This is the comedy which has toilet jokes which are suitable for all!
Aardman Studios in Bristol have built up a fine reputation, let along a host of Oscars, for their stop-motion animation features and shorts, the most famous and popular of which are stories of Wallace and Gromit. The Aardman powers that be decided that they would like to do a computergraphic images film rather than use their plasticine, a film with vaster scope, sets and characters than they could do with their usual techniques. They went into partnership with DreamWorks Animation Studios in California and the end result is a British, very British in plot, characters and style, done with American know-how. They have assembled a fine voice cast led by Hugh Hackman, Kate Winslett and Ian McKellen.
Roddy St James (Hugh Jackman) is an aristocratic rat who lives in grand style in London's Kensington. While the family is on holidays, he roams the house freely enjoying games with toys standing in for friends. When loudmouthed Sid (Shane Ritchie) suddenly explodes through the toilet, Roddy's plan to flush him away backfires and it is Roddy who ends up through the sewers into a London he has never seen or known about. It is World Cup final time, England vs Germany (and the screenplay has some amusing shots at the Brits as well as US tourists in Piccadilly Circus making loud comments about the British not knowing how to play football).
Roddy encounters Rita (Kate Winslett) on her boat and with single-handed mishaps destroys it. He meets her family and discovers she is on a mission to save London from an aristocratic boorish toad (Ian McKellen, with Bill Nighy and Andy Serkis has henchtoads) and his snobbish French cousin (Jean Reno).
Will Roddy and Rita be able to save the day? With lots of twists and turns, with Roddy having to admit to Rita that he is lonely,, and with some daredevil stuntery to defeat the toads, all is well.
There is plenty to entertain (even the ads in Piccadilly circus) audiences both old and young. The plot is a familiar one but it highlights some sound messages. The screenplay is witty and the voicing first-rate.
Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.