll benefit as a family from multiple viewings of the movie. Long-distance relatives may now consider themselves forewarned: should they visit within the next trimester they will be required to sit down and watch this film, in hopes of getting a pleasant glimpse into the souls of their two nieces/granddaughters, ages eight and ten.
In fact, that shouldn't prove to be an ordeal: I thoroughly enjoyed Flushed Away when we saw it on the big screen. Just past the halfway mark, there's a scene involving a French mime (he's a frog, of course) and a cell-phone that got me roaring with laughter — a prodigious feat for a film these days. But then Flushed Away had me primed: I'd already been giggling through most of it by the time the mime stalked on-screen with heinous intent.
The last two years have been a fallow period for those of us in need of family fare. That Narnia film was alright (but then, I'm a sucker for anything with Tilda Swinton in it. If that doesn't yet describe you, rent The Deep End and see if things don't change). Shrek 2 was excellent, but suffered because it couldn't possibly surprise and delight to the same degree as the first film. There were a half-dozen fish-out-of-water films about animals in the wild, or the suburbs, or the wild, or the zoo, or the wild ... I kinda lost track of which was which. And I don't recall laughing at any of them. As for the usually above-excellent Pixar, the less said about last summer's dreary HotWheels flick, the better. No, if I had to rate Flushed Away, I'd say it was the best animated feature since Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
I'd say Curse of the Were-Rabbit is clearly superior to Flushed Away, but my daughters won't hear of it. Curse is a “dividing line” in our family: the grown-ups love it, the girls ... well, it was alright the first time, but they had no desire to see it a second time. Flushed Away, on the other hand, has got legs to it. The plucky heroine certainly gives it appeal (especially when the voice is supplied by Kate Winslett — an actress who can get me to forgive her anything). The toilet humor obviously has enormous (ahem) cache with kids in that age bracket. And the film uses The Dandy Warhols' “Bohemian Like You” to exhiliarating effect.
If you want girls to enjoy a movie, a peppy soundtrack never hurts. And in the case of our family, the grown-ups are anticipating the Flushed Away DVD for reasons of their own: we're hoping and praying it will usurp the reigning DVD of choice, High School Musical (h/t to TLD for that last link).