|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Box office||$178 million|
Flushed Away is a 2006 computer-animated adventure comedy film directed by David Bowers and Sam Fell, produced by Cecil Kramer, David Sproxton, and Peter Lord, and written by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Chris Lloyd, Joe Keenan and Will Davies. It was the third and final DreamWorks Animation film co-produced with Aardman Animations following Chicken Run (2000) and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), and was the first Aardman project completely made in computer animation as opposed to their usual stop-motion standard. The film stars the voices of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen, Shane Richie and Jean Reno. In Flushed Away, a pet rat named Roddy St. James is flushed down the toilet by Sid, a sewer rat, and befriends a scavenger named Rita in order to return the apartment while evading a power-hungry toad and his rat henchmen.
The film was released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on 3 November 2006, and in the United Kingdom on 1 December 2006. Despite receiving positive reviews, Flushed Away underperformed at the box office, prompting DreamWorks to end their partnership with Aardman. The film received nominations for the BAFTA Award and Critics' Choice Award for Best Animated Feature. It also got 8 nominations at the 34th Annie Awards, winning a leading 5, including Writing in a Feature Production, and Voice Acting in a Feature Production.
Roddy St. James is an upper class pet rat who makes his home in a posh Kensington apartment. While his owners are gone on holiday, a common sewer rat named Sid 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 toilet, but the latter is not fooled. Instead, Sid pushes Roddy in and flushes him away into the sewers.
Roddy finds himself in Ratropolis, a city made out of various bits of junk that resembles London, and meets Rita Malone, an enterprising scavenger rat who works the drains in her faithful boat, the Jammy Dodger. Rita is irritated by Roddy initially but ends up taking him along. Her archenemy the Toad sends his rat henchmen, Spike and Whitey, after her for stealing back her father's prized ruby. The Toad loathes all rodents, and plans to have Roddy and Rita frozen with liquid nitrogen. The pair escape and Rita takes a unique electrical cable that is required to control the drain's floodgates.
Roddy discovers that the ruby is a fake and breaks it in front of Rita. Furious, Rita tries to fight Roddy, but eventually calms down and explains that she is only angry because her father (quite literally) broke every bone in his body trying to obtain it just for her only for her to find out about its worthlessness. Roddy offers Rita a real ruby if she takes him back to Kensington, to which she agrees, and 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 is selling him to the Toad, so he reneges on the deal and steals the Jammy Dodger. When Rita catches up to him, she is able to clear up the misunderstanding. The pair evade pursuit from Spike, Whitey, and their accomplices, and incensed at his minions' repeated failures, the Toad sends for his French cousin, known as Le Frog. It is revealed that the Toad was Prince Charles' favorite childhood pet until he was abruptly replaced by a pet rat and subsequently flushed down a toilet, resulting in his hatred of rodents. Le Frog and his subordinates intercept Roddy and Rita to retrieve the cable, but the duo manages to escape out of the drain and back to Roddy's apartment, though the Jammy Dodger is destroyed.
Roddy pays Rita the promised ruby and an emerald then shows her around his house. She at first believes he has family in the home, but notices his cage and realizes he is a pet. Rita tries to persuade Roddy to come with her, but he is too proud to admit that he is lonely. She leaves, 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. As a result, a great wave of sewage will form and flood Ratropolis, allowing the Toad to use the depopulated city as a home for his tadpole children. Roddy entrusts Sid with his home and cushy position, and has Sid flush him back down the sewers. He frees Rita, and together they defeat the Toad and his henchmen and freeze the wave of sewage with his liquid nitrogen. Roddy later joins Rita as a first mate of the Jammy Dodger II. As they set off in the new boat, Le Frog and his hench-frogs are seen hitchhiking back to Paris, France. In a mid-credits scene, Roddy's former owner Tabitha brings a new pet cat to surprise him, much to Sid's horror, who was enjoying the luxuries in Roddy's apartment.
- Hugh Jackman as Roderick "Roddy" St. James, a pampered but lonely pet rat living in a Kensington apartment with a wealthy British family. He is flushed down the toilet by Sid into the sewers.
- Kate Winslet as Rita Malone, a street-wise and rather mean-spirited scavenger rat and the oldest child of a large family. She is the captain of The Jammy Dodger and Roddy's close love interest.
- Ian McKellen as the Toad, a proud amphibian wanting the entire population of Ratropolis to be killed off so he can make room for his hundreds of offspring. For his performance, McKellen won the Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production.
- Jean Reno as Le Frog, the Toad's French cousin. He refers to the Toad as "my warty English cousin". He masters martial arts and is the leader of a team of hench-frogs.
- Andy Serkis as Spike, one of the Toad's two top hench-rats. He is the quicker-witted and more aggressive of the two.
