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Movie Review

Flushed Away

MPAA Rating: PG for crude humor and some language.

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Animation, Comedy, Family
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 3, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, DreamWorks
Copyright, DreamWorks
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Copyright, DreamWorks
Copyright, DreamWorks
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Featuring: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Kate Winslet, Bill Nighy, Simon Callow, Geoffrey Palmer, Shane Richie
Director: Sam Fell, David Bowers
Producer: Peter Lord, Cecil Kramer, David Sproxton
Distributor: DreamWorks

“Someone’s Going Down”

The resurrection of animated movies has too often been accompanied by the intrusion of toilet humor. Now comes a movie that takes toilet humor a bit literally. “Flushed Away” is an animated comedy about a rat who is flushed down a toilet into the world of the sewers.

The film advertises itself as being from the creators of “Shrek” and “Madagascar,” although it is more honestly from the creators of “Wallace and Gromit.” This is their first film to utilize CGI rather than their trademark claymation. Rumors claim that the film was originally written for pirates, but that the studios insisted no one would pay to see pirates (“Pirates of the Caribbean” had not yet come out). Consequently, they were forced to rewrite the story. It does seem apparent, however, that pirates were originally intended, and one becomes very curious what the movie would have been like had they stayed true to the original story.

In either case, “Flushed Away” is an enjoyable diversion that ranks as one of the better animated films from this year, although behind movies like “Cars,” “Over the Hedge,” and “Hoodwinked.”

Starring the voices of Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet, Roddy, the rat, must embark on a journey from the sewers back to his plush home in Kennsington, England. Along the way, he meets up with a girl rat and becomes embroiled in the plans of an evil toad out to destroy rathood.

Morally, the title itself should serve as warning as to the humor, but it is, in fact, not as bad as anticipated and far more clean than recent animated films like “Open Season” which pushed the limits of good taste. In “Flushed Away” there are scenes where rats spit on their hands, make disgusting noises, one passes gas, and eats slugs. There is no language that I heard, but parents should be aware that there is an ample supply of comic violence in the style of Bugs Bunny. Another criticism might be the appearance of a “doomsayer” who predicts the end of the world. With these objections in mind, and an awareness of children’s impressionability, “Flushed Away” was actually much better morally than I was expecting.

On a cinematic level, the movie will best appeal to fans of English humor, for it is a distinctly English comedy. In fact, Americans may miss some of the jokes, unless they watch a lot of “Monty Python.” Of course, that unique sense of humor may also be part of its appeal, for it differs from the humor we traditionally see. No doubt fans of “Wallace and Gromit” will love it. Roddy and his girlfriend make for good lead characters, and the villains poke fun at various elements of pop culture, as well as some well deserved slaps at the French. Musically inclined slugs follow our heroes throughout the story, and they evade French assassin frogs, save rathood from a massive flood, and sail up the sewer in a pirateship (oh, sorry, ratship).

