Flushed Away

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Flushed Away
Flushed poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Bowers
Sam Fell
Produced by Cecil Kramer
David Sproxton
Peter Lord
Written by Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Simon Nye
Starring Hugh Jackman
Kate Winslet
Ian McKellen
Music by Harry Gregson Williams
Edited by Eric Dapkewicz
John Venzon
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • 3 November 2006 (2006-11-03) (US)
  • 1 December 2006 (2006-12-01) (UK)
Running time 85 mins
Country United Kingdom
United States
Budget $149 million
Box office $178,120,010[1]

Flushed Away is a 2006 British/American computer animated action/adventure comedy film directed by David Bowers and Sam Fell. It was made in the partnership between Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Animation, and is Aardman's first completely computer-animated feature as opposed to the usual stop-motion.[2]

The film stars the voice talents of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen, Shane Richie and Jean Reno. The story was by Sam Fell, Peter Lord, Dick Clement, and Ian La Frenais, and the screenplay was written by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Christopher Lloyd, Joe Keenan, and William Davies.

The film was released in US on 3 November 2006, and in UK on 1 December 2006, and was distributed by Paramount Pictures, except for Switzerland, Spain, and the Netherlands, which were handled by Universal Pictures.

Plot

Roddy St. James (Hugh Jackman) is a decidedly upper crust pet rat who makes his home in a posh Kensington flat. While his owners are away on holiday Roddy plays around the house. A common sewer rat named Sid (Shane Richie) comes spewing out of the sink and decides to stay, especially as England are playing against Germany in the World Cup final. Roddy schemes to get rid of Sid by luring him into the "jacuzzi", which is actually the toilet. Sid isn't fooled at all and instead pushes Roddy in and flushes him away into the sewer. There, Roddy discovers a city resembling London made out of various bits of junk, and meets Rita Malone (Kate Winslet), an enterprising scavenger rat who works the drains in her faithful boat, the Jammy Dodger. Rita does not like Roddy initially, but ends up taking him along, while her arch enemy The Toad (Ian McKellen) sends his rat henchmen, Spike (Andy Serkis) and Whitey (Bill Nighy), after her because she had stolen back her father's prized ruby a long time ago. The Toad despises all rodents to the point of hateful obsession. He plans to have them frozen with liquid nitrogen inside an icemaker. The pair escape, and Rita takes a unique electrical cable that, unknown to everyone but the Toad, is required to control the floodgates.

Roddy (right) and Rita (left) arguing over the ruby.

Roddy finds that the ruby is a fake and breaks it in front of Rita, enraging her, for she can now not get the money she needs for her large family. Roddy offers her a real ruby if she takes him back to Kensington. Accepting the offer, the pair first stop to visit her family before setting off. During Roddy's stay, he overhears a conversation that causes him to think that Rita had double-crossed him, so he steals the Jammy Dodger. When Rita catches up to him, she is able to clear up the misunderstanding. The pair evade Spike and Whitey pursuing in a remote-controlled toy boat, with Thimblenose Ted and others on eggbeater jet skis. During this scene, Roddy and Rita share a quick love moment. Incensed at his minions’ repeated failures, The Toad sends for his French cousin; an infamous, if somewhat laid back, mercenary known as Le Frog (Jean Reno). During this scene, it is revealed that The Toad was once Prince Charles' pet, but was replaced by a pet rat, and subsequently flushed down a toilet. Le Frog and his subordinates intercept the duo and retrieve the cable, but Roddy and Rita use a plastic bag to lift themselves out of the sewer (snatching away the cable during the ascent) and get Roddy home, though the Jammy Dodger is destroyed.

Back home, Roddy pays Rita the promised ruby and an emerald, then proceeds to show her around his house. She at first believes he has family in the home, but noticing his cage, she realises he's a pet. Roddy tries to pass Sid off as his brother, but Sid and Rita know each other. Rita tries to persuade Roddy to come with her, but he is too proud to admit that he is lonely. By now, they have fallen in love but have not told each other their feelings. She departs, both of them broken-hearted, but is soon captured by The Toad. Talking to Sid about half-time, Roddy pieces together The Toad's plan: to open the gates during halftime of the World Cup, when all the humans will most likely be using their toilets, causing a great flood and drowning the rats and their underground city in sewage. He can then use the depopulated city as a home for his own tadpole offspring. He gives Sid his cushy position and has him flush him back to the sewers to find Rita and save the city. Together, they defeat The Toad and freeze the wave of sewage generated by the flushing of countless toilets during half-time with liquid nitrogen before it drowns the entire rat population.

Rita and Roddy build the Jammy Dodger Mark Two and set off in her with Rita's entire brood. A newspaper article reveals England had lost on penalties. Later while the credits start, Roddy's former owner Tabitha comes back with a new pet cat, which scares Sid.

Voice Cast

  • Hugh Jackman as Roderick "Roddy" St. James – A lonely pampered pet mouse living in a Kensington apartment with a wealthy English family who is flushed down the toilet by Sid into the sewers.
  • Kate Winslet as Rita Malone. A street smart scavenger rat and the oldest child of a large family. She is the captain of The Jammy Dodger.
  • Ian McKellen as The Toad. A big, pompous amphibian wanting the entire rat population to be killed off so he can make room for his hundreds of offspring.
  • Jean Reno as Le Frog. The Toad's French cousin. He masters martial arts and is the leader of a team of hench-frogs.
  • Andy Serkis as Spike, one of the Toad's top two hench-rats. Being the Toad's hench-rat is Spike's first job, despite him being only a teenager. He is the smarter of the two.
  • Bill Nighy as Whitey, another of the Toad's top two hench-rats. Whitey is an albino rat, once working in a lab and he is Spike's partner. Unlike Spike, Whitey is gentle and less violent, but is also rather slow-witted and dumb.
  • Shane Richie as Sid, an over-weight and lazy rat from the sewers. He is an acquaintance of Rita and her family and the one who flushed Roddy down the toilet into the sewers.

