Smallfoot Movie Review
What if yetis weren’t horrific Night King monsters but instead furry socialists who live under the reign of false religion? That’s Smallfoot for you, a how-did-they-not-make-this-movie-sooner family film that has a friendly, curious yeti befriending a human—or smallfoot in yeti vernacular—and discovering that his entire belief system is wrong.
Smallfoot, from the writer of Chicken Run and Charlotte’s Web, is a moderately entertaining if somewhat underwhelming effort that nonetheless will delight your younger children. The little boy sitting behind me laughed loudly throughout, while I laughed in parts and was generally engaged, even when it was clear there were many missed opportunities to make Smallfoot an animated classic.
It’s hard to pinpoint where Smallfoot falls short, as the story itself is solid and the main characters easy to like. But the movie seems to only halfheartedly embrace its musical numbers—they are sparsely scattered throughout the film, with only one, a rap song by Common, standing out as both entertaining and memorable (if only because it’s so out of place with the rest of the movie)—a sign the filmmakers weren’t quite willing to go all in on whatever vision they had. And while the yeti community seems fairly fleshed out, in hindsight it all feels a bit bland, lacking the quirky little details that add sophistication and make you giggle.
Still, Smallfoot has a lot going for it. Again, the Common song is pretty entertaining, and the movie has enough weird characters to keep you interested. The way the movie handles the language disconnect between human and yeti is perfect, and its theme—integrity—is woven throughout (perhaps with an anti-Trump vibe? Perhaps even an anti-religion vibe?).
Smallfoot isn’t a great movie, but it has enough high points that it snowballs into a reasonably entertaining family flick.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.