Tag Archives: James Corden

Smallfoot (2018) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Smallfoot

Directors: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig (co-director)
Writers: Karey Kirkpatrick (screenplay by), Clare Sera (screenplay by)
Stars: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, Danny DeVito

Smallfoot is an animated film by Warner Bros (Warner Animation Group’s 5th feature film)  that is about a Yeti named Migo (Tatum) who is convinced that the elusive creatures known as “humans” really do exist and must prove of their existence to his Yeti Tribe. Set at the top of the mountains the tribe live their life in isolation keeping with their traditions of observing and obeying their beliefs which are set in stone, Migo after witnessing a “Smallfoot” goes against his people and beliefs that there is no such thing and is banished as an outsider by the tribe and the Stonekeeper (Common). To prove to his people Migo sets out on a quest to prove the existence and once again be accepted by his community with the help of his friend Meechee (Zendaya) and the S.E.S (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society)

While this is all happening we are introduced to the Smallfoots….oh wait, I mean the Humans and their side of the story. Enter Percy (Corden) who along with his television crew and looking for their next big news story. Percy is kind of like the Steve Irwin of his times. His interest and care into wildlife with integrity is what captured the publics imagination of him and his shows, but with failing viewers now, Percy comes up with a plan to trick the audience into thinking he comes across a Yeti (His colleague Brenda played by Yara Shahidi dressing up as a Yeti) and is convinced this will spiral him back in the big time.

This is where both civilisations meet accidentally and I have to admit I thought Percy was going to be the villain of the movie or at a stretch, be the one who captures or exposes the Yetis to the Humans and maybe have some kind of moral dilemma at the films peak. Unfortunately there isn’t really a villain here. Smallfoot is more about acceptance and tolerance and to be fair I think Kirkpatrick and Sera get there message across without it being too taxing or forced. The story is also interesting enough as things unfold the tribe and the Storekeeper have been keeping a few things back from their people in regards to humans which I will keep spoiler free.

Tatum now in his fourth animated film after The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie and The Book of Life is good as the main character Migo. The character is likeable and Tatum delivers the lines to suit the characterises of a vulnerable Yeti seeking acceptance by his people and the humans. Some of the scenes with his father played by Danny Devito are well written and gives us an inside into the working minds of the Yeti Tribe and the conflict in their beliefs.

Corden as Percy is just James Corden and what he does best. Like him or not, he has the enthusiastic zing to carry his characters in animated films. Look at his work in Trolls or the Emoji Movie. Not exactly amazing films, but he leaves his presence and he does this here again. Setting up Percy in those early stages of the story could have gone another way and I’m sure Corden would have done well in portraying him as a villain, but credit where it is due, he equally carries the human aspect of the story through the character and for once doesn’t take over the screen.

Zendaya like Corden manages to add energy into her character of Meechee. There are hints of Anna Kendrick’s Poppy from Trolls in her delivery and this is due to the characters optimism over her beliefs of Human Existence. Zendaya’s Meechee is also the daughter of the Stonekeeper, so there is conflict between them and a strained relationship.

From a filming point of view I liked the look and feel to the film. Yes it is self contained in two settings, that of the mountain top and the city below, but it looks stunning and the CG animation looks great in its backdrop and characters. I also loved the communication technique the filmmakers went with in how both Yeti and Human hear each other (to each other, not the audience members) From the Yeti perspective we hear the humans are squeaking high-pitched beings and from the human point of view we experience that the Yetis are all growls and roars. Thankfully this little trick isn’t overused and I can confidently say that you will get a little laugh out of that technique.

Overall, Smallfoot is a delightful animated film that comes in at 1 hour and 36 minutes. I’m telling you that, the time will fly in as the story is compelling and the characters are relatable and likeable. It is about understanding and acceptance and if you have a young family I would recommend taking them along as the kids will enjoy it. Recommended.

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The Emoji Movie (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

EMOJI MOVIE

Director: Tony Leondis
Writers: Tony Leondis (screenplay), Eric Siegel (screenplay)
Stars: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris

I normally avoid other reviews when I go to see either a family orientated film or a flat out kids movie. In the case of “The Emoji Movie” I did just that. The reason for this is that having adults reviewing their experience in a movie aimed at a specific age range can sometimes appear a little biased or misinterpreted. Having taken my 4 year old daughter and my 8 year old nephew I felt coming out of the theatre that “The Emoji Movie” was specifically for this age range unfortunately.

Gene, a multi-expressional emoji, sets out on a journey to become a normal emoji……yes that is it as far as plot goes. Based on the world of a mobile phone and their apps it was fairly obvious that this movie would be filled with product placement and in this day in age it is something that just has to be accepted as part of the “business”

Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller) is accompanied by an unlikely friend in Hi-5 (voiced by James Corden) and rebellious emoji Jailbreak (voiced by Anna Faris) on a journey through various apps in search of becoming a “Meh” faced emoji to fit into his world and also be accepted by his “Meh” parents. Sound Terrible so far?

Well to be honest the problem with this movie is a 4 year old or 8 year old you can accept that the movie looks great and the characters are part of popular culture and easy identified for the rest of us the story is undeveloped and doesn’t have any sub plots or any sense. The question I kept asking myself was “why do they have to go through life threatening apps (Sing Loud etc) to get to their destination?” followed with “Why don’t they just walk around the apps?”

Well the simple answer to that is there isn’t a story there if they do that, but that only highlights the shallowness of the plot in the first place. “The Emoji Movie” i feel is “cashing” on said “Pop Culture” but in all honesty could have served up so much more that would have taken the focus off the negatives of lack of substance and product placement.

James Corden, who I never had much time for as an entertainer actually is the best thing in the movie as he attempts to bring life to his character and you can sense is doing his best to add something to the movie. T.J. Miller and Anna Faris on the other hand actually succeed in becoming the new Mr and Mrs “Meh as it appears they are just going through the motions.

In the last year or so I have sat through “Trolls” and “Secret Life of Pets” and actually thought they were entertaining and have some memorable scenes with a nice soundtrack. “The Emoji Movie” off the top of my head had two songs and that’s your whack. I was even disappointed that they didn’t use “Don’t Bring Me Down by E.L.O.” Which they used to promote the movie in the first place.

In summary and as far as a family summer movie “The Emoji Movie” falls at the first hurdle if you are seeking an all round good film. For the kids, they will enjoy it for it being the in thing just now but will easily forget about it in a years time. Disappointingly Average.