“Smallfoot” isn’t like other family oriented movies. It’s not the animation (which is barely acceptable, with its ugly bland blue hues and washed-out backgrounds), it’s not the far-from-loveable characters, and it’s not the toe-tapping original songs (which add a delightful pick-me-up). It’s the film’s exuberant encouragement for children to question what they’re told, especially when it comes to their beliefs.
The Bigfoot legend is turned on its head when Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum) encounters a mythical creature that he thought didn’t exist — a Smallfoot (voiced by James Corden). News of this discovery causes a panicked uproar in the yeti world as many begin to wonder what may lie outside of their snow-filled village. Migo is banned from the village and joins forces with the outcasts at the Smallfoot Evidentiary Society (Zendaya, LeBron James, and Gina Rodriguez) to find material proof that humans are indeed real.
In the film, the yeti faith comes from ancient stones (with are presented with an obvious religious connotation). The stones tell the yeti how to live and what to do, and even describe how their world was created with an origin story about mammoths underneath the clouds. It’s sort of a jaw-dropping that a major animation studio could get away with such a progressive message in today’s Pure Flix environment.
Yes, you can call this an anti-religion movie. But you can also call it one that’s anti-groupthink too. The story embraces and advocates curiosity and science-based evidence. The Stonekeeper (Common), an elder tasked with guarding the stones, eventually reveals that all of the stories are made up to protect the village from violent humans because, well, ignorance is bliss. I can assume this film may cause an uproar with the devout, which is a shame because the other main point of the story is that humans (and yetis) should never be judged on appearance nor rumors alone. There are even life lessons on integrity, kindness, and forgiveness.
“Smallfoot” is mostly interesting because it brings to the table something I haven’t seen before, especially in a kid-friendly film. Plus, I can’t get the modern, Disney-quality original songs out of my head.