The only real drawback to the movie is that it lacks any real message or moral for young children. There are no spiritual lessons to be learned, and the only seeming message is that everyone needs a family. Unfortunately, this theme is never really played out. Roddy finds out that he is lonely and decides to exchange his life of luxury for a family life, and yet the decision seems to completely lack emotion or feeling. Still, one can’t expect a truly moving experience from a movie entitled “Flushed Away.” Ultimately, it proves to be the equivalent of an hour and a half Bugs Bunny episode; fun, diverting, and entertaining.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—Saw “Flushed Away” with my husband and 10-year old son on opening night. Loved it! Better than most kid’s movies out there. When it comes to cartoon-ish style flicks, I usually go along and struggle through the boring plot, lame characters, and silly music. But this film actually had me laughing out loud, singing along to some familiar favorites, and enjoying the incredible graphics. Nothing offensive, low-level bathroom humor, and a good message at the end. Perfect for all ages …even the folks.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Diana O, age 37
Positive—I went to see this film not expecting too much, and I was wow’ed. The trailers didn’t do the movie any justice. It was hilarious. My best friend and I laughed so hard our faces and throats started to hurt. Granted, there is some bathroom humor, such as particularly loud and long belches and a sequence where the mouse, Rodney, took several blows to the crotch, but I found this type of humor was not used as the main laugh-getter. Most of the laughs came from verbal banter and silly situations. They do poke some fun at Americans once or twice by using the stereotype of the “loud, ugly Americans” (bystanders watching a soccer match are yelling about “Where’s the quarterback? English people just can’t play football right!”), but they do the same thing to the French and a bunch of the English characters are pretty whacked out, too. So I didn’t really take it personally. The moral of the story is the value and importance of friendship and family(a true nuclear family of mother, father, and children). I don’t remember hearing any language of any kind. The villains are far more ridiculous than they could ever be scary and the heroes promote traits like trust, honesty, friendship, and keeping one’s promises. The only reason I rated this film as “better than average” and not “good” is because of the bathroom humor that may be offensive for some. I would highly recommend this movie; it was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Dana, age 20
Positive—Hilarious!! I went to see “Flushed Away” with my wife and two nephews, and we all laughed till we cried. I didn’t expect much from the trailer, but what a surprise. “Flushed Away” is non-stop, manic animated energy with a great cast of characters. One-liners and high action physical humor are non-stop, while the movie follows a straightforward storyline. The animation is great, and there are probably even more laughs for the adults than the children. A great family film, except for the youngest children who might find a few scenes a little scary, although even the bad guys are a laugh in this film. The best animated film I’ve seen in years. Would see it again. Recommended!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Todd Adams, age 39
Positive—My parents, brother, and I went to see this movie, because we liked “Wallace and Grommit” and “Chicken Run.” I wasn’t sure how it would be after seeing the preview. We were pleasantly surprised by how good a movie it was. The story kept our attention, and the puns kept us laughing. There were a few little innuendos, but they didn’t detract from the story plot. Overall, I think this movie is great and if you need to laugh, you should go and see this movie!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Em, age 18
Positive—This was an action-packed, hilarious movie. My 14 year old son and I went to see this movie this afternoon, and we both loved the action, drama and very funny one-liners. The music from the snails was hilarious and made the movie even more enjoyable. It was unpredictable and different from anything we’ve seen before.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Shirley, age 39
Neutral—I’m a fan of Aardman productions and liked their previous features (“Chicken Run” and “Wallace and Gromit”), those films are very entertaining and very well done. Cannot say the same about this. “Flushed Away” uses computer animation to simulate clay figures, and that part works and could be the only thing original about this movie. The story is weak, I mean very weak compared to Pixar movies. It borrows heavily from other action movies and the plot looks improvised. I found “Flushed Away” very boring and forced myself to sit down so at least I see the latest in computer animation effects. Fast-paced and too loud for children under 6. Cannot wait for “Ratatouille,” the other rat movie (a Pixar production), scheduled for summer 2007!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Narcis, age 34
Negative—I went to see “Flushed Away” after seeing the advertisements, and checked it rating PG. My sister and I left after only 30 minutes. The plot and story line was just plain boring and very much not worth wasting and any more time on. It was just not very entertaining.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Patricia Luker, age 35
Negative—Parents should be mindful that this is DEFINITELY a PG film and even though Happy Meals and other things promote the film to children of all ages, it is DEFINITELY NOT for all ages. This film is essential a gangster film in animated form. Most of the scenes are shot in darker lighting, there are abrupt jumps into scenes of violence, and there are direct statements made in which the “mob boss” wants other characters killed. The only positive to the film is the statement made about the importance of family, even when the family doesn’t have much. I didn’t allow my daughter to see the entire film, as we both found the images disturbing, and I found the content to be too violent.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Gregory Clarke, age 40
Negative—“Flushed Away” should be “flushed away,” as it is so typical of modern cartoons and animated movies, with more bathroom humor at every turn and slapstick drivel. They can’t just make a good animated story anymore like they used to do. Remember wistfully those haleon days of, “Fox and the Hound,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Dumbo” …!! Then there was “Fivel” or even “The Land Before Time” I, II, III, IV, V, VI VII and on…! Now they have to have to do the same old same old “Shrek,” “Open Season,” “Over The Hedge” boringly obligatory jokes about bottoms, feces, urination and even worse. The standard of animation is getting better and better, but the storyline is, how shall I say it, 'in the toilet!'
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Christopher Marsden, age 52
Comments from young people
Positive—“Flushed Away” was enjoyable from beginning to end. Humorous, action-packed, excitement around every corner, I found myself enraptured by the movie from beginning to end. Usually it’s easier just to rent a film than to see one these days, but “Flushed Away” will be worth every penny you pay to see it.

