A good film that almost wound up being great
I've been on the fence about this film since I saw the trailers. The teaser did very little for me, making this look like one of those typical comedies that takes a clever idea and wastes it on a barrage of forced jokes. The more I learned about the plot, the more interested I got, but ultimately, I wasn't really looking forward to it. (Well, okay, it did win me over when I saw a certain promotional clip online) But after seeing it, on the upside, it's better than I thought it would be. On the other hand, it doesn't quite reach beyond good, and it kind of gets to me because I feel like this could have been great. See, there is nothing necessarily bad I can say about this film (Well, except for the ending, but I'll go further into that in a bit) but there's nothing remarkable I can say. Every so often, this film introduces a brilliant concept, and every time, I feel like it almost nails it but then pulls back at the last second because it's a family film. For instance, the plot is centered around totalitarianism. The interactions between the main leads are great, especially the miscommunication between them at first. But, again, it's all done reasonably well, but it also feels like the film is afraid to go all the way with this stuff. As for the ending, without spoiling anything, they set up a really good and different kind of ending, very bittersweet, something I was not expecting at all. Then it pulls the same stunt The Croods did and keeps going, ultimately retconning what could have been the ultimate highlight of the film. But, again, there are more than enough positives for me to say this film was worth seeing. The biggest shock for me is that it's a musical with original songs (Well, one of them is basically the film's own version of 'Under Pressure', but they do enough to make it its own thing) and the songs are well-done. Granted, they're not exactly anything special and sound like they may have taken a little too much inspiration from Frozen, but they're still good and at least a couple of them I found memorable. The characters, again, are likable enough and the main leads work well off of each other. The humor did very little for me at first, but it picked up significantly after the first 10-20 minutes. I also admire the fact that this film didn't go the straight-up comedic route I thought it would and actually has a sense of heart, plus any family film that doesn't feel like it needs to have a villain at least gets a few bonus points from me. All-in-all, Smallfoot is a good film. Not great, but good. If you're curious, it's worth it.