Western Animation: 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.
Provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Possibly justified, as they are rats.
- 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.
- Accidental Pervert: Roddy, trying to reach for the paper clip in Rita's back pocket when they're tied back to back, accidentally grabs... something else of hers.
Rita (Through grated teeth): In the POCKET! In the POCKET!!!
- 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.
- Americans Are Cowboys: Features an obnoxious American tourist with a cowboy hat and Texas drawl.
- Amusing Injuries: Cryonics and Spike. Roddy, too.
- Bamboo Technology
- Banana Peel: Defied by Spike and Whitey... who play it straight with slugs immediately afterwards.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: That of the Toad.
- Break The Fake: Roddy smashes Rita's prized ruby to prove that it's fake.
- British Royal Guards: An American couple teases a guard in the sewer rat version of London.
- Butt Monkey: Roddy at first, followed by Spike who stays consistent all throughout the film.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Lots of Take That to the French here.
LeFrog: Okay, men! To action!
LeFrog's Men: *Raising both arms* We surrender!
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.
- Chekhov's Gun: "Those floodgates won't hold forever!"
- Pretty much anything having to do with the World Cup Final.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Let's face it; watching Roddy get five groin attacks in a row is hilarious.
- Also occurs in-universe with Le Frog: "I find everyone's pain funny but my own...I'm French!"
- Connected All Along: Rita knows Sid, much to Roddy's dismay.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: The ninja frogs working for The Toad. Justified in that they're shown not to be as competent as they preach to be.
- Disaster Dominoes: When Toad is showing Roddy his collection. Toad is not pleased.
- Eagleland: The loud tourists who confuse American Football with the other football.
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.
- Evil Is Hammy: Toad. That is all.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Thimblenose Ted.
- Fat Idiot: Subverted with Sid, who quickly realizes that Roddy is trying to trick him and sends him down the toilet instead.
- Fish out of Water: Roddy is flushed down his owners' toilet (by the one he tried to get rid of) and winds up ejected from his posh home and in the mini cities of the sewers.
- Fun with Flushing: This happens to Roddy.
- Genre Savvy
- Gilded Cage: Literally.
- Gilligan Cut
- 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.
- Spike as well, during the Chase Scene.
- 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.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Twice, once with Spike, another with The Toad.
- Hurricane of Puns
- I Choose to Stay: In the end, Roddy doesn't go back to the surface, choosing to stick around down at the bottom.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Upon meeting the Toad, Roddy and Rita have different ideas about what's more offensive about his wit:
Toad: And is your new boyfriend a waiter?
- Innocent Bystander: Roddy TRIED to paint himself as one, saying the exact words. Unfortunately, everyone else thought he was introducing himself as Millicent Bystander.
- Irony: In the voiceover commentary, the directors noted multiple times that there's something hilariously ironic about small characters having disproportionately low voices. Also, this bit:
- Lampshade Hanging: See Mood Motif, below.
- 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.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Roddy is a prime example.
- 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.
- Male Gaze: There are a handful of jokes about Rita's posterior, not to mention one shot of her shaking at The Toad's cronies during the riverboat chase.
- 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!"
- Maybe Ever After: Though the two are clearly romantically interested in each other, the end of the movie isn't really clear if Roddy and Rita have started a relationship or not.
- 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.
- Mistaken for...
- Mood Motif: Spoofed, in an awesome and ridiculously cute fashion.
- Mouse World: Er, rat. But you get the idea.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Roddy doesn't have hamster butlers in the movie. Cut content, perhaps?
- But he does, briefly, in the game.
- 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.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Hugh Jackman as Roddy. Only happens once.
- Parental Bonus
- 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.
- Race for Your Love
- Red Right Hand: Thimblenose Ted's thimble nose.
- Road Trip Romance
- Running Gag: The slugs punctuate several moments throughout the movie, musically and otherwise.
- Scavenged Punk: The sewer world is built all out of human materials. Just check out those eggbeater jet-skis.
- Send Me Back
- Shout-Out: Loaded with them.
- One of the Toad's frozen victims is wearing the same clothes as Han Solo, and is in the same stance as Han when he was frozen in carbonite.
- 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.
- As Roddy is first going through the pipes, he runs into a small fish that asks, "Have you seen my dad?
- One of the flies squeaks out "Help me!" before Toad eats it.
- A cockroach is seen reading The Metamorphosis.
- At one point, Spike says, "To the ratmobiles!", complete with spinning background, Spike and Whitey's heads zooming toward and away from the camera, and even the music sting from Batman.
- As stated in Actor Allusion, X-Men, given Hugh Jackman, who voices Roddy, portrayed Wolverine. The Wolverine outfit cones from the comics, rather than the films, though.
- James Bond - Roddy has a throwaway bit involving a suction cup dart gun.
- A movie titled "Die Again Tomorrow", go figure. That scene also has numerous DVD cases with punny titles ("12 Angry Folks", "A Few Good Puns") or straight-up DreamWorks films.
- Newspaper clipping referencing mysterious veggie monster terrifying local gardeners (Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, also by Aardman).
- There is a Gromit Pez-dispenser head in the interior of Rita's ship.
- And a Wallace outfit in Roddy's closet.
- Also, in Roddy's owners room in the beginning, you can see a stuffed Gromit (and also a stuffed Alex the lion as well.
- And there's three stuffed bunnies from The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
- The candy bar in the sewer (although the DVD commentary maintains this one is a coincidence).
- And then, of course, there's Sid.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Roddy and Rita.
- Soft Water: Roddy falls from some unspecified height, which is portrayed as abyss. When he finally lands, he hit water and is unharmed. Said water barely stands to his knees. And he's a rat.
- Spaghetti Kiss: Between two slugs during the meal Roddy and Rita share, with a hilarious result!
- Spit Take: Done by Roddy when Sid mentions that he's waiting to go to the bathroom at half-time, which leads into him realizing that the Toad is waiting until half-time to drown all the rats.
- Surrounded by Idiots: The Toad's evil rants are pretty much built on this trope. Le Frog seems to feel this way about his ninja team and definitely feels this way about his cousin the Toad.
- Taking You with Me: Attempted by the Toad.
- Tempting Fate: Spike expresses his distaste for happy endings at the end of the film, saying he prefers unhappy endings with lots of violence. Pain ensues moments after.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Spike & Whitey.
- Title Drop: Le Frog, during his cousin's exposition dump. Then the Toad repeatedly when outlining his Evil Plan. ("The whole city will be flushed away!")
- 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.
- Took a Level in Badass: Roddy, in spades.
- To the Batnoun!: "Enough games. To the ratmobiles!"
- Tsundere: Rita. "Ah, the little English girl. So aggressive."
- What Could Have Been: Sid was originally going to be voiced by Ricky Gervais but he left at some point during pre-production.
- Roddy also was supposed to have hamster butlers, if what was expected in the trailer to be true. They're only in the video game.
- Wicked Cultured: The Toad, or at least he thinks he is.
- 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.
- World of Ham: The sewer.
- Zombie Gait: Something is... off about Thimblenose Ted. Besides having a thimble for a nose, that is.