Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom/USA, 2006. Aardman Animations, DreamWorks Animation. Story by Sam Fell, Peter Lord, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Screenplay by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Christopher Lloyd, Joe Keenan, William Davies. Cinematography by Brad Blackbourn, Frank Passingham. Produced by Cecil Kramer, Peter Lord, David Sproxton. Music by Harry Gregson-Williams. Production Design by David James. Costume Design by Jane Poole. Film Editing by Erika Dapkewicz, John Venzon. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2006.
The world of rats is as classist as the rest of London in this charming animated film. Hugh Jackman plays an “upscale” rodent, a pet rat who lives in a gilded cage in a posh Kensington home and is thrilled when the family that owns him goes away on vacation. Enjoying the comforts of the pad all to himself, he is devastated when a mangy sewer rat burgles his way in and flushes our hero down the toilet. He ends up in a vast rat civilization below ground where he discovers confusion, chaos and most importantly, company. Teaming up with a feisty gal-rat (Kate Winslet) who has made an enemy of mini-London’s frog mob boss (Ian McKellen), Jackman is given the opportunity to prove himself worthy and even get a little romance on the side. The story is entirely predictable, but the combination CGI/claymation work is beautiful and there are some sight and dialogue gags that are actually very funny. McKellen pretty much steals the whole thing, his voice work as the social-climbing amphibian (which won him the Annie Award for voiceover work) is hilarious enough for the best Pixar films out there, but the rest of the film is only slightly above average.