Roddy is left alone while his human companions go away on holiday, leaving him the house to himself. But instead of a relaxing weekend, he receives an unwelcome surprise from the sink by the name of Sid the rat. One’s more than enough company for Roddy, so he decides to rid the riffraff from his home and send him down the poo tube. Of course where would the movie be if Sid didn’t outwit him? Sid isn’t as dumb as Roddy first believes and an astonished Roddy watches everything he knows fade away as he flows through a maze of pipes into the bustling world of Ratropolitan.

And there is where he meets Rida, captain of the good ship Jammy Dodger. Not only doesn’t she agree to help him get home, she nearly abandons him to his fate with the Frog, a most pompous, aristocratic animal who’s goal it is to rid the world of all rats and the one who had stolen Rida’s jewel. But Roddy isn’t one to easily give up. He manages to hitch a ride with her and, though they begrudge each other at the time, they thank each other for saving one another’s life from the clutches of the Frog, his cousin Le Frog, and his evil henchrats. Roddy also discovers when they reach Rida’s house that she’s more than the confident, independent rat she appears to be and his heart goes out towards her and her large family.

Eventually, the duo make their way up top to the Penthouse and Roddy and Rida decide to part ways on account that Roddy feels more satisfied living alone with his human family. That is until he hears about Rida’s troubles with the Frog, who has captured her and is preparing to make an end to the rat population. He boldly flushes himself down the toilet and leaves Sid to watch the house while he’s away saving the rat world.

I’m sure you can guess the ending so I’ll leave your imaginations to figure it out. What you can learn from this film is the value of family, how often appearances disguise, the false security in the wealth of this world, friendship, and trust. Of course, you will find more than just those things mentioned. All you have to do is listen.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—The Writer, age 17
Positive—This movie was great!!!… The only thing a few people would find upsetting is that Rodney falls and hits his bottom, and also at one time you see Rita’s underwear for a short time, but they are boxers. I laughed out loud many times, in fact, the whole theater laughed. Everyone will laugh, even the adults. It was very, very funny and entertaining. It had a great plot and a great moral. Go and see it… right now!!!…
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Michelle, age 12
Positive—I really liked this movie a whole lot. My family enjoyed it. As a teenager, I enjoyed it, too. There are lots of good lessons in the movie, and it was not so hard to eat popcorn. However, I didn’t find anything offensive in this movie. I’m very proud of Dreamworks and Aardman for making a film that I loved. I think it’s a good movie for people over six. Kids younger than that may get bored because of the sewers of London in the movie. My family and I thought it almost looked “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (which we also enjoyed). For my opinion, “Flushed Away” is the best movie in America.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Evan, age 13
Positive—I went to this movie with a bunch of my friends for my b-day. Even though the movie was not made for teenagers, we found ourselves laughing a good chunk of the time. I found a few things offensive, but compared to other kids movies it was nothing! I think that “Sponge Bob Square Pants” is more offensive than this. I think that kids would most definitely love this movie (parents and teens might as well).
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Rose, age 15
Positive—When I saw “Flushed Away” in previews, I wasn’t too impressed, and it moved itself to one of the last movies I wanted to see. However, my brother went and saw it, came back and invited me to go see it with him again. I must say I was very impressed! Really, there weren’t that many things that were offensive. A couple of spots with crude humor, but nothing heavy whatsoever. The graphics were okay. Everything was pretty smooth and such! Voice acting was very good. I must applaud the people in charge of the casting on this movie. Overall, a surprisingly clean movie (I never would have guessed by the trailers), with plenty of action, story, morals, humor our, and overall fun. Don’t let the trailers and everything else fool you! Check it out. I think I enjoyed it as much if not more than the latest “Happy Feet.”
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Stephan, age 15
Positive—. This movie is VERY funny—kids AND adults will love it. It has a very good plot—and very interesting and humorous characters! I recommend this movie to everyone ages 5 and up.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Jackie, age 13
Positive—I thought that this movie was going to be pretty boring. After all, I’m a teenager… But the movie was excellent! I absolutely loved it!!! Even my great grandmother (who is 90) liked it. She thought it was funny and cute! It was the best movie that my family and I have watched in a long time. There hasn’t been enough good movies like this. The latest releases are horrible. I was surprised to see a movie that was good this month! I really encourage you to take a break, sit down with your family/friends and watch this movie. It’s worth it!!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jessie, age 14