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Flushed Away


Stars: (Voices): Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Bill Nighy, Andy Serkis, Shane Richie

Director: David Bowers, Sam Fell

There can't be many cartoon adventures in which the hero is a rat. OK, I can't think of any. But then Roddy St James (Jackman) is a very upper-class rat (though not a particularly exciting character) who lives in a big golden cage at a Georgian residence in Kensington.

While his family is away, Roddy's world is invaded by Sid (Richie), a sewer rat who says rude things like 'I've got a bum like a Japanese flag', and turns the tables on Roddy when the refined rodent tries to flush him down the loo.

It's Roddy instead who's swept down to the sewers, where he meets girl rat Rita (Winslet) on her rustbucket boat The Jammy Dodger. Rita has a ruby coveted by local big shot Great Great Toad (McKellen), who has plans to open the floodgates and populate the sewers with thousands of toads instead of the drowned rats.

When Rita steals a metal chain vital to his plans, Toad dispenses with his usual hit-men and calls in Le Frog (Reno), who never fails...

Although computer-generated rather than stop-motion, this bears the distinctive mark of Aardman Films, in that the toothy rats all look vaguely like Wallace, and there are dozens of little jokes going on in the background.

Lots of very small creatures (bugs, slugs and the like) pop up as a sort of Greek chorus, but the film isn't such consistent fun to be with as Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run, despite a riotous last 10 minutes.

Most amusing characters are Le Frog and his gang. 'We leave immediately!' he orders his minions. 'But,' protests one, 'what about dinner?' 'Ah,' sighs Le Frog, 'we leave in five hours.'

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2006. UK Distributor: UIP/DreamWorks. Technicolor.
84 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Nov 2006