- Bill Nighy as Whitey, another of the Toad's two top hench-rats. Whitey is an albino rat, and Spike's partner. Unlike Spike, Whitey is sympathetic and less vicious but is also ignorant and gullible.
- Shane Richie as Sid, an over-weight and lazy pet mouse from the sewers. He is an acquaintance of Rita and her family, and the one who flushed Roddy down the toilet into the sewers.
- Kathy Burke and David Suchet as Mr. and Mrs. Malone, Rita's parents
- Miriam Margolyes as Rita's grandmother, who has a crush on Roddy mistaking him for Tom Jones.
- Rachel Rawlinson as Tabitha, Roddy's human owner.
- Christopher Fairbank as Thimblenose Ted, another henchman that serves the Toad's third-best enforcer after Spike and Whitey. Fairbank also voiced the cockroach living in the Malone household.
The idea for a film about rats that fall in love in sewers was proposed by animator Sam Fell during the production of Aardman Animation's Chicken Run (2000). At the time, Aardman encouraged everyone at the company to come up with ideas for features for the DreamWorks partnership. In 2001, Fell, development executive Mike Cooper, and producer Peter Lord then developed the concept into a story before pitching it to DreamWorks. The film was first announced in July 2002, and in what was then a surprise move, it was revealed as being Aardman's very first CGI feature project. Lord described the pitch as "The African Queen with the gender roles reversed". After the film was announced, Comic writing duo Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais were contracted to write the script, which had the working title Ratropolis. In 2003, David Bowers joined in to direct the film with Fell.
Traditionally, Aardman has 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. This is the third and final 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.
|1.||"Be Seeing You My Friend"||3:49|
|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|
Flushed Away was released on DVD February 20, 2007. It included behind the scenes, deleted info, Jammy Dodger videos and all new slug songs. It was released in the UK on April 2, 2007, where it was also packaged with a plasticine 'Slug Farm' kit. The film was released on Blu-ray by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on 4 June 2019.
Flushed Away has an approval rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an average rating of 6.70/10, based on 138 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads "Clever and appealing for both children and adults, Flushed Away marks a successful entry into digitally animated features for Aardman Animations." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 74 out of 100 based on 28 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Todd McCarthy of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying "As directed by David Bowers and Sam Fell, first-time feature helmers with long-term Aardman affiliations, the film boasts undeniably smart and eye-catching qualities that are significantly diluted by the relentlessly frantic and overbearing behavior of most characters; someone is always loudly imposing himself upon another, to diminishing returns of enjoyment." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, saying "Flushed Away lacks the action-contraption dottiness of a Wallace and Gromit adventure, but it hits its own sweet spot of demented delight." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying "It's better than 90% of the animated fare of the last few years. It's refreshing not to have to qualify the movie's appeal by appending the words, 'for the kids'." Jan Stuart of Newsday gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Despite the efforts of five writers and Aardman's trademark puppets, with their malleable eyebrows and cheeks bulging like those of a mumps sufferer, none of these characters are particularly endearing." Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film a positive review, saying "Flushed Away, Aardman's first computer-generated cartoon, does away with the clay but leaves the craft and emotion intact, resulting in a film that earns its place among the Aardman classics." Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film three out of four stars, saying "The short attention spans of directors David Bowers and Sam Fell are mostly forgivable because the movie is filled with so many entertaining characters."
Richard Corliss of Time gave the film a negative review, saying "Deficient in the comedy of reticence discouragement that is Aardman's (or maybe just Nick Park's) unique strength. I don't want to say the Englishmen were corrupted, but I think they allowed their strongest, quirkiest instincts to be tethered." Ted Fry of The Seattle Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "Fans of Wallace and Gromit may be puzzled by a visual disconnect in Flushed Away. They will certainly, however, be delighted by the unrelenting whimsy and fast-paced gags of a story that never slows down to think about where it's going next." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "Kids will probably be in stinky-sewage heaven with the new computer-animated critter comedy Flushed Away, but even they may realize they're up the proverbial creek in a boat with a faulty motor." Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Though Flushed Away duplicates the stop-motion, clay animation look of Aardman's earlier Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, it was made using computer software and its liberated action sequences are truly dazzling." Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying "How this thing got made in Hollywood is a mystery, but I laughed at most of it, especially the mean stereotypes about the French and the even meaner stereotype about England's soccer team."
Flushed Away collected $64.6 million in the United States, which was below the average of other CGI films from DreamWorks Animation, and $113.6 million from international markets for a worldwide total of $178.2 million, making it the 24th highest grossing film of 2006, and the sixth Highest-Grossing Animated film of 2006. The film opened to number three in its first weekend, with $18,814,323, behind Borat and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Produced on a budget of $149 million, poor box office reception resulted in a $109-million write-down for DreamWorks Animation, and in turn a termination of the partnership with Aardman Animations.
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.
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