Flushed Away (2006) is an Aardman Animations film, using CGI to duplicate Aardman's trademark Claymation style of animation.A pet mouse called Roddy St. James (voiced by Hugh Jackman), after a mishap with a sewer rat ends up flushed down from his swank Kensington home into the underworld of vermin beneath London. Desperate to get home, he encounters Rita (voiced by Kate Winslet), who is on the run from a crime lord called The Toad (voiced by Ian McKellen).Roddy and Rita have several misunderstandings, before he finally earns her forgiveness and trust, and she agrees to take him back to the surface. By the time Roddy returns to his comfortable but rather empty life, he has realized The Toad's true plan: to destroy the rodent underworld with a flood caused by all the humans above flushing their toilets during halftime of The World Cup Final. After foiling the Toad's plan, Roddy discovers that the life in the sewer, which had originally disgusted him, was far more fulfilling than the life he'd had above.Despite containing a lot of Aardman's characteristically clever writing, a decent (if not riveting) story, and a great amount of established voice talent (Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet AND Ian McKellen feature in the main roles, along with Andy Serkis and Jean Reno), the film was met with a very muted response, thanks mostly to the controversial decision by Aardman to abandon their much-loved claymation style in favour of CGI. Their reasoning, that the film's scope would be near-impossible to achieve through the painstakingly laborious process of claymation (their other feature film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, took 5 whole years to develop), was understandable, but the film still didn't garner the affection that it perhaps could have otherwise.
Also justified in that it's the London sewer, which, like the Paris sewer, is Absurdly Spacious in Real Life.
Accidental Misnaming: After mishearing Roddy's protest of "I'm just an innocent bystander!", many start referring to him as Millicent Bystander. Oh, and Rita's grandmother keeps calling him Tom Jones.
Affably Evil: Le Frog. The only reason he seems to put up with the Toad at all is because they're cousins.
Toad as well, initially. When he and Roddy first met, the Toad was more than happy to show his collection of royal memorabilia, and acts very civil with him. Then Roddy said his collection was "amusing", not "diverting" like Toad had hoped. Then he broke a good number of his collection, and Toad, visibly angry, orders him to be frozen with Rita.
All-CGI Cartoon: Done so because integrating so much water into an otherwise stop-motion cartoon would have been a pain.
LeFrog:*Annoyed* No! Not that one, you idiots! The Kung-Fu thing!
LeFrog's Men: Aaaah...
It should be noted that Le Frog's voice actor is the Spanish-French Jean Reno. The directors at Aardman felt that Le Frog would have been more of a caricature and less of a character if he was voiced by an Englishman faking a French accent, so they sought out the services of Jean. He was more than happy to help. And the result is hilarious.
Loud American Tourist: Where's the helmets? Which one's the quarterback? C'mon Pick up the ball! Pick up the ball! Agh! These Brits don't know the first thing about football!
Everyone Hates Mimes: Played with. A French frog mime tapes a cellphone to his body and flips the screen so Toad's face is shown. Every word he says the mime acts it out like he's physically there (though some actions don't work to his intention like saying dancing or dramatically turning around). He's basically projecting the Big Bad and giving the heroes a little interaction.
Greek Chorus: The slugs. Their songs have some degree of relevance to whatever is currently happening in the story often enough that some of them could be considered narration. The "Bella Notte" parody is a good example.
Groin Attack: Roddy has several unfortunate impacts to his nether regions upon arrival in the sewer, hitting his groin on pipes, hammers and other things.
Inverted during the Chase Scene when Ladykiller is catapulted backwards and lands crotch-first in Thimblenose Ted's face.
Gross Out Show: Naturally, there's a significant bit of potty humor, given the fact that Roddy arrived from being flushed down the toilet, and most of the film's action takes place in a sewer.
Harmless Freezing: Played with. The Toad traps anyone who dares irritate him by freezing them with liquid nitrogen, encasing them in a perfectly clear ice-cube. He intends to do the same to Roddy and Rita, but they escape, causing Spike and Whitey to suffer the same fate. Their frosty prison is immediately broken by Toad and commands them to chase after Roddy and Rita, which they do. Very stiffly.
Large Ham: LeFrog. Also, Ian McKellen's ludicrously over-the-top performance is one of the best parts of the movie.
Left the Background Music On: The slugs provide the Mood Motif of spooky music when Roddy first finds himself in the sewer and is freaked out. They stop when Roddy turns and realizes they're doing it.
EVERY TIME music plays in this movie, it's either the slugs or a character doing it. They loved this joke.
As the protagonists are sailing away, the ninja frogs pop up menacingly in the foreground of the shot, accompanied by a quick French accordion burst... then one of the frogs turns and continues playing the same accordion, much to the annoyance of Le Frog, who promptly slaps him silly.
MacGuffin: The cable Rita steals from the Toad and subsequently wears as a belt. Also, the ruby the Toad stole from Rita that she steals back.
Man of Wealth and Taste: The Toad, and to a lesser extent Le Frog. Roddy had shades of this in his suit and wealthy background (he lives in Kensington, incidently). In fact, Toad is delighted to discover Roddy shares his high-class background.
"Huzzah! A man of quality!"
Missing Mom: It's never explained how the Toad got so many children.
Missing Trailer Scene: The pair of Roddy's hamster butlers seen in the original trailer are nowhere to be found in the actual film itself. Even more grating in that the butlers do appear in the video game adaptations of the movie.
According to the Word of God, they were removed because they made no sense to the plot, and they wanted to stress the fact that Roddy is a loner; the song Dancing with Myself was added late in the production as well.
The trailer also give plenty of spotlight to Sid, making it look as if he's a main character. In the actual movie, Sid is a talking Plot Device.
No Flow in Claymation: This movie (which was in production before Toy Story) was originally intended to be a traditional claymation movie like Chicken Run, but Aardman couldn't find a way to animate flowing water convincingly in claymation.
Oh, Crap: A fly hovering above Le Frog and his men mutters the kid friendly version "Oh bother" just moments before they all try to eat him.
Panty Shot: Sort of. In trying to run away from the Toad, Roddy grabs onto Rita, who was planning on bailing him, and ended up snapping off her old belt and pulling her pants down a bit in the process.
Priceless Ming Vase: Roddy accidentally destroys Toad's entire collection of cheap Buckingham Palace gift shop knick-knacks priceless royal family memorabilia.
One of the Toad's frozen victims is wearing the same clothes as Han Solo.
As stated in Actor Allusion, there's Roddy deciding if he should wear a Wolverine costume.
At the beginning of the film when Roddy browses for a movie to watch, the DVD titles are mostly comprised of Dreamworks Animation films... and then there's Ratman, Ratman Returns, and Ratman Returns Again! among other things.
Title Drop: Le Frog, during his cousin's exposition dump.
Tongue on the Flagpole: The evil Toad and his French cousin Le Frog get their tongues frozen onto a large pipe containing liquid nitrogen after Roddy smashes it apart to freeze the tidal wave Toad sent to drown the rats of Sewer-London. It's implied that the two amphibians were both arrested after they were unfrozen.
Token Good Teammate: Whitey, despite being a thug and pair up to Spike, is rather polite and patient in acting on Toad's orders. Whitey also loves happy endings.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Toad. He was once Prince Charles's most favorite pet. Then someone brought in a rat and flushed the Toad down the toilet so Charlie could focus all his attention on the replacement pet. This became his motivation for trying to wipe out the Sewer-London.