Production

The film's original concept involved pirates, and was pitched to DreamWorks soon after the release of Chicken Run in 2000. However, Aardman were told that there was no market for pirate films (this was before Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released to great success in 2003), and were told to modernise the concept. By the time the rewrite was done, the project had to be postponed to make way for the production of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; it was finally released after not only the original Pirates of the Caribbean, but also its first sequel.

The film's working title was Ratropolis, but it was changed due to its similarity to Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille. In Spain, the movie was released as Ratónpolis (ratón is Spanish for "mouse"). The Latin-American title for the film was Lo que el agua se llevó ("Gone with the Water"), a pun on Gone with the Wind.

Traditionally, Aardman have used stop-motion for their animated features, but it is complex to render water with this technique, and using real water can damage plasticine models. It would have been expensive to composite CGI into shots that include water, of which there are many in the movie, so they chose to make Flushed Away their first all-CGI production.[3] The characters still resemble Aardman's classic characters, as the designs were taken straight from the original plasticine models. Several techniques were employed to give the impression of stop-motion animation, such as using replacement mouths for lip-synch rather than the interpolation typically seen in computer animation.

The film underwent many changes and versions, resulting in an inflated budget. For example, Roddy originally had two hamster manservants named Gilbert and Sullivan that were featured heavily in early trailers.

This is the third of three Aardman-produced films released by DreamWorks. Aardman's experience with DreamWorks during the making of the film led to a split between the two studios.[4]

Marketing

Soundtrack

On Halloween (31 October) of 2006, the Flushed Away: Music from the Motion Picture soundtrack was released.[5]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Be Seeing You My Friend"     0:04
2. "Dancing with Myself"   Billy Idol 4:49
3. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"   Jet 3:34
4. "She's a Lady"   Tom Jones 2:54
5. "Ice Cold Rita"   Hugh Jackman & The Slugs 0:44
6. "Bohemian Like You"   The Dandy Warhols 3:32
7. "Marcel / That's Not Rice You're Eating"   Harry Gregson-Williams & The Slugs 0:55
8. "What's New Pussycat?"   Tom Jones 2:17
9. "Yakety Sax"   Boots Randolph 2:01
10. "Mr. Lonely"   The Slugs 0:27
11. "Don't Worry, Be Happy (with The Slugs intro)"   Bobby McFerrin 4:22
12. "Proud Mary"   Tina Turner 5:25
13. "Wonderful Night"   Fatboy Slim 2:37
14. "Life in the Sewer"   Harry Gregson-Williams 4:40
15. "Beware...Beware"   The Slugs 0:35
Total length:
36:16

Video game

Coinciding with the film's release, a video game adaptation was released on the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and on the Nintendo DS. Although having heavily negative reviews from critics, the game received an Annie Award for best animated video game.[6]

Home video release

Flushed Away was released on DVD 20 February 2007. It included behind the scenes, deleted info, Jammy Dodger videos and all new slug songs.[7] It was released in the UK on 2 April 2007,[8] where it was also packaged with a plasticine 'Slug Farm' kit.[9]

Reception

Critical response

Flushed Away has a 72% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 6.7/10 based on 130 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads "Clever and appealing for both children and adults, Flushed Away marks a successful entry into digital animated features for Aardman Animations."[10] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 74, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[11] James Verniere of the Boston Herald said: "Without doubt the worst title of the year, Flushed Away is also the best animated film of the year, and if you didn't think it was possible for slugs to be funny, think again."[12]

Box office

Flushed Away collected $64,488,856 in the United States, which was below the average of other CGI films from DreamWorks Animation, but $111,814,663 from international markets for a worldwide total of $176,319,242.[1] Produced on a budget of $149 million, poor box office reception resulted in a $109-million write-down for DreamWorks Animation,[13] and in a termination of the partnership with Aardman Animations.[14]

References

  1. ^ a b "Flushed Away". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Hornaday, Ann (3 November 2006). "Aardman Saves the Clay in Brilliant 'Flushed Away'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "First look at Aardman's rat movie". BBC News Online (BBC). 16 February 2006. 
  4. ^ M. Holson, Laura (3 October 2006). "Is Th–Th-That All, Folks?". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Flushed Away (Soundtrack)". Amazon. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Legacy: 34th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2006)". The Annie Awards. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  7. ^ McCutcheon, David (5 January 2007). "Flushed Away Drenches DVD". IGN. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Gould, Chris (27 March 2007). "Flushed Away (UK – DVD R2)". DVDActive. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Flushed Away (with Slug Farm Kit)". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Flushed Away (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Flushed Away". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Verniere, James (5 December 2006). "‘Flushed’ with success". Wicked Local. Retrieved 17 March 2006. 
  13. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (February 28, 2007). "DreamWorks reports loss of $21.3 million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ Fixmer, Andy (February 27, 2007). "DreamWorks Reports Loss on `Flushed Away' Writedown (Update5)". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